Stair Safety and Caring for the Elderly


Those that are mobility challenged and have difficulty likely are at a much higher risk of a fall. Of all of the areas in a home, the staircase is one of the most, if not the most, dangerous areas. This is one of the reasons that people install stair lifts onto their staircase.

A stair lift is special sort of helper that carries people up the stairs. The individual can simply sit down in a chair, which will then move slowly along a track attached to the staircase. In this manner, the occupant is carried up the stairs, greatly reducing the chance that a fall will occur.

Preventing falls is exceptionally important, because falls can have far reaching physical and emotional effects on a senior. Disorders like osteoporosis can cause the bones to become much more brittle, so even small short falls can result in a serious injury. The falls can also reduce a senior's confidence, so it is imperative to prevent falls from occurring.

The stair lift is actually a pretty old device; well at least the concept is, dating back to the nineteen twenties. It was developed by a man who wanted to find a way to help his wheelchair bound neighbor. The stair lifts of today are of course much more advanced, but they share an overall design that is similar in some ways to this first early stair lift.

The metal track, along which the chair moves, is usually made out of lightweight aluminum, which while very lightweight and easy to handle, is also incredibly strong. The track is in most cases secured to the steps of the staircase, but sometimes it will be attached to the wall instead. Usually it is only attached to the wall if the staircase is very narrow.

The chair makes up the part of the stair lift that is called the car. This contains the motor and, if it is a battery lift, the car will also contain the batteries. In some instances, it might not be medically possible to use a chair, so it will be replaced by a small platform. Lifts that use a platform in place of a chair are called perch lifts. The rider will remain perched on the platform as they are carried up the stairs. This type of lift requires a lot more balance though, so usually it is not a good choice for most people, with the stair chair being a better option.

Stair lifts can also be classified by how their power source. DC Powered Lifts utilize a rechargeable battery, which means if there is a power disruption, the lift will continue working. AC Powered Lifts on the other hand do not have batteries, so if the power goes out, the lift will stop working. They are a little bit less expensive, but they will not work if the home loses power.

Those that use these devices are better able to protect against falls and also allow full access to the home, without sacrificing independence.

Daryl Lahnker knows that a fall on the stairs can be very serious. Devices like the stair lifts have been used for many years now as a means of increasing safety and reducing risks. There are, however, other means of preventing senior falls, which you can learn more about at the Stair Lift Guide.

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-- Daryl Lahnker