Walking up and down the stairs, something that many peo […]
Walking up and down the stairs, something that many people take for granted, is very difficult if you are in a wheelchair or use a mobility scooter. Most often it is the front porch that offers the greatest obstacle to those that use wheelchairs and scooters. A vertical platform lift is one device that makes it possible for those who use mobility devices to safely use the stairs.
A vertical platform lift is like a personal elevator, but is much easier to install and costs a great deal less. They are installed alongside of a set of steps, most often the front steps, and send a small platform vertically up and down the stairs. Since they are most often found on the front steps of houses, they are sometimes called porch lifts. These types of lifting aids are also very popular in commercial settings. Many schools use them to provide access to stages and bleachers. These portable models can be moved and setup quickly, which makes them great for schools and churches.
These types of lifting aids can be installed quickly and by using normal household tools. They do require a strong a sturdy base though. Most people use wood or concrete to make their base and the base needs to be able to support the weight of the lift and its occupants. If you are lifting more than 52 inches, then you will likely also have to secure the lift to the side of the steps. Some models come completely pre-assembled, but most require a little bit of assembly.
Most of these lifts have a very impressive weight capacity and can support at least 500 pounds. This is usually enough for a person, their mobility scooter, and one extra person. Some models are available that have a much higher weight rating. Most vertical platform lifts are designed for outdoor use. All electrical connections are sealed and the metals are treated to be resistant to rust.
These types of lifts can be configured to allow access from the front or side. One of the most popular types of access is the straight-through setup. This allows the user to drive their scooter or wheelchair straight onto the lift and then straight off, without having to turn your chair at all. Another common type of access is adjacent access. When using adjacent access the user will drive straight onto the lift and then turn their mobility device 90 degrees to the right or left and exit the device. Deciding on straight-through and adjacent access is often based on the amount of space available. Adjacent access can be used in areas of limited space, but many find that the straight-through access is preferable.
One feature that is available for most lifts is some type of manual override. This is a good feature to have, because it can be used if the power goes out or in case of emergency. You should be able to easily turn the handle to quickly move the device. Some also have available battery backup, which will cost more, but ensures that you will never be left stranded without your lift, even when the power goes out.
A vertical platform lift can quickly and easily be installed to most homes and allows for those who use mobility devices complete access to elevated areas.