Stair Lifts and Residential Elevators

Published by Stephen on August 21, 2009 Under stair lifts

When using the stairs, seniors and the elderly are at an increased risk of falling. Not only is there an increased risk for this age group, specifically those over the age of 65, but the risk of a serious injury as a result of the fall is also greatly increased.

These risks are often the result of a number of mobility related diseases, such as arthritis and limited vision, which are more frequently found among the elderly. When combined with diseases like osteoporosis, which makes the bones more brittle and easier to break, even a very small fall on the stairs can quickly become very serious.

Determining a way of increasing staircase safety, without restricting the seniors independence is very important, so many seniors choose to install a mobility lifting aid in their homes to make using the staircase easier.

Stair Lifts

The most cost friendly mobility lifting aid is the stair lift. Stair lifts are designed to carry a person up and down the stairs, moving them safely between floors. Most stair lifts use a very similar design, with a chair that moves along an aluminum track. The track has a metal gear in it that runs the entire length of the track and an electric motor in the base of the chair climbs this metal gear.

The metal track itself is most often simply secured to the steps of the staircase, although on curved staircases and in some cases where the staircase is very narrow, the track may instead be attached to the wall of the staircase. In most cases though, the track is installed onto the steps themselves and the homeowner is able to preform the stair lift installation, which can save a great deal on installation costs.

In addition to stair chairs, there are also stair lifts for wheelchair users, called inclined platform lifts, and standing stair lifts, called perch lifts. There are also direct power models and battery powered models, referred to as AC Stair Lifts and DC Stair Lifts respectively. The main advantage that a DC Stair Lift offers is that it can be used even if there is a power loss at the home, although they do have a slightly higher upfront cost and higher maintenance costs than AC Stair Lifts.

Residential Elevators

Stair lifts are not the only type of mobility lifting aid used in the home to increase accessibility and elevators are also an option. There are several companies that build custom made residential elevator kits, which make moving between floors much easier.

Residential elevators are much smaller than commercial elevators and also usually use a different lifting system, some using pulleys and others using a geared system similar to that of a stair lift.

While in many ways, elevators offer a much more elegant lifting solution than stair lifts, they are also much more expensive. Not only will the actual installation require more modification to the homes structure, but the actual elevator is also very pricey. It is also necessary to find room for the elevator and the elevator shaft, with many people opting to use their hallway closet to house the elevator shaft.

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