You may be wondering just exactly what is meant by outdoor stair lifts, but these are devices that provide people with disabilities and those with limited mobility to get up and down stairs that are located outdoors. They are in many respects similar to those you'd find indoors such as residential stairlifts but with better weatherproofing and are often more robust that the indoor home stair chair lift. This article takes a look at this variation of the device that helps thousands of people to access places they may not otherwise be able to access.
What Are Outdoor Stair Lifts?
Generally, outdoor stair lifts are sited on shorter flights of stairs rather than longer ones. This reduces the danger potential which becomes greater the higher the lift goes. They are often seen at the entrance to the home of a person with disabilities where the entrance door is above street level and can only otherwise be accessed by climbing a flight of stairs. This is to help them to get in and also out of their home more easily. Outdoor stair lifts have good weather proofing, to enable them to remain outdoors all year round.
The build quality of outdoor stair lifts is high and they are amply sturdy to operate in all weather conditions. The design means they consist of a ramp that is attached to the staircase, generally by means of sturdy metal brackets. To this ramp is attached a motorized chair which can be moved up and down as operator turns on the stair lift and this is operated by a simple lever. Once the operator reaches the top (or bottom) of the staircase, then they can get off the chair and go about their day. It is worth noting that some exterior stair lifts are of sturdier build than others, depending upon manufacturer and this will be reflected in the cost. Some units can be left outside in all weathers including hail and snow, while others require a covered surface or at least some kind of protection from the worst weather.
While stairlifts are a wonderful invention, they can turn out to be quite expensive to buy and install. For someone who is looking to purchase a stair lift to be installed outdoors, it is important that they compare it with the cost of installing a simple ramp if this is an option. That is because, sometimes a handicap ramp is a better option where the rise is not great and simplicity is preferred, whereas in other cases, for instance when there is not much room for a ramp to be fitted, or the person who needs it does not have to use a wheelchair, the installation of an external stair lift is a much better choice.
Another consideration is if the user does use a wheelchair and they require any assistance with getting in and out of their chair. A wheelchair user is often better off with a handicapped ramp if they do not have a helper to assist with transferring onto and off of the lift.
How Large Are Outside Stair Lifts?
The overall size of an outside stair lift varies depending on several factors. For instance, depending upon the size of the stairway they will be installed on, they can be almost any length. If the stairs go around corners or are curved, an outdoor stairlift can be fitted to accommodate. The general size for an average stair lift fitted outside is around four or so steps in length. The size of the actual chair will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they are generally large enough to accommodate a variety of figures. This is because it often happens that because their ability to exercise is limited, people with the kind of disabilities that mean they would need the use of a stair chair lift are often overweight.
The motor that drives the chair up and down the ramp is generally quite small and unobtrusive and is located below the chair. The chairs generally have padded arms for comfort and maximum support and in some models, a seat belt is also fitted.
The Benefits of Having a Stair Lift Installed Outside
An outdoor stair lift will allow its owner far more mobility combined with extra safety than they otherwise may have. They also provide the relatives of the owner peace of mind in the knowledge that a loved one is not at risk from falling while going up and down their external steps. Add to this the fact that the lift can remain outdoors for just about any length of time without being damaged by the elements.
If you are considering having one of these devices installed outside your home, it is a good idea to research several well known manufacturers and get recommendations from people you know that have already had them fitted. That way you are assured of getting the best quality outdoor stairlift for your money, which will provide you with many years of trouble free service and give you the ability to access your home in comfort and with the dignity that you deserve.
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