Did you know there are currently 53 million Americans with a disability? Having limited mobility is the most common of all. While 6.8 million of these citizens can be assisted with wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters, they will run into some trouble if a building they are visiting is not up to accessibility standards. The problem becomes even more of an issue if the building in question is their own home. Choosing the right wheelchair lift for a home does not need to be complicated. Below are a few recommendations to make the process easier.
Wheelchair Lifts: Which Type Is Best Depends on Your Home’s Layout.
Budget constraints will matter also of course, but it is true that the deciding factor in chair lifts for home use depend on the layout of the house. A curved stair lift is needed for homes with a curved staircase. A diagonal lift is fine for straight staircases, and a platform lift is a good option for homes with enough room.
What to Know Before Installing a Curved Stair Lift.
A curved stair lift will only work, or be needed, in homes that have a curved staircase. The set-up is more intensive than that of the diagonal wheelchair lifts for home use. Many companies will ask for photographs of the stairs along with measurements before they will build the rails and attachments. Because each curved stair lift must be fit to each individual’s stair, this option does tend to run higher price wise than other options.
The goal is to have a smooth ride from start to finish, which does require perfectly placed rails. A track might be a flat rail, a double rail, or a single rail. The dealer will recommend the safest, sturdiest option. Installation for this option tends to take a little longer, however most are up and running within a few hours.
Inclined Wheelchair Lifts Are a Common Choice.
A diagonal or inclined wheelchair lift works just as a curved stair lift, but installation is said to be faster. This type of wheelchair lift is said to take up minimal space when not in use. The trick is to get the rails as close to the corners as possible. This type of assistive device is especially helpful for those homeowners who have long staircases that are near impossible to climb if you have limited mobility.
Is a Platform Lift an Elevator?
While the design is nearly identical, an elevator is not the same as a platform lift. A platform lift is open, while an elevator is enclosed. The platform can raise its occupant up and over any vertical barrier. But it does require a bit of room for the platform and the motor. It is also higher on the budget scale of assistive devices.
Before deciding which lift is the right fit for your home, you may have asked yourself another question. Who actually needs a wheelchair lift in their home? The answer may not be the most severe case of mobility issues. In fact, a homeowner may decide to install a wheelchair lift because they have found that their disability is interfering with their daily routine. A lift might be installed from the basement to the ground floor, or up a spiral staircase.
Of course, a lift is also addressing concerns about safety. Out of the elderly population, nearly 2 million experience a fall each year that caused enough injury to warrant a visit to the emergency room. As nearly 50% of senior citizen falls happen at home, it makes sense to guard against this potential accident.