Tuesday, 23 November 2010

StairLifts - Who Might Need One And Why

Installing a stair lift in your home is a great way to increase the number of years you can live at home, even if you or a loved one have health limitations that make it difficult to go up and down stairs.

I was out with an elderly woman last week who was looking to buy a new home. She already had bad knees, and had to take the stairs slowly. One of the things she was looking for was whether her new property would accommodate a master on the main level (if it didn't already have one) and a stair lift on the stairs.

I presumed she'd just need to take a look at one-level houses, but each home she looked at had a staircase in it. One home had a wonderful Y-shaped staircase featured in the lounge that split off in 2 directions. One home had a precarious old staircase leading to the completed basement, and one home had a standard fashioned 2-level staircase that went to the upstairs. My customer told me this wasn't precisely what she was on the lookout for and asserted she would "know it when she saw it." It had been hard for her to work out online whether the houses she had an interest in would accommodate a step lift because most realtors don't feature the steps in their Multiple Listing Service photos.

This customer gave me a little bit of an education about what is required to install a stair lift. Fundamentally, she was looking out for a long, straight run of steps from first to the second floor. We found it in one of the new construction houses we looked at, so they are definitely out there. Stairlifts can be installed on other sorts of staircases too, naturally, but as with everything, the more complicated it is, the more expensive it is.

If you are building or buying a home that you want to grow old in, it's a good idea to contemplate in advance how the home can be modified to suit your needs when you are older. Some things - like wide hallways that can accommodate wheelchairs - are nice features you might want to have anyway.

Other stuff, like grab bars in the bath tub, are simple to add on later if they become required.

What's not as easy to plan for is if you will need wheelchair access to upstairs rooms of the house. Even if you're not in a wheelchair, going up and down the stairs can be a challenge for many seniors.

Installing a stair lift can be the perfect solution.

A step lift runs on a track that's installed on the side of the steps and plugged into the wall for power. Your steps must be against the wall or have a braced railing to accommodate the full weight of somebody on a seat, and the track along the wall. A step lift will help you bring groceries and washing up and down the steps, too. Just about anything you can carry, provided you do not surpass the safe weight limit for the chair lift.

Although they can be costly to install, many seniors are so satisfied about the concept of having the facility to remain in their own homes as they age, they are more than prepared to pay the price to have their home upgraded to accommodate their abilities as they age.