Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why Measuring for Stairlifts Should Be Left to Professionals

No one should be a prisoner on one story of their own home, but that’s the situation for thousands of older people who find it difficult or impossible to navigate stairs because of physical limitations. Equipment like stairlifts and chairlifts can restore access to other levels of the home, allowing people to stay in their homes, sleep in their own bedrooms, climb the stairs to their own bathrooms – in short, live their lives with a minimum of disruption.  Stairlifts represent a significant cash investment, though, and many people will look for ways to cut costs wherever possible. Some dealers offer significant discounts to people who measure their own stairs for stair lifts. Reputable dealers discourage this practice strongly for safety reasons.
Custom Measurements
Even straight chairlifts require careful measurements for a proper fit. Reputable companies that sell stairlifts will send a specially trained consultant or technician around to your home to take the required measurements. Those measurements include the total length of the staircase, the height of the treads and the rise of the stairs, the width of the staircase and the space available at the top and bottom of the staircase for standing and turning. If those measurements are not taken properly, the stair lift you buy may not fit your staircase. Worse, stairlifts that don’t fit properly can be dangerous.
Experienced Eyes
One of the most important benefits of working with experts in installing stairlifts is their experience. A knowledgeable technician or consultant can determine the safest and best place to mount stair lifts, as well as providing advice on which stairlifts are most suitable for your needs. An experienced consultant can also discuss possible modifications with you – wider seats, narrower footrests or a different type of control unit, for example – that can make the stairlift you choose even more convenient.
Other Benefits
In addition to those, many groups that will build stairlifts based on your own measurements are frequently lacking in other areas as well. They may not offer installation or pass you off to a list of “local installers” who have little experience in mounting chairlifts on stairs. These companies frequently provide little maintenance or follow-up services, and the minimum warranty they can get away with.
Stairlifts carry your most precious cargo up and down the stairs. They are pieces of heavy equipment with specific operating needs, and must be installed correctly in order to operate safely. Don’t take risks with cut-rate chairlifts. Always work with a reputable company that will take proper measurements and provide local installation and maintenance to ensure you get many years of safe service from your lift.
Why Measuring for Stairlifts Should Be Left to Professionals
No one should be a prisoner on one story of their own home, but that’s the situation for thousands of older people who find it difficult or impossible to navigate stairs because of physical limitations. Equipment like stairlifts and chairlifts can restore access to other levels of the home, allowing people to stay in their homes, sleep in their own bedrooms, climb the stairs to their own bathrooms – in short, live their lives with a minimum of disruption.  Stairlifts represent a significant cash investment, though, and many people will look for ways to cut costs wherever possible. Some dealers offer significant discounts to people who measure their own stairs for stair lifts. Reputable dealers discourage this practice strongly for safety reasons.
Custom Measurements
Even straight chairlifts require careful measurements for a proper fit. Reputable companies that sell stairlifts will send a specially trained consultant or technician around to your home to take the required measurements. Those measurements include the total length of the staircase, the height of the treads and the rise of the stairs, the width of the staircase and the space available at the top and bottom of the staircase for standing and turning. If those measurements are not taken properly, the stair lift you buy may not fit your staircase. Worse, stairlifts that don’t fit properly can be dangerous.
Experienced Eyes
One of the most important benefits of working with experts in installing stairlifts is their experience. A knowledgeable technician or consultant can determine the safest and best place to mount stair lifts, as well as providing advice on which stairlifts are most suitable for your needs. An experienced consultant can also discuss possible modifications with you – wider seats, narrower footrests or a different type of control unit, for example – that can make the stairlift you choose even more convenient.
Other Benefits
In addition to those, many groups that will build stairlifts based on your own measurements are frequently lacking in other areas as well. They may not offer installation or pass you off to a list of “local installers” who have little experience in mounting chairlifts on stairs. These companies frequently provide little maintenance or follow-up services, and the minimum warranty they can get away with.
Stairlifts carry your most precious cargo up and down the stairs. They are pieces of heavy equipment with specific operating needs, and must be installed correctly in order to operate safely. Don’t take risks with cut-rate chairlifts. Always work with a reputable company that will take proper measurements and provide local installation and maintenance to ensure you get many years of safe service from your lift.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remodeling for Accessibility: Stairlifts and More

