Thursday, October 31, 2013

How Do Stairlifts Work?

Stairlifts make it possible for people who have trouble traversing stairs to get up and down between the stories in their home. If you’re considering installing a stairlift in your home, you may be curious about the actual mechanics that make these ingenious, helpful devices actually work. Here, in a nutshell, is how stairlifts work.
The typical stairlift consists of several basic components. First, there are the rails, a system of tracks that are fixed to the stair treads, or in rare cases, to the wall beside the staircase. Generally, there is a bracket attached to the steps on the stairway. The rails are attached to the brackets. Next there is the carriage, the component which moves along the rail. In most cases, the carriage is pulled along the rails by a chain or cable, though some may be driven along the rails by some other system. The carriage generally consists of a seat, usually with arms and a footrest for safety. Some chairlifts have a “perch” – a small platform on which a passenger can stand during transport. Finally, there is the battery, which powers the motor that runs the drive train. It is similar to an automobile battery and must be plugged in to recharge. The battery operation ensures that the stair lift will operate even if there is a power outage.
Most stairlifts are operated via a control on the arm of the lift. The control may be a switch or a toggle, which is easier to operate for people with limited dexterity. Modern stairlifts often also have a remote controllers that can operate the stairlift from a short distance. These operate as call buttons to bring the lift to the top or bottom of the stairs where a passenger is waiting.
Most modern stairlifts also incorporate a computer processor which tracks the speed of ascent and descent and records the number of trips up and down the stairs. These records can help service engineers diagnose problems on service calls, and may also warn owners when parts need maintenance, attention or replacement.
Safety Meausres
Most modern stairlifts incorporate a number of important safety devices that cut the power to the lift when something goes wrong. These range from sensors that stop the seat when they encounter an obstacle or obstruction on the stair to governors, which brake the chair if the mechanism recognizes that the chair is moving too fast.
Most engineers and vendors who install stairlifts will be happy to explain the key workings to you if you ask, because it makes their jobs easier if you understand how the lift operates, so if you have questions, just ask.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Misconceptions About Stairlifts

You’ve probably seen the television ads for stairlifts, ads featuring happy older adults riding up and down the staircase on a comfortable chair. Chairlifts are an excellent option for adults who have trouble navigating stairs because of age or physical disability. Many people resist the idea of installing a chairlift because they think they’re too expensive, or that they’re “not disabled enough,” or some other similar reason. In fact, today’s stairlifts are more affordable than ever. Here are some other misconceptions you may have about stair lifts that are keeping you from making one of the best decisions of your life.
Stairlifts Are Too Expensive
While a stairlift is certainly more expensive than, say, installing a set of shower grab bars, they’re nowhere near as expensive as many people believe. In fact, a simple straight chairlift will probably cost you no more than a couple of month’s rent. That’s quite cheap, especially when you consider the alternatives are giving up your home, or moving to a building with a single level.
I’ll Get Stuck During a Power Outage
Absolutely not. Today’s stairlifts are powered by rechargeable batteries, similar to those that power your automobile. If you should happen to lose power, the chairlift will continue to operate for up to several days, depending on the number of trips for which it is used.
Getting a Stairlift is Like Giving in to Infirmity
Some people resist getting a stairflift because they feel like it’s an admission that they’re “getting old” or that they can’t handle living on their own anymore. In fact, stairlifts are the exact opposite. They give you back access to your entire home and allow you to resume doing chores you’d been afraid of tackling because of the stairs.
My Stairs Are Too Awkward for a Stair Lift
It’s a pretty rare staircase that can’t be fitted with a stairlift. Stairlifts can be fitted to straight stairs, narrow stairs, wide stairs, curving stairs, stairs with landings – about 85% of staircases can handle a standard chairlift. Many of the others can be fitted with stairlifts after some accommodation is made. In the rare cases where stairlifts are not the answer, many companies that provide them also provide platform lifts and other options.
If you or someone in your household has trouble navigating the stairs in your home, contact a company that sells and installs stairlifts to find out if they might be the best solution for your situation.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Special Features Available with Stairlifts

