Many people with mobility issues find that stairlifts are a tremendous assist device. These machines are incredibly useful for anyone who has trouble climbing stairs. However, there are important safety issues to consider when using a stairlift. In this article we will show how to make sure you get the best – and safest – use from your stairlift.
Before you install your stairlift, make sure your staircase can handle the machine. If your staircase goes straight up, this is the simplest situation. If there is a bend or curve in the staircase though, it can make installation tricky but not impossible. A trusted Stair lift Website can guide you through this.
One way to save a bit of money is to use a bridging platform at the top of the stairs. A bridging platform is a wooden platform that folds out for you to move from the stairlift to the landing platform at the top of the stairs. This option, however, is only for people will some amount of mobility and steadiness on their feet.
Finally, make sure the seat fits you properly. If it is too small, you could lose your balance when being lifted up the stairs. Plus, getting on and off of a properly fitted stairlift chair is much easier.
Many people have the misconception that you can only install stairlifts on large, wide staircases. Stairlifts are actually designed for nearly any size and configuration of staircase. Even spiral staircases can be fitted with a stairlift. There are also stairlifts that can be fitted to lift a person in a wheelchair.
Stairlifts can be installed for:
- Straight staircases
- Curved staircases
- Split staircases
- Outdoor staircases
Stairlifts require electrical power, so your electrical system must carry the proper voltage and wiring to power the lift. Also, you want to make sure your stairlift has a backup battery source in the case that your home has a power outage. That way you will never be left stranded on the stairlift.
If a person has balance problems or limited mental capacity, never leave them unattended on a stairlift. This avoids falls. You might be tempted to tend to other tasks while the person is being lifted up the stairs, but this is never a good idea. Stay with the person from the beginning to the end of the trip.
Also, never allow children to play on or around the stairlift. They will be tempted because the stairlift looks like fun, but using the stairlift irresponsibly could result in a very serious fall or injury. If a child needs the stairlift for mobility reasons, then he or she should be supervised at all times when using the lift.
What about used or reconditioned stairlifts?
You should feel comfortable buying a used stairlift if it has been reconditioned by a reputable stairlift company. If the mechanism has been cleaned and serviced, there is no reason why it shouldn’t work very well. You should ask for a warranty even if you buy used.
Getting Tangled Up
Most quality stairlifts are designed to prevent loose clothing from getting tangled up in the lift mechanism. However, it is still a good idea to avoid using a lot of loose clothing or bed sheets while using a stairlift. Also, you should carry as little as possible when being lifted. Make sure you use the seat belt every time you get on the stairlift.
Most stairlifts are virtually maintenance free. However, if you hear any unusual noises or feel a new vibration, you should have the stairlift serviced immediately. Also check with your sales representative about regular maintenance. Some stairlifts recommend a yearly maintenance checkup.
There are many advantages to having a stairlift installed into your home if you have mobility issues. Even though the lifts are very safe, it is important to keep in mind the recommendations outlined in this article. Be responsible and attentive, and you will get great use out of your stairlift and avoid injury.
Sarah Snowhill is a freelance writer that specialized in health care topics and special needs. Sarah likes to learn about new devices that help people with mobility issues.