A Handicap Stair Lift – Is It Right For You?

The handicap stair lift brings real domestic independence for those who are disabled or handicapped in such a way that they find it difficult to walk up or down the stairs. But before you buy one, for you or someone else, you should spend sometime in evaluating the exact requirements of the handicapped user of the stair lift and whether it is the right solution for their disability.

The design of stair lifts is improving all the time and many manufacturers pay special attention to the needs of the handicapped. However, they aren’t always going to be suitable for every disabled person; using one might be too uncomfortable or even dangerous depending on the nature of the handicap. Here are some considerations when purchasing a handicap stair lift.

Can they lift themselves on to the stair chair lift?

If the person uses a wheelchair can they independently transfer themselves from the wheelchair to the chair? If they can’t then it might be more appropriate to consider a wheelchair chair lift, although these types of device are rarely suitable in domestic homes as the width of most staircases is too narrow for the ramp. Even if they don’t use a wheelchair they should still be able to lift themselves on and off the chair.

Can they hold down a pressure switch?

Just about all stair lifts for the handicapped come with buttons or levers that must be kept pushed down while the chair is in motion. It is a safety feature; as soon as the pressure is released the machine will automatically stop. But if the person who is going to use the machine can’t hold down the lever then they won’t be able to use it.

Make sure it comes with a safety belt.

The price of stair lifts is high. When looking for a cheaper model you may find that you get very little in the way of extras. Many cheap units don’t come with safety belts as standard. Before you buy ask whether or not a belt comes as standard. There are also different types of belts available; the most commonly used is a belt that fastens over the lap. If you require a belt that fits over the shoulder you should specify this requirement before you purchase the machine. Finally, the person using it should be able to fasten and unfasten the belt by themselves – again different manufacturers have different locking mechanisms.

Does the person have control of their upper body?

It is vital that the person is properly secured when using a handicap stair lift. The design of the seat and the belt will help, but make sure that the person is in no danger of sliding off the chair.

There’s no doubt of the benefits that a stair lift can bring to the disabled or handicapped. Installing one often restores a person’s independence. Just make sure that, before you buy, it will be appropriate for the person with the disability.