Stair Lift - Who Needs It

Stair Lift - Who Needs It

A lift is designed for individuals unable to climb stairs, as well as to help caregivers provide quality and effective care to seniors or the disabled in such environments.

When it comes to looking at a lift, understand what to look for and the requirement of the person in order to choose the right model or style that meets their needs.

Who Needs a Stair Lift?

Any elderly or disabled person living in a home environment that has more than one level may benefit from a lift, also known as an electric lift. Individuals who have difficulty climbing stairs, need crutches, or have balance problems will benefit from the security and freedom provided by a lift.

stair lift

Stair lifts are designed to offer greater mobility and independence to individuals diagnosed with conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, joint or muscle disabilities, and may find a lift offers greater independence and comfort when ambulating upstairs or downstairs. Individuals diagnosed with such conditions as Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, or fibromyalgia may also find a greater degree of comfort and security when utilizing a lift.

Things to Consider

When looking for a lift, ask yourself some questions. First of all, would the person utilizing the lift prefer to sit or stand while traveling upstairs or downstairs? Are they able to use their hands to manipulate controls?

The seat of the lift must be able to comfortably seat the individual, so determining issues such as weight, knee mobility and movement and comfort levels need to be considered when looking at different models and styles.

Some models offer audio signals that help individuals with poor eyesight, as well as those who are blind, to use the lift safely.

What to Look For in a Stair Lift

When choosing a specific lift brand or model, determine its design and ability to function for specific individual needs. For example, the basic components in any quality lift should include:

  • Easy to manipulate controls- joysticks should be easily accessible to individuals as well as offer easy access even for those with weak muscle control or coordination.
  • Swivel seat - easy access and egress of the lift is made possible through the use of a swivel seat. Swivel seats should have locking mechanisms or catch so the seat doesn't move while sitting down or standing up.
  • Sensors - sensors will determine stopping points along the rail track.
  • Mechanical and electronic breaking system - even an electronic lift model should have a mechanical or manual breaking system that may be employed by the senior using the lift in the event of an electrical outage.
  • Pressure sensitive monitors - such monitors will cause the chair to stop if sensors determine obstructions on the staircase or on the lift track.

Safety First

Seniors or other individuals utilizing a lift should also consider the home or building environment when selecting models. Choose models with childproof buttons and mechanisms in environments where small children reside to prevent the lift from being activated and potentially injuring toddlers or small children.

Choose lifts geared to height and weight limitations. Different models have designated weight limits.

Choose adequate a lift that enable slight weight gain for optimal, long-term use and functionality.

Before purchasing a lift (as they can be expensive) check with the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General's office to make sure no complaints have been lodged against the company you're considering purchase from, especially if you're going to finance the lift through them.

In order to be covered through Medicare, a lift should be recommended by a professional health care provider, such as your doctor or physical therapist. Talk to them regarding the type of lift that may best suit your needs and follow their advice in order to enjoy the benefits of independence a lift can offer.

Chair Lifts


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