Monday, 6 October 2008

Standing on the Stairs

There are over forty million Americans who are over the age of sixty-five. Of those forty million, more than half suffer from cognitive diseases, like Alzheimer's, and neuromuscular diseases, like arthritis. Those that are over sixty-five are at an increased rate of falling and those that suffer from mobility related diseases are at an even greater risk.

It is very important to reduce the risk of falls among those over sixty-five. The stairs are the most dangerous area to those over sixty-five and it is no coincidence that falling down the stairs is the number one cause of hospitalization and accidental death among people who are over sixty-five. Since avoiding the stairs isn't really practical for most people and hiring someone to help on the stairs can be very expensive, a stair lift is usually the best way to reduce the risk of injury on the stairs.

Stair lifts are a type of home mobility aid that can be installed to almost any type of staircase. They can carry a single person safely up and down the stairs. Usually most people find the lifts themselves to be very easy to operate and as long as you have a straight staircase, the installation is straightforward and fairly easy. Most people choose to install straight staircase lifts on their own, but professional installers should be used if you do not feel comfortable doing it on your own.

The most common type of lift is the stair chair. A stair chair uses, as you might expect, a chair to carry a single occupant across the stairs. A less common type of lift is the perch lift, which uses a small platform, called a perch, to carry the occupant. While you remain sitting when using a chair lift, people that use perch lifts must remain standing as they travel up or down the stairs.

Since you must remain standing as you operate the perch lift, it can be a little more dangerous than a traditional stair chair. They are usually only used by people who can not medically sit and stand. They include several extra grab bars and many also have a small area that you can lean your body against, but they are still not as safe as a stair chair is.

Stair chairs come in different sizes and designs. Some can be folded when not in use, which helps reduce the amount of space they take up on the stairs. Others feature reinforced wider seats. Choosing a color and fabric type is also a consideration, because most stair chairs have several to choose from.

Finding a mobility lift that has the proper weight rating is an important safety consideration. If you anticipate any weight growth, it is better to air on the side of safety and invest in a lift that has a larger weight capacity. Most support around 350 pounds, but this varies by model and can also be affected by the length of the stairs. Generally a perch lift can not support as much as a stair chair.

Using a stair lift is a great way to create a safe stair environment, so if you or a loved one can not easily use the stairs, it is a good investment and an investment in safety.a

Sean Noughtly is familiar using and maintaining mobility aids like stair lifts. If you are interesting in finding out more information about stair lifts or many other kinds of home medical aids, visit U.S. Medical Supplies.

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