Stair lifts are devices that are set on tracks that follow the line of the staircase. These are usually powered with batteries and have operation controls. A lift can be installed in the same day that it was purchased.
And when it is not needed anymore, it can be taken away and the staircase will bear very little evidence of it. There are four general types of stair lifts: "seated stair lifts", "standing stair lifts", "perching stair lifts", and "stair lifts with a wheelchair platform". A seated lift is the most common type found in homes. It is ideal for a person who manages to walk by himself but just cannot handle walking up and down the stairs, especially if the incline of the staircase is steep.
But a person using crutches may also use the seated type. As much as possible, such lifts must allow the person to use it without assistance from another person. A seated stair lift usually has a swivel chair and lift-up armrests to help the user easily negotiate transfers onto and off the seat. Seat belts will add to the safety of a seated stair lift. Standing stair lifts are also for people who are able to walk and stand by himself or with the aid of a walking stick, but cannot manage to go up and down the stairs by themselves These may also be useful for a person with a stiff leg, a leg in a cast, or a knee that cannot be bended. A standing lift is ideal, too, when the staircase is narrow.
Instead of seat belts, it must have guard rails for the userīs safety. A perching stair lift is like a standing type, but there is a small seat (or bench) in which the user may lean on, or perch on, while the whole lift moves up or down the staircase. This is ideal for persons who needed to support their back, but do not need to seat completely. A perching lift is also good for narrow staircases.
It has guard rails but no seat belts. A lift with a wheelchair platform is perfect for a handicapped who wants to be independent in going up and down the stairs. He does not have to get out of his wheelchair.
All he needs to do is roll into the platform, operate the stair lift, and then roll out again. Obviously, this type will occupy a lot of space and your staircase may not be wide enough for it. The platform, though, can be folded. All other types of stair lifts that are advertised just go by the name of their manufacturers and differ only in their features. For example, an exterior stair lift is a stair lift that can be used outdoors.
The author is a certified physiotherapist and lives in Germany. He has put together a website about stair lifts (Treppenlifter).