Saturday, 1 November 2008

Stair Lifts - Preventing Difficulty on the Stairs

It is very common for those who are over the age of sixty-five to have difficulty using the stairs. Many times it is as a result of a neuromuscular disease, like multiple sclerosis, but often it is a result of a cognitive disease, like arthritis. Regardless of the reason, it is very easy to hurt yourself on the stairs and falling down the stairs is a leading cause of death. To help prevent the risk of severe injury a stair lift can be installed to almost all types of staircases.

A stair lift is a device that carries a person up and down the stairs. They are often called stair chairs, because most use a chair that moves up and down the stairs on a metal track. Some models are available that use a small platform, referred to as a perch, and require the rider to remain in a standing position as they move up and down the steps. These types of lifts are mainly used by people who are not able to bend their legs and since they require a good deal of balance, should only be used if medically necessary.

The easiest type of stair lift to install is one that is designed for a straight staircase. These types of lifts can usually be installed by the homeowner in a few hours. The track is installed directly onto the steps and using the supplied hardware can be bolted and leveled with relative ease.

The straight stair lift is not only the easiest type of lifting aid to install, but it is also the least expensive type of lifting aid. Stair lifts that install to the wall or banister are much more expensive and will generally require a professional installation service. If you have a straight staircase then you should almost always be able to install a traditional stair lift, but in some cases where the staircase is extremely narrow, you might be forced to install a wall mounted stair lift.

People that have a narrow staircase, more often than not are able to install a traditional staircase lift, but people who have a curved staircase are not so lucky. If you have a curved staircase, you might need to purchase a custom built curved stairway lift. These lifts are usually at least a hundred times more expensive than a straight stairway lift. In addition to being much more expensive, a curved lift will often take over two months to be built and installed.

The reason these lifts are so much more expensive than a traditional lift is that a curved stairway lift will need to be custom built to fit the curve of your stairway. In order to get proper measurements, a curved stairway lift dealer will send a salesman to your house to measure your stairs and give you an accurate measurement. This salesman will then perform an in home sales pitch, which is often high pressure and is designed to make you purchase the lift right then.

There are some cases where two straight stairway lifts can be installed in place of one curved stairway lift, so if you have an 'L' shaped stair lift then it is a good idea to contact a dealer of straight lifts.

Sean Noughtly has had experience with many types of stair lifts and other mobility lifting aids. Visit AmeriGlide to learn about stair lifts, dumbwaiters, wheelchair lifts, and more.

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