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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
to a professional stairlifts vendor about special features that make
sense for your needs so that your stairlift is exactly right for you.