Wheelchair Lifts (Home and Vehicle)
Wheelchairs have been around for hundreds of years. They are just one example of Senior Mobility Products available to the elderly and infirm. Improved mobility for the disabled or aged can make their lives a lot more manageable and provide access to areas not possible before. Knowing about this important example of Senior Citizen Information can greatly improve quality of life and safety in the home. Quality senior access within the home can help to prevent slip and falls or other "events" which can lead to lengthy hospital or nursing home stays. In earlier times, wheelchairs had to be lifted up or carried down to another level which was very difficult and dangerous. Wheelchair lifts are electrically or hydraulically operated platforms which allow the disabled person to be raised or lowered to gain access to a building, a floor within the building, or into a vehicle.
There are many specifications, models, and features to choose from and the basics are that the platform should be big enough to adequately house and surround the wheelchair or scooter. If installed in the home the door and platform to the unit must be accessible by the individual without assistance and operating controls need to be within easy reach. Wheelchair lifts can be installed externally to the home permitting access to doors, steps, and garages. They can also be installed within the home giving access to the second floor and basement. Wheelchair lifts can also be used on stairs similar to chair lifts only the platform replaces the seat for the occupant. This is a great advantage for the person trying to stay in their home and delay the move to an assisted living or long term care facility.
Specifications and building requirements for the disabled and aged are defined within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) so building contractors know the rules related to new construction or adapting the home to a new situation. It is also highly recommended if a wheelchair lift is needed you contact a Certified Aging in Place (CAPS) contractor to ensure the ADA rules are followed and the necessary safety features are installed. CAPS contractors are listed on the Internet and they should display their qualifications before any work is considered. Wheelchair lifts installed at the home are electrically or hydraulically operated depending on where they are used.
Vehicle wheelchair lifts afford the disabled and aged much improved mobility and pleasure in being able to participate in activities outside the home. Being able to use a vehicle allows the person to visit friends, go to the store or shopping mall, and go to church. This is important to the person trying to remain safe, independent and feel less isolated. External vehicle lifts permit less retrofitting but the wheelchair is exposed to the elements and can be damaged by rain and road debris. External storage also affects how the vehicle drives which should be considered. An inside vehicle wheelchair lift is specially constructed by the automotive companies and custom contractors so the unit takes up space at the rear or side of the vehicle. These units are more costly to purchase, but are more convenient for the user to access the vehicle.
Wheelchair lifts are excellent products to increase mobility and the pleasure of being able to go where you want to in relative ease and safety. Look to independent local sources to get funding for a wheelchair lift. Medicare does not usually pay for the lift but you can get help from local sources and certain vehicle manufacturers subsidize the purchase of their vehicles. Again, planning for the use of a product like this is essential to keep the costs down and be sure you buy the lift that provides the longest term benefit. The link below provides useful information about wheelchair lifts.