Being safe at home isn’t just a baseball thing. It’s a fundamental ideal. We expect our homes to be a refuge where we find shelter, security, and comfort from the hassles and hardships of the world. Unfortunately, illness, injury or age-related changes that impact mobility can transform the familiar turf of your home into a dangerous place, especially if your home has staircases that connect multiple levels. A recent study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that on average, more than one million Americans are treated in emergency departments for stair-related injuries each year. To make matters worse, the rate and frequency of stair-related injuries are increasing.
When Stairs Won’t Work: Mobility Solutions at Home
It’s no secret that taking the stairs if you cannot safely manage them is a threat to your health and well-being. Some people deal with this reality by moving to a one-story home. Others respond by restricting themselves to the main level of their homes. However, technology provides other options that are certainly worth exploring if you want to remain in the home that you love and age in place.
The first idea that occurs to many people who hope to avoid climbing stairs is a ramp, but proportions can present a real problem. Consider this: To comply with the guidelines set by the Americans With Disabilities Act, ramps should have a maximum slope of 1:12. That means that for every 1 inch of rise, you’ll need 1 foot of ramp. While this may work in exterior applications or if you only have a step or two between rooms, few homes have enough space to make a ramp a feasible alternative to a traditional staircase.
When you’re unwilling or unable to sacrifice the square footage needed for a lengthy ramp, a wheelchair lift may be the perfect fit for your space. Featuring vertical platforms that lift or lower users from one floor to another, their name can be a bit misleading. While many of these lifts are designed to accommodate someone in a wheelchair, passengers don’t have to be wheelchair-bound to enjoy the benefit of this technology. Anyone who is unable to climb stairs independently can use them. In fact, many of these lifts come with fold-down seats that allow users to ride in comfort as the motorized platform smoothly transports them between levels. Some units are situated in a cabinet that is generally placed alongside the stairs. These can be enclosed or open and feature platforms in a wide array of sizes.
Other wheelchair lifts utilize the same path as the existing staircase. This type of lift generally folds up when not in use so that those who wish to use the staircase can do so. When shopping for a wheelchair lift, you’ll find a variety of sizes, colors, and styles, so you can find a model that suits almost any space. You’ll also want to look for special features like a battery backup, obstruction sensors, and child safety features.
A home elevator presents another viable solution when you want to ascend or descend without having to take the stairs. Installing one not only makes your home safer but also increases its value by as much as 10 percent. It also gives you a unique chance to flex your design muscles and envision your perfect elevator. With a custom home elevator, you can choose the cab, fixtures, drive system and finish that fits both your needs and your sense of style.
Are you concerned about mobility issues? Serving homes in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Nevada. A+ Elevators & Lifts is ready to help you find the perfect solution to your staircase dilemma. We’re a premier manufacturer and provider of high-end custom home elevators and lifting devices. Our team of skilled professionals will be happy to educate you about the many options available and how they can be integrated into your home. Contact us today to learn more.