Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Home Evaluations Are Important for Stairlifts

If you’ve been looking around at stairlifts with the intent to buy, you’ve probably found there are two kinds of dealers who sell them: those who do installations and those who provide you with chairlifts that you can install yourself. While a DIY stairlift may seem like a good way to save money, there are some very good reasons why you should always deal with a company that installs and services the stairlifts that they sell. Here’s what you should know about home evaluations and choosing the right chairlifts for your needs.
Every Stairlift Must Be Custom Fit to Your Stairs
Stairlifts are not one-size-fits-all. They must be cut to fit the length, width and rise of your staircase in order to operate safely. If the rails are too short, too long or installed at the wrong angle, your stairlift may not operate at all, or worse, it may be unsafe to ride.
Measuring for Stairlifts Must Be Precise
The manufacturer will need more than the length and width of your staircase to provide you with a lift that is right for your needs. In fact there are many important measurements, and getting just one wrong can render the stairlift inoperable. A trained stair lift consultant knows exactly which measurements are needed and the best way to take those measurements.
A Consultant Knows the Available Options
One of the ways that a trained consultant can help you during a home evaluation is by showing you options you may not have considered, or including options you may not have known are available. A consultant may be able to see a way to fit a chairlift to a staircase you thought was too narrow, or may point out accessories or options that will make a stair lift more comfortable and usable in your home.
You Can Have Confidence in the Installation
When the measurements and preliminary requirements were handled by a professional, you can have confidence that the installation of your stairlift will be safe.
Maintenance and Repair Is Never an Issue
Finally, when you have the installation done by professionals who sell and service stairlifts every day, you never have to worry about getting repairs and service when you need them. Most companies that sell and install lifts and other mobility aids also offer service contracts that include regular maintenance and emergency repairs so you never have to worry about being without your lift after you’ve found how useful it is to your life.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stairlifts Improve Your Quality of Life

One of the primary benefits of residential stairlifts is the improvement in quality of life they offer. “Quality of life” is one of those nebulous phrases that people like to toss around, often without knowing exactly what they mean and how their lives – or more importantly, your life – will improve. When it comes to installing a stairlift, though, there are proven benefits that most certainly fit under “improved quality of life.” You may not even recognize how much easier stairlifts can make your life. If you’ve never really thought about it before, consider how different your life would be if you never had to think about going up or down the stairs.
Go Up and Down Stairs Whenever You Want or Need to Do So
Many people don’t really consider themselves mobility-impaired, even though they spend most of their lives living on one story of their home. They can still climb the stairs, but it takes effort – enough effort that they avoid making those trips up to the bedroom or down to the laundry room – as much as they can. The little inconveniences may seem like small things, but they add up over time: leaving the house with a lighter jacket because it’s not worth the climb back up to your bedroom to change, for example, or forgoing the next chapter of your book because you left it on your bedside table.
It’s easy to think that it’s not worth the expense to install a stair lift just because it’s a little bit more difficult to climb the stairs than it used to be, because you’re out of breath when you reach the top or because your knees ache all day if you climb the stairs more than once or twice. Stairlifts are for people who are disabled, you may be thinking, certainly not for someone who can still climb stairs.
Stairlifts Prevent Injury and Debilitation
In fact, one major benefit of installing a stairlift in your home is that they help prevent further loss of mobility. If you suffer from arthritis or COPD, your condition isn’t going to improve with exercise. In fact, climbing stairs puts additional stress and wear on your joints, and could be hastening the time when you can’t climb the stairs at all. A stair lift can put off that day further, and preserve your mobility for things you enjoy doing, like playing with your grandkids or working in the garden.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that stairlifts are only for people who are unable to use stairs at all. In fact, one of the best reasons to install a stairlift is to hold onto your ability to engage in activities you enjoy – or, in words that bureaucrats love – they improve your quality of life.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Taking Care of Stairlifts In your Home