Stairlifts are just one way of retrofitting your multilevel home to make it more accessible. The aging of the baby boomer generation has spawned a whole new set of buzzwords: multi-generational households, aging-in-place and wheelchair accessibility are just a few. Essentially, we’re talking about ways to make homes more comfortable and convenient so that seniors – and others with mobility problems – can stay at home instead of moving into a costly and much less comfortable apartment or assisted living facility. While it may seem that single-story homes are the ideal choice for people who have trouble with stairs, equipment like stairlifts can make multi-story homes comfortable, safe and convenient for older adults and those with mobility issues. These are a few of the mobility solutions that can make it much easier and safer to get from one floor to another in your home.
Stairlifts
Stair lifts, also known as chairlifts, transport you up the stairs in a seated position. A stairlift reduces the risk of falling on the stairs – one of the most common places for dangerous falls among older adults. They’re an excellent solution for people who can transfer on and off the chair but have trouble climbing or descending stairs because of pain, weakness or dizziness. There are also standing stairlifts that are designed for people who find it uncomfortable to sit because of arthritis or other joint problems. Stair lifts glide on rails attached to the stair treads rather than to the wall, allowing them to support more weight safely. They generally only take up about half the width of the staircase and most often have a seat that folds out the way when the lift is not in use, so they allow easier use of the staircase on foot. The best stairlifts are custom designed to fit each staircase, and can be fitted to straight staircases as well as to curved ones.
Other options for traversing stairs are far more expensive and often unnecessary. An inclined platform lift – also known as a wheelchair lift – costs up to 10 times as much as a stair lift, while a home elevator is even more expensive.
Stairlifts can make it possible for older adults to remain in their homes rather than making a forced move to an adult community, assisted living community or a smaller, one-story home. Before resigning yourself to moving, check out the various options available to make your entire home accessible again.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stairlifts: Safety First

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15,000 Americans over the age of 65 died from injuries related to falls in 2005. That number doesn’t take into account the number of seniors who spent weeks in the hospital recovering from broken bones after falling on stairs, or had their mobility permanently impaired because of a fall on stairs. Stairlifts help prevent falls by providing an easy, convenient and safe way to travel between the different levels of a house. By doing that, they make it possible for older people and those who are mobility impaired to remain in their homes, a condition shown to be both more affordable and healthier than moving into an assisted living facility. The UK health departments show similar numbers and conclusions.
While chairlifts can make a home safer for those who have trouble navigating stairs, it’s important to choose stair lifts that meet specific safety standards. When looking for a stairlift, consider these factors.
Stair Lift Safety Standards
All stairlifts sold in the UK must meet the safety standards outlined in BS EN 81-40:2008, which covers safety standards for the construction and installation of lifts, including stairlifts and inclined lifting platforms intended for persons with impaired mobility. Those standards include:
-          A monitor that tracks the speed of the stairlift and disengages the drive if it is going too fast
-          Safety edges on the carriage and footplate to prevent injuries caused by entrapment
-          Seatbelts to prevent falls from the seat
-          Seat swivel to allow the passenger to get on and off the lift safely
Professional Installation
One of the biggest causes of injuries on and around stairlifts is improper installation. Installing chairlifts is not a DIY project. The safety features must be correctly installed to ensure safe operation and use. Always buy from a supplier that sends professionals to install your lift.
Battery Power
Chairlifts that operate on mains power can leave you stranded on one level of the home if the electricity is cut off for one reason or another. Choose a model that operates on a rechargeable battery, and will continue to operate even if there is no power to your home.
Stairlifts and Children
Stairlifts are a powerful temptation to children – even more fun than a banister. Always properly supervise children around stair lifts. Better yet, talk to the supplier about safety mechanisms that prevent children from operating the lift without an adult present, such as requiring a key to lock and unlock the power generator, or a code for the wireless remote control.
Stairlifts provide a measure of peace of mind and safety for people who have trouble navigating stairs. Take the time to ensure they are properly installed and to take a few safety precautions to make them even safer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How to Choose Stairlifts

These days, the trend for older adults is “aging in place” – a rather trite term that means “staying at home instead of going to an elderly care facility.” It’s an option that most people prefer, but they may have barriers that make remaining at home difficult. One of the most common of these barriers is stairs. Age and disabilities can make it difficult or painful to navigate the stairs, but that shouldn’t confine someone to one floor in their own home. Stairlifts return access and mobility to those who can’t comfortably navigate the stairs in their home. There are a wide range of chairlifts and stair lifts on the market, and choosing the best one for your needs can be confusing. Consider these factors to help you choose the best stair lift for your use.
Design
There are a number of basic designs for stairlifts, including those that mount on straight stairs and those that can navigate curved – or even spiral – stairs. The most common chairlifts are those that mount the rails on the steps (or treads) rather than along the wall. This lends them additional strength and stability. In addition, there are heavier duty lifts meant for wheelchairs, as well as perching stairlifts for those who can’t comfortably sit because of knee problems. The best way to choose the right design for your home is a professional consultation to evaluate your staircase and present the best possibilities.
Safety Features
The best stairlifts have integral safety features to ensure that they can be used without fear of injury. Check to be sure that the stair lifts you’re buying have:
  • A convenient and easy-to-use seat belt
  • A sensor to stop the chair before it hits an obstruction on the stair
  • End caps on the rails to prevent the chair from sliding off them
  • Good safety ratings
Also, check to make sure that the installers have references regarding their work, as well as experience installing the type of chairlift you order.
Comfort Features
Stairlifts don’t have to be comfortable, but they should be. Look for:
  • Wide, well-padded ergonomically correct seat
  • Adjustable footrest/platform and seat
  • A comfortable backrest
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use controls
In addition, consider the size of the stairlift. It should be designed so that it allows plenty of room for passage when it’s folded up and out of the way. Finally, you’ll find that the hardware and seat covers stairlifts are available in multiple colors and styles so you can choose one that fits your d├ęcor and design tastes.