Stairlifts help people get up and down stairs safely. Modern stairlifts run on a rail that is mounted on the treads of the stairs rather than on the wall, making them adaptable to many different types of staircases. While they’ve been around for more than 75 years – the first stairlifts were marketed commercially in the 1930s – they’re becoming far more popular as the concept of “aging-in-place” gains widespread acceptance. While the original chairlifts were simply a carriage with a lift attached, modern stairlifts are available with a wide variety of features that make them safer and more comfortable in use. These are a few of the more widely available.
Adjustable Seat Height
One of the most basic features for stair lifts is an adjustable-height seat. This is important not only for comfort, but for safety. It’s important for the rider to be able to sit comfortably on the seat in order to ride the lift safely.
Platform Lifts
While most stairlifts are chairlifts, there are some people who cannot comfortably take a seat, perhaps because of knee pain or stiffness. For them, stairlifts can be fitted with a standing platform and handrail. If a rider must stand on a stairlift, this is the only safe way to do it.
Wide Seats
Many chairlifts are available with wide-width seats to accommodate larger people. Talk to a professional installer about the possibility of installing wider seats on a standard stairlift if you believe you need more room for your seat.
Multiple Call Stations
Modern stairlifts can be called from either the top or the bottom of the stairs so that no one is ever stranded on the “wrong end” of the lift. For lifts that traverse more than one flight of steps, there may be even more call stations.
Flip-up Seat
Seats and arm rests can be folded out of the way when the chairlift is not in use, making it easier for people to use the stairway on foot.
Speed Governor
The speed governor monitors the speed of the lift in use and steps in to brake it, preventing injuries if the seat is moving too fast.
Most chairlifts come with a safety belt to secure the rider in the chair. This can be especially important for people who have balance issues.
Flip-up  Rail
When the end of a staircase falls at a hallway or door opening, the end of the stairlift will often extend across the doorway, causing a tripping hazard. In that case, installers often use an end rail that can be flipped up out of the way when the chair is not actually in use.
Talk to a professional stairlifts vendor about special features that make sense for your needs so that your stairlift is exactly right for you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Six Reasons That Stairlifts Make Sense

Stairlifts make life easier for everyone in the household. If you or someone in your home is finding it difficult to navigate stairs, installing a stairlift can help restore their independence while providing benefits for everyone else in the family. Why do stairlifts make sense as a mobility option? Here are six reasons to consider a stairlift for your home.
Peace of Mind for Caregivers and Family
Do you worry about a loved one who is no longer stable on the stairs? When you provide a chairlift, you can stop worrying when you can’t be there to supervise travels up and down the stairs.
Affordable Alternative to Other Solutions
Stairlifts are far more affordable than many other solutions you might consider when stairs become an option. Compare the cost of installing a stair lift to the cost of moving to a one-story home, moving to an assisted living center or even adding a room to first floor. A stairlift makes much more sense financially than the alternatives.
Reduce the Chance of Broken Bones
Stumbles and falls on stairs are among the leading cause of broken legs and hips in older adults. Sadly, most older adults who suffer a broken hip or serious bone break never recover their full mobility. Installing a chairlift can help prevent falls, and help older adults stay mobile longer.
Save Your Strength for More Important Things
If you suffer from COPD or other conditions that make climbing stairs a challenge, stairlifts let you save your time and energy for more important things than sitting and catching your breath.
Reduce Strain on Joints
Climbing up and down stairs puts an enormous amount of strain and stress on your ankles, knees and hips. Riding a stair lift up and down the stairs can help preserve your joints and make your life less painful.
Help Restore Independence
Get your groceries into your house without help, or carry the laundry upstairs without waiting for someone else to get home. While chairlifts are designed for single riders, you can carry things up and down the stairs with you. In fact, you can even buy baskets designed to make it even easier to carry things up and down the stairs on a stair lift.
Don’t let a simple thing like difficulty climbing stairs cramp your independence or rob your life of its pleasure. Contact a local dealer and learn about the many kinds of stairlifts available to suit your needs and make your life easier.