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What to Look For in a Stair Chair

Jul 29, 2008
People have difficulty using the stairs for many reasons. Most often as we age it is due to arthritis, but injury or poor balance can also make it very dangerous to use the stairs. The leading cause of hospitalization of people over 65 is as a result from a fall down the stairs, so the stairs present a real danger to many people. A stair lift is one type of mobility aid that can be installed to a staircase to greatly reduce the risk of falls or injury.

Stair lifts are used in many homes across the country and can safely carry a single person up and down the stairs. They are very simple and easy to operate. Most use a simple remote control that attaches directly to the chair. Many also include several wireless remotes, which can be mounted directly to the wall or kept on your person for added convenience.

On most straight staircases, a metal track is bolted directly to the steps. A chair or small platform is then sent up and down the track carrying a single occupant. The chair lift is most common and usually the platform stair lift is reserved for people with severe knee or joint problems which make it very difficult and painful to bend the knee. Since these types of lifts require you to remain standing while going up the stairs, a chair lift is much safer for individuals with poor balance.

The type of chair on the lift is often a consideration for many people. There are several different designs to choose from. Many people prefer a chair that will fold when not in use, because these take up less space. Others, due to medical necessity, require a wider chair that is reinforced. Those that do not require a wider reinforced chair, will be able to find several different types of attractive chairs that have a very modern look to them. Most companies also typically offer several different types of fabric coverings, which will match or compliment most colors of paint. You will want to make sure the seat swivels though, which makes it easier and safer to transfer into and out of the lift. They of course lock into position when the lift is moving, but when you reach the top, you can swivel the chair so that you are exiting directly onto the landing as opposed to onto the steps.

Most people find that straight stair lifts can be installed fairly easily. They will take a few hours though, but don't require any tools that are out of the ordinary. You will want to have a helper with you though, because the part of the lift that contains the chair and motor will usually weigh around 100 pounds and needs to be taken to the top of the stairs before it can be attached to the track.

Stair lifts provide a great way to keep individuals safe while using the stairs and can be easily used without assistance. If you own a stair lift, then you can confidently use the stairs and not worry about whether you have someone there to help you go up and down the steps.
About the Author
Brad Brubaker is a writer with experience using and maintaining many types of home mobility equipment. If you would like to learn more about stairlifts or other types of lifting aids like vertical platform lifts , visit AmeriGlide to learn more.
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