Wednesday, 23 July 2008

User Preferences When Choosing Stair Lifts

The stair lift, after all, is for them. To know their preferences, here are some questions that need answers before you purchase a stair lift.

Would the user prefer to stand, sit or stay in the wheelchair when going up and down the stairs? If the user wants to stand, a standing or perching stair lift would be needed. If the user wants to seat, a seated stair lift is appropriate. And if the user wants to stay in the wheelchair, then a stair lift with a wheelchair platform must be purchased.

How big or small is the user? A stair lift for an adult would not be suitable for a disabled child. Just as buying a second-hand stair lift meant for a child would be disastrous for the adult who is going to use it. If the user is tall, the seat must be lowered and adjusted to accommodate his height.

Most stair lifts would make the user face sideways as it travels up and down the staircase. But when the user has a stiff knee, facing sideways can be difficult and uncomfortable.. He needs to face forward and this means that the seat must be arranged to accommodate this need. It also means that the stair lift must be wider.

Some users might be slightly acrophobic, especially when the reason for their disability is falling from a dangerous height. Besides a seatbelt, additional guard rails must be installed. These might be considered redundant, but the user need not quake in fear every time he uses the stair lift.

Why types of controls would the user prefer and be most comfortable with? Controls may be a panel of push buttons, or a joystick, or toggle controls. The user must be able to use these controls with ease and proficiency. The location of the controls should also be considered. For example, the user may be left-handed or right-handed, or the user’s right hand is in a cast. Placing the controls on the right side of the user would be cumbersome. If, for some reason, the user cannot handle the controls, the caregiver must be able to operate them.

Some users may be blind or have poor eyesight. The stair lift must have a form of audio signal to warn the user that he has reached the top landing or the bottom of the stairs.

And then, there are more trivial considerations such as color and design of seat. Ask the person who will use the stair lift his preferences.

Grace Palce is writing articles about stair lifts and natural remedies.