Stairlifts offer those with limited or reduced mobility a viable, smooth and reliable way to enjoy the entirety of their home. This is a hugely understated benefit because it essentially allows those users to be independent within the comfort of their own home which is very important for self-esteem, autonomy and mental health.
Stairlifts also mean that those living with mobility issues don’t need to completely re-route their life to move into accessible accommodation.
For all of their benefits Stairlifts are complex pieces of machinery, after all they are tasked with transporting the full weight of a human body safely up many flights of stairs via a rail. It is therefore very important that the necessary safety precautions are taken to safeguard your wellbeing and the wellbeing of others as well as the stairlift itself. So what best practices should you abide by in order to remain safe?
Strapping In Securely
The first and foremost important rule when it comes to stairlifts is to always strap yourself into the chair whether you are going up or down without fail. Every year we hear of many cases of serious falls amongst stairlift users because they have fallen into bad habits by not strapping themselves into their seats securely. Throughout the course of a stairlift’s journey, the individual is moved with a sideways force which makes having a solid and grounded centre of mass absolutely essential. Many first time buyers of stairlifts in Stoke-On-Trent often ask about the safety of stairlifts and the reality is that strapping in ensures 100% user safety and wellbeing.
Although most chairs contain armrests as fixtures to hold on to, you can never account for the times where you may be leaning in a certain direction which could cause you to go off balance. It should come as no surprise that the risks of having a fall mid-stair fall can be fatal – the right angles on stair corners can easily bruise tissue and break bones. The slope-like nature of staircases means that anyone who has the misfortune of falling down one will tumble down faster and harder as gravity pulls.
Prevent Rail Obstruction
In order for stairlifts to function effectively, the chair must be able to travel up the full length of the wall rail without being obstructed by any objects or clothing. If the latter occurs then the stairlift could jam leaving you stuck mid staircase. If you are living with lowered mobility then being left stranded in the middle of a staircase is not a situation to be in as getting back down comes with its own risks of injury and falls not to mention intense stress.
The added consequence of a jam as a result of an obstruction means that key areas of your house such as bathroom and bedroom will be out of reach until an engineer makes it to the property. Make sure if possible that someone can clear your stairways of things like pet toys, children’s toys and anything else that may have been left on the stairwell. In addition, make sure that all items of clothing are not dangling over and causing any potential jams before you travel either up or down.
Add Cushioning To Make Chair Comfortable And Avoid Aches
It is important that your stairlift chair is as accommodating and comfortable as possible. Affordable Mobility are the most well-known dealers of Stannah Stairlifts and can attest to the excellent quality and comfort of their chairs. Like with most household fixtures, people like to add their own touches to make things more comfortable for themselves and we have seen individuals employ extra cushioning and upholstery additions.
This is a nice touch and it also means that by adding extra cushioning to your discrepancy, you are safeguarding your back and posture. We would however advise against adorning your stairlift chair with things like throws as they have the potential to obstruct the rail mechanism (see previous point).
Only Take One Person At A Time – Don’t Go Over Weight Limit!
You should be aware that the rail upon which the chair travels on is rooted in your wall using a trail of hard-wearing metal brackets. When you add the weight of a person to the equation, the rail has a lot of weight to cope with and whilst it can cope with a single person, it is not designed to take multiple people.
We recall one case in recent memory involving a client who had requested a repairs engineer for a stairlift fault. The client in question had been entertaining his grandchildren for the afternoon and decided to hold two of them on his lap in order to take them upstairs to the bathroom. Unfortunately, this overloaded the weight capacity on his curved stairlift and caused the rail track to bend rendering the stairlift inoperable. Curved staircases have a weight limit of 21 stone so it is advisable to be mindful of this restriction. In addition, carrying extra persons is also very unsafe as they cannot strap in securely.
Make Sure Your Stairlift Has Reliable Power Backup!
For those with mobility issues, a stairlift becomes an essential functional component of the household as it facilitates travel to the upper areas of their properties. So what happens when the unthinkable occurs and for whatever reason (a power outage or electrical fault for example) your house is left without electricity? The good news is that today’s modern stairlifts are not connected to the mains but are powered by a high-performance battery pack which charges when the stairlift is not in use. This means that at any given time the stairlift will operate even if there is a power outage at your property.
When it comes to battery packs you cannot afford to take any chances as they are the driving force responsible for your stairlift operating safely. As a safety precaution, you must ensure that your unit is fitted with a reliable battery cell which can retain large amounts of capacity and doesn’t lose energy. This is quite a technical ask so it’s best to enlist the expertise expert engineers by signing up to a planned stairlift maintenance plan.