Buying a stairlift can solve many accessibility problems for older adults and those who have difficulty climbing stairs. Many people forget that stairlifts may need maintenance to keep working properly. Luckily, keeping your chairlift in good working order is quite simple.
Preventive Maintenance Is the Key
Much of the maintenance required by stairlifts is preventive maintenance – simple daily care that will keep your stairlift in top working order. These simple tasks include:
  • Always leave the chair at the right position on the track when it is not in use. The chair will generally stop naturally at the right point. When the chair is positioned properly, the unit will recharge its internal batteries so that it will always be charged for use.
  • Only unplug the unit if it will not be used for a considerable length of time, and then follow the procedure outlined in your user manual to prevent the battery from being damaged. Generally, you must switch off the mains before unplugging the unit from the wall outlet. Once the unit is unplugged, you can switch off the battery isolation switch to disconnect the battery.
  • Keep clothing and other items off the stairway to prevent them from obstructing the lift or falling into the track.
  • Do not allow children to play on or around the lift, both for their own safety and to prevent damage to the stair lift.
  • Only use the lift with one person at a time. Stairlifts are not designed to carry more than one person. Exceeding the weight limit can damage the tracks and the lift mechanism.
  • Contract with the supplier for your stairlift to provide annual checks and emergency maintenance services if needed.
If your lift isn’t working properly, there are a few things you can check before calling a repair service.
  • Check the power source to be sure that the lift unit is properly connected. If the unit is properly connected but there is still no power, check to be sure the outlet is active by plugging another electrical item into it.
  • Check the battery charge level. If the unit has been drained, it can take up to 14 hours to recharge, and the lift may not operate properly until it reaches full charge again.
  • Make sure that the chair is in the correct position for traveling. Most stairlifts will not operate unless the chair is in the correct position as a safety measure.
  • Make sure that all of the switches are in the ON position. Depending on the model stair lift you’ve chosen, there may be three different switches to turn on.
  • Make sure that the safety sensors are not stuck. Occasionally, a safety sensor will get stuck when there is not a safety issue. Carefully use your fingers to manipulate the sensors and make sure they move freely.
Stairlifts require very little ongoing maintenance, but it’s important to keep them clear of obstructions, and to operate them safely. It’s also a good idea to have an installer check the lift annually for any wear or developing problems.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Stairlifts Information and Answers to Questions You Didn’t Want to Ask

It’s becoming more and more popular for older adults to remain in their own homes, or to move in with children – or move their adult children in with them. For many people, stairs are the only real barrier to remaining at home with family. Stairlifts, once a fairly exotic and expensive solution to limited stairway mobility, are rapidly becoming mainstream as an active, independent generation of adults starts butting up against aggravating limitations in their daily lives. If mounting the stairs is increasingly a chore that fills you with dread – or you’re confined to one floor of your home because you can’t manage the stairs – a stairlift may be the answer for you.
It’s not unusual for older adults to see ads on television for chairlifts and stairlifts, consider them wistfully and then dismiss the thought of installing one in their own home because of some misconception or other. Check out these answers to questions that many buyers were too embarrassed to ask.
Aren’t Stairlifts Expensive?
Expensive is in the eye of the beholder. They’re actually considerably more affordable than most people believe, especially when you compare the expense to the cost of moving house or moving into a nursing care home. Before you decide that you can’t afford a stairlift book a consultation with a company that sells and installs them to find out just how affordable they can be.
Won’t I Have to Get Zoning Permissions?
It’s very rare that you’ll need construction permits or zoning permission to install a stairlift in your home. You should always check with your local regulations, of course, but installing stairlifts doesn’t require any major modifications to your home at all. At most, you may need to have new wiring inspected by an electrician before you can start using the lift.
Won’t I Get Stranded If There’s a Power Outage?
Modern stairlifts operate on a rechargeable battery similar to the ones used for electric wheelchairs. In general, you’ll get about 8 to 10 hours of use from a fully charged stairlift.
Don’t Stairlifts Get in the Way of Others Using the Stairs?
Chairlifts are designed to fold up and out of the way when not in use. Most staircases are plenty wide enough to allow passage past the folded chair, and many are wide enough for a pedestrian to pass beside the chair if necessary.
What If I Need a Stairlift Outside?
There are stairlifts that are specially designed for outdoor use. They feature weatherproof housing for the power and drive train mechanisms, as well as waterproof coverings for the seat.
Aren’t They Kind of Ugly?
Modern stairlifts come in a surprisingly wide variety of styles, and you can often select from an assortment of seat cover fabrics so that the chairlift fits into your home’s d├ęcor as closely as possible.
If you have other questions, contact a local supplier of stairlifts, who will be happy to answer them for you.