Installing a home wheelchair lift can make it easier for elderly and disabled members of the family to move from one floor to another without enlisting assistance every time. There are many lift options if you're looking to install one in your home, but not each one will be suited for your needs. The following are the most important factors to bear in mind when selecting your wheelchair lift:
House design and dimensions
There are two main dimensions you should have when shopping: the track length of the stairwell from top to bottom and the width, tread and height of steps. You may measure yourself or have the company's technicians do the measuring for better results.
If you opt to do it yourself, have someone help you, and take each measurement twice to be certain about accuracy. Start at the top of the stairs and extend the tape downstairs ensuring that each step's edge is touched by the tape until you reach the bottom landing. Measure the width of the stairwell from the top landing and bottom landing to the stair-wall, as well as the clearance distance (distance between end of landing and nearest door or wall).
Additionally, the lift shouldn't occupy the whole stairwell; there should be enough space for foot traffic. If you don't have enough space to have the lift open at all times, consider a model whose carriage seat can curl around the top or bottom edge of the steps when not in use, leaving the steps for other users.
The weight capacity needed will determine the right size for the lift. If you need to carry heavy patients or the lift will be used often, e.g. by multiple persons in the home, consider installing a heavy-duty lift instead of the standard lift. Heavy duty lifts have wider seats and must be installed in wider stairwells. If you have a tall user, then you should also consider the seat depth.
Staircases can be either curved or straight, and this largely determines the type of lift that can be installed. Lifts for straight staircases cannot manoeuvre around bends, and hence are ideal if you have a single flight of stairs. Curved lifts are able to manoeuvre around corners and can also move in reverse direction as well as across landings if needed. Because of this navigability, such lifts are more expensive, since they have to be custom designed for your specific staircase. If you cannot afford the custom-built curved lift, you can opt to install two straight lifts, but this is only possible if the middle landing has sufficient room to allow for transfer of the user from one seat to the other.