Saturday, 20 December 2008

Increasing Mobility and Safety With a Stair Lift

Many people do not think twice about climbing the stairs, but for lots of people, it is very difficult to go up the stairs. Some diseases, like arthritis, can make bending the knee exceedingly painful, which makes keeping balance a chore. To help decrease the risk of a fall on the stairs, lots of people choose to use a stair lift.

Stair lifts are a type of mobility lifting aid, which is used to transport a person upstairs and down. In most cases where the staircase is straight, a stairway lift will only take a few hours to install and is relatively expensive.

Many times you will hear people call these devices stair chairs. This is because a chair is most commonly used to transport the individual up or down the stairs, but in some cases the individual is not physically able to bend their knees enough to use the chair. In these cases it might be better to use a perch lift, which transports the individual on a small platform, called a perch, up and down the stairs. While for medical reasons a perch lift might be a good choice, since the rider will stay standing as they move up the stairs, this type of lift is a little riskier than a stair chair.

Usually the unit that consists of the perch or chair, electric motor, and batteries is referred to as the car. The car is sent up and down the stairs and is attached to a metal track. In most cases, whether perch lift or stair chair, the metal track is secured directly to the steps.

Many of today's lifts use battery power, but traditional lifts are still quite popular as well. The major advantage of a battery powered lift is that it will continue functioning if the power goes out, but they do cost a little more and have the extra maintenance cost, usually around $60, of replacing the batteries periodically. AC powered lifts are less expensive and will require maintenance, but in the event of a power disruption, an AC lift will cease to function. Both of these types of lifts are still plugged directly into a normal electrical outlet.

To save space it is common for the seat of the stair chair to fold up. Not all lifts have this feature, but if space is an issue, then you would probably want to make certain this feature is available. Sometimes a perch lift is used when space is an issue. This is because a perch lift takes up less space on the stairs, but the extra risks associated with a perch lift, usually outweigh the space benefits.

The chair also usually swivels, but rather than save space, this is a safety feature. The seat swivels away from the stairs, which allows the rider to enter or exit the lift safely and away from the stairway.

If you are trying to increase mobility and reduce the risk of falls, then a stair lift is often the best and most economical way. They are easy to use and quite frequently easy to install, so using one really is usually the best way to keep safe.

Sean Noughtly is a writer that has experience working with stair lifts. Using a lift will go a long way to reducing the risk of a fall and increasing an individuals overall mobility and a battery powered stair lift is often the best choice. If you would like to learn more about these types of lifts visit AmeriGlide, which is also a source of many other types of home medical equipment and lifting aids.

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