Stairlifts are mechanized devices designed to help mobility-impaired individuals move up and down the stairs safely in their homes. Consisting of a mechanized chair attached to a railing, stairlifts are becoming increasingly popular, especially among older Americans. According to a 2012 U.S. Census report, 15.7 million Americans over the age of 65 suffered from disabilities, and of this 15.7 million, approximately two-thirds had difficulty climbing or walking. Fortunately, many of these seniors have regained their ability to travel up and down stairs freely with the aid of a stairlift.
Stairlifts have the ability to make life easier for many, but only when they are used safely. If you currently own or are considering owning a stairlift, here are five easy-to-remember safety tips for using a stairlift in your private residence.
Fold the Seat
Stairlift seats can be folded when not in use to prevent them from getting in the way of individuals using the stairs. This is important to remember, especially if you live with others, and simply folding the seat after each use can prevent falls and other accidents. More than one million Americans are injured on the stairs yearly, and by folding your seat, you can easily prevent your loved ones from becoming statistics.
One Passenger at a Time
Although you may be tempted to carry your grandchild up the stairs with you, you should keep in mind that stairlifts are engineered to only support one passenger at a time. Stairlift owners should never attempt to transport multiple passengers at a time or use the device to move heavy items, such as furniture. When reading your user manual, pay close attention to the maximum weight limit provided by the manufacturer.
Routine Maintenance and Repairs
To keep your stairlift in operating condition and avoid accidents, it is recommended that you regularly maintain your stairlift. If your stairlift stops working, behaves erratically, or exhibits any signs of wear and tear, it may be time to contact a professional. Never attempt to repair or maintain a stairlift yourself – you could injure yourself or cause additional damage, which can void the warranty with the dealer or manufacturer.
Use the Seatbelt
Stairlifts move at an extremely safe speed, but even with this in mind, users should still buckle up. Seatbelts can prevent you from falling out of your stairlift during the ride and sustaining serious or life-threatening injuries. Never attempt to use your stairlift without buckling up first.
Keep Stairs Clear of Obstructions
According to a study conducted by the Cornell University Department of Design & Environmental Analysis, elderly individuals should keep their stairs clear of all obstructions, even if they do not own a stairlift. However, the following obstructions can pose a hazard to stairlift owners if they are not removed:
These obstructions can get in the way of your stairlift, which could cause you and your device to get stuck on the stairs. If you live with others, be sure to stress the importance of keeping the stairway clear at all times.
Keep Stairlift Safety in Mind
If you suffer from mobility issues, buying a stairlift can greatly improve the quality of your life, especially if you live in a two-story home. However, you must keep safety in mind when using your stairlift. By following the safety tips above, you can stay safe and get the most use out of your stairlift.
Joseph Jones has been writing senior care and aging-related articles for years. He got his start while writing for a personal blog before he was offered to work at California Mobility in 2018 as the Content Marketing Manager, creating highly informative guides and health awareness articles for aging adults.
He’s currently contributing to a variety of blogs in the senior health industry in hopes to spread information about taking care of seniors and what to expect in the aging process.