Sunday, 25 January 2009

Keeping Safe on the Stairs

Preventing accidents on the stairs is very important. Falls down the stairs is the leading type of accident that affects those who are over the age of 65. It often results in hospitalization and broken bones, but a fall down the stairs is something that can be prevented.

One of the most common ways people prevent falling down the stairs is to avoid the stairs all together. In public areas this is likely a good idea. Almost all public areas that have stairs offer a ramp or elevator, so it is a simple matter to cut the risk of falling down the stairs when away from the home. If you are in public and must climb the stairs, ensure that you have someone with you to help.

While avoiding the stairs and relying on people to help you with the stairs is great for when you are away from home, it doesn't make sense to avoid a large portion of your home simply because it is separated by a long staircase; so many people choose to install stair lifts. It also doesn't make sense to pay someone to come in to help you use the stairs and relying on family puts them at increased risk of falling as they help you climb the steps.

A stair lift is a mobility lifting aid that can be used to carry a person up and down the stairs safely. Depending on the model, they can support over 500 pounds and come in many different sizes to accommodate all body types. A stair lift is operated by remote control and can easily be operated by almost anyone. Most come with two wireless remotes and one remote that is physically attached to the lift. To ensure safety, the lift only moves while the remote button is being depressed.

The safest type of stair lift is one that uses a chair to move its rider up and down the steps. Often the chair will have a seatbelt, which helps to improve safety. Some lifts use a platform in place of a chair. The platform, called a perch, is rather small and the rider must remain standing as they are transferred up and down the stairs. The main reason people opt for a lift of this type is because they suffer from severe joint problems and can not sit safely, but they require a good sense of balance because you are standing as the lift moves.

Most people opt for a chair lift, because they are much safer and a better fit for most. Make certain that the chair swivels, so that you can exit the lift onto the staircase landing as opposed to exiting it on the stairs. It is also a good idea to install grab bars at the top and bottom of the stairs, to improve support. Most people use the same type of grab bars that you would find in the bathroom.

These lifts can be easily and inexpensively be installed to straight staircases, but if you have a curved staircase it will not be so easy. Usually it costs about 1000% more if you install a curved stair lift and it can take several months to get your lift built and installed. Where with straight staircase lift, most people feel comfortable doing the installation on their own, you usually must use professional installers to install a curved stair lift. It is a good idea to first contact a dealer of straight stair lifts before you contact a curved staircase lift dealer. The curved dealer will have to come to your home to provide an accurate estimate, so you will be subjected to an in your face high pressure sales pitch. There are a few ways you can work around a curved staircase, but curved stair lift dealers will not tell you this and will instead try to sell you on their extremely expensive lifts, which have little resale value.

Using a stair lift can be one of the most surefire ways to ensure that you or someone you care about does not fall while climbing up or down the stairs.

Sean Noughtly is a writer who is familiar with the medical industry. Using a stair lift is one of the most effective ways to prevent accidents. If you care to learn more about stair lifts or other kinds of aids to daily living, visit US Medical Supplies.

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