Carrying a person with disabilities, up and down the stairs is really difficult for the accompanying person. It can become even more complicated if there is no elevator around. Moving such person within the house is also not easy. But with the invention of the wheelchair stair lift, you can easily carry an old or ailing person at the push of a button.
It is mechanized way of carrying a person up and down the stairs. The person remains seated in the chair and it is driven by a motor, along a track or ramp. The best part is that, its installation does not interfere with the normal usage of the stairs and no major break down or reconstruction is needed. Moreover, the installation is pretty affordable.
Wheelchair stair lifts are differentiated according to their driving mechanisms. The different types include:
- Rack-Pinion: It is a light duty lift and emits very less noise, making it a popular choice for quiet areas like hospitals.
- Cable Hauled: This type of lift uses cables to haul the wheelchair up and down. Though the system is the quietest, it is known to give jerks to the occupant, thus making the landing rough.
- Screw-Driven: Screw-driven lifts work on a set of screws. They are not a popular choice for individual usage.
- Running Chains: This type of lift is driven by the running chains and is noisiest of all types. The thumb on the chair activates the chains which haul the wheelchair up or down.
- Mains Powered: Mains powered lifts are becoming less popular. Their safety and reliability is highly questionable.
They are very affordable. No remodeling of the existing structure is needed. The rack-pinion lift can cost you around $5000 for a straight track and $15000 for a curved track. If you opt for some other type of lift, then the cost can shoot up to $25000. Still, the cost is much less than a cage lift, since no major break down of the structure is needed.
These devices are safe and reliable. For people suffering from vertigo problem, most lift systems have mechanisms that turn the chair sideways or right around. Moreover, they are fitted with electronic devices that warn the user of any potential problem, thus enabling preventive maintenance.
Control and Maintenance
Most types work on remote controls, push buttons or joysticks. Though, a straight rack-pinion is almost a zero maintenance lift, curved lift may warrant a periodic maintenance. Moreover, other types such as chain or cable lifts can be high on maintenance cost.
Wheelchair stair lifts are a great option for old people and people with physical disabilities to commute easily on their own within multistoried buildings. They can also be installed in historical or heritage buildings, where law deters any kind of construction or remodeling work.