People who are mobility challenged, but still able to walk often struggle when it comes time to use the stairs. As a result, the stairs are often avoided or only accessed when another person is there to help. Some people even go so far as selling their home and moving to a facility that does not have stairs or has an elevator. This solution is not always practical though and can greatly affect your independence. A stair lift is one type of device that can be used to help make it safe to use the stairs again.
A stair lift is a medical device that is used to carry a person up and down the stairs. It is a tracked system and in some ways similar to an escalator. In most settings a metal track is securely bolted directly to the steps. A chair or small platform is then sent up and down the track. Most use a chair, which is why you often hear people call them stair chairs.
The stair lifts that use a platform are mostly for individuals who have severe knee problems that make it impossible or very painful to sit. These types of stair lifts are called perch lifts and require a lot more balance then a regular stair chair.
When deciding on which model stair lift to get, the weight capacity is very important. Often the more weight a stair lift can support directly affects the length of stairs that it can ascend. For instance some stair lifts can support 300 pounds over distances of 18 feet, but only 250 pounds over distances of 32 feet. You will need to have detailed measurements before you order your stair lift and most dealers can walk you through the steps, but it is a good idea to have a general feel for how long your staircase is and the weight of the rider.
When considering the weight capacity of a stair lift, it is a good idea to always allow for any expected weight growth. Usually for every 100 pounds, you will want to add an extra 20 pounds to your clothed weight. This ensures that the device will never be overloaded and that you can use it to carry personal belongings with you. For instance if you weigh 200 pounds, you would want to find a stair lift that can at least support 240 pounds.
The width of the stair case is also important to consider when you are deciding on a stair lift. They usually do not take up too much space, but if your staircase is too narrow, you might have to install the track onto the wall, which greatly increases the cost. In most cases though, a stair chair with a folding seat is small enough to fit on even narrow stairs. The footrest of these models also folds up, so they have a really small foot print.
A stair lift is a very good way to keep you or someone you care about safe. They can easily be operated with only a finger and can be configured for left hand or right hand use.