If you have an elderly parent who has difficulty getting up and down the stairs, then a stair lift may be a good addition to the home. These lifts are seated mechanical devices that use a track to move the chair up and down. While chair lifts may seem like standard devices, they actually come with a wide variety of different features. If you want the chair to be as safe as possible, then consider the device with the following accessories.
Stair lifts can run on two different types of power: electric and battery. If you choose an electric unit, a call box and electric wiring will come with the device. Electric wires will be run underneath the track of the lift and a plug on the end of the wiring can be secured into a socket. This type of system allows for easy access to electricity with the use of a three-pronged grounded plug. However, if your loved one's home experiences frequent power outages, then there may be a chance that they can become trapped on the chair if the electricity goes out suddenly.
You can avoid power failure issues if you invest in a chair lift that is battery powered. The battery used to power the chair lift is typically secured in the power module underneath the chair itself. You will need to flip the chair over and remove the bottom cover to install the battery. Most batteries will plug or snap into place.
If you decide to go with a battery powered unit for your loved one, then purchase rechargeable lead acid batteries for the device. Purchase two batteries so they can be switched out regularly. A regular non-rechargeable battery will last about one or two years with regular use. A rechargeable battery will last much longer and it will be able to go through around 200 to 300 charge and discharge cycles. You should know that the batteries should not be discharged completely though. This will put extra strain on the battery, so make sure to change batteries after about six months of regular use. You will want to fully charge the battery once it is removed. This will help to retain its strength over a long period of time. You also should store batteries in a garage, basement, or other area that remains around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. A lead acid battery kept at this temperature can last up to 10 years.
Stair lifts have a variety of safety features that keep the unit from moving before the occupant is ready. One popular safety feature is a device in the seat that senses weight. The weight will indicate that your elderly parent is sitting and the chair will be able to be moved up or down. However, accidents still can happen with a slip of the hand before the safety belt is secured. The chair may be activated before your loved one is ready. To prevent this sort of issue, make sure to invest in a chair that has the seat sensor, but also find a model with a key-control system.
A key-control chair lift requires the user to turn a key that is secured on the handheld control unit or on the chair itself. Afterwards, the control unit can be used to activate the up and down controls of the chair. If you think that your parent may forget to turn the key when using the chair, then opt for a lift that activates only when the seatbelt is latched. A foot rest indicator that senses the proper placement of the feet on the pad underneath the chair is a good idea as well.
If your elderly parent needs a lift chair, then there are many options you can choose from. Visit your local lift chair retailer, such as All-Star Lifts. Just make sure to choose a design that has battery power and key controls to ensure safety.