Wheelchairs: Mobility Options for You

Stair Lift Safety

A difficult part of aging and/or losing mobility is having to give up the family home because you are unable to access all parts of your house.  Older people and people with disabilities are sometimes faced with having to make this decision since they can't go up and down stairs.  One solution that many people choose instead of relocating is to install a stairlift so that they can safely access all parts of their family home. 

If you've seen the movie The Gremlins, you probably remember the scene when the gremlins mess with the wiring on the stair lift, sending Mrs. Deagle flying up the stairs and out the window.  Luckily, stair chair lifts are incredibly safe and this scenario won't happen to your loved one if one is installed.  However, there are some safety precautions that must be followed in order to avoid injuries.

Stair Lift Safety Precautions

  • Don't install it yourself! Installing a stairlift is not a do it yourself activity, even for the handiest handyman.  One wrong move can cause serious damage to the person using the lift.  The company selling you the stairlift should be able to assist in you finding a trained professional who knows what they are doing. 
  • Get your stairs evaluated.  The company that you buy your stairlift from will come out and evaluate your stairs in order to make sure that they are capable of handling the stairlift.  The good news is that most staircases are able to support and accommodate a lift.
  • Make sure electrical outlets are grounded.  If you have old outlets, be sure that they are grounded before installing the stair lift.
  • Know how to operate it.  Anyone who uses the lift needs to know how to use it.  Keep untrained people away from the stair lift to minimize the risk of injuries.
  • Choose a lift with safety features. Stair lifts that have swivel chair make it easy to get on and off.  Lifts that have sensors installed are able to cut the power if an object is in the way.  A battery back-up is important in case of a power failure.  A lift that requires a key to operate is a great idea if young children will be visiting. 
  • Buckle up. No matter how comfortable a person is using the lift, the seat belt should be worn. 
  • Watch your step! Those who use the stairs need to be cautious after the stairlift is installed.  The lift makes the staircase narrower, and those not used to it can trip and injure themselves.