Published at Friday, 14 September 2018. Stair. By Elise Luthi.
At the same time, it isn’t practical for someone else in the household to carry the disabled person up and down stairs. Ask the mother of a baby or toddler about carrying a 30 lb. child up a staircase several times a day. Now imagine carrying the equivalent of at least four toddlers up and down the stairs. It would be a daunting challenge even for a fit, strong adult to carry a lightweight adult up the stairs. There are a number of household devices and products that help senior citizens maintain their independence for as long as possible, from simple things like glucose meters to chairs that help them rise to a standing position, to personal alarm systems worn on a belt. Stair lifts are a big expense, but they can add immeasurably to the quality of life of the person who has trouble with stairs, and to the quality of life to a caregiver or other member of the household who had been tasked with helping the disabled person navigate the stairs.
Stair lifts are devices that are attached to the treads of staircases to safely move someone who is elderly or disabled up or down the stairs. They consist of a track, usually made of aluminum, a chair attached to the track, and the electronic controls that make the chair move up or down the track. Stair lifts are powered by alternating current (AC), which is hooked up to the household electrical system, or with direct current (DC), which uses a battery that recharges from the household electrical system, and does not require use of home electricity to work properly.
While the maintenance of mobility in the event of a power outage is a huge advantage of a DC stair lift system, that advantage is tempered by the cost of replacing batteries every 12 to 18 months, which can run up to $100 a pop for most stair lift batteries. On the other hand, DC stair lifts make less of a demand on the home electricity system, meaning that electric bills will be somewhat lower for DC powered lifts. The batteries of a DC powered stair lift charge in one of two methods: station charging or the use of a charge strip. With station charging, permanent charging stations are positioned at each end of the rail. Charge strips allow the lift to charge at any point along the track. Today’s rechargeable batteries are reliable and hold a charge better than old models. The typical stair lift battery will stay charged through about 8 trips up and down the track, though it will vary based on how long the staircase is and how heavy the person it is transporting is.
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