Tips for Choosing the Best Mobility Lift for Your Home
A mobility lift can be a great choice for anyone with mobility or balance issues but who wants to stay in their home, without having to move to one without stairs. There are many different types of mobility lifts on the market, so note a few tips for choosing the best one for your home, or for the home of an aging parent.
Wheelchair versus stair lift
A wheelchair lift refers to a type of ramp, big enough and sturdy enough to lift someone in a wheelchair. The ramp would be attached to the outside of a staircase and work like an open elevator. A stair lift is a type of seat that is attached to a track inside the stairwell. This lift is lighter and may more readily work for a home without an open staircase.
However, when deciding between the two models, note that a person does need some mobility to use the stairlift, as they are getting in and out of an actual seat. For those with mild arthritis or other such issues, this may be suitable, but consider if your mobility issues may become worse over time. If you should need to start using a wheelchair sometime in the future, investing in an actual wheelchair lift now may be the better option.
For wheelchair lifts, remember to consider the added weight of a wheelchair itself and, if necessary, the added weight of an assistant who may need to ride the lift with the person in the wheelchair. Note also that a person’s body weight may increase over time. Choosing a lightweight lift because it’s cheaper may not be the best choice if you put added wear and tear on its track and motor because of it being overloaded. Opt for a heavy-duty lift that supports more than enough weight to ensure it’s durable and lasts for many years.
There are several safety features you want to consider for a lift of any type. For a chair lift, ensure it has a strong, sturdy seatbelt to keep someone in place as the chair moves; the lift might also have an added feature that won’t allow it to move unless the belt is snapped closed. For a wheelchair lift, the lip of the ramp should tip up when a person is on board, preventing the wheelchair from actually rolling off the ramp. Every lift should also come with a manual braking feature that allows a rider to stop it immediately, in case of emergency or if something is blocking their path.