If you need a wheelchair to get around, living in a house with stairs poses a problem. Many people choose their homes during their younger years when they have greater mobility, but after living in a house for decades, you may not want to give it up. Fortunately, you don't need to move out of your house due to mobility concerns. Wheelchair lifts can allow you to use your wheelchair in your home. These devices will allow you to get safely between the floors in your house. Here are four things you should do when shopping for a wheelchair lift.
Pick between a vertical platform lift and an inclined platform lift.
Vertical platform lifts and inclined platform lifts are the two most common types of wheelchair lifts. Inclined platform lifts are ideal for long flights of stairs, like the type you would find between the upstairs and downstairs floors of a house. Vertical lifts mimic the motion of an elevator without the added expense and weight of an actual elevator. These lifts are usually used outdoors to help people bypass entryway stairs. Vertical lifts are great for places where space is an issue since they are so compact.
Choose the right height.
Vertical wheelchair lifts come in various heights. In order to have a safe experience, you'll need to choose the height that most closely matches the height of the entryway to your home. You can find lifts in sizes from 52 inches to 14 feet tall, depending on your needs. Have someone measure the height of your entryway, then talk to a wheelchair lift supplier to find the ideal lift.
Choose the right size.
You also need to consider the size of your wheelchair lift's platform. All wheelchairs come in different sizes. People with electric wheelchairs will likely need a larger platform than those with manual wheelchairs. Make sure you pick a wheelchair lift whose platform is large enough to safely accommodate your chair. You need to be able to maneuver your wheelchair on and off the platform without assistance.
Take your railings into account.
If you select an inclined platform lift, a track will be installed along your staircase. The lift will follow this track to get you safely up and down the stairs. People with curved staircases will require a wheelchair lift with a curved railing to match. You'll be able to find inclined lifts to accommodate the most common types of staircases, and you can custom order one if you can't find what you need.