In the past, wheelchair users have had limited choice as far as housing is concerned. It is unfortunate that their disability has not only limited their freedom of movement, but also their access to the same choices that their able bodied peers make.
Traditional two storey houses were seemingly out of reach for wheelchair users that wanted to make the most of all aspects of their home because they were effectively confined to one floor. However, technology took over and with various inventions came the freedom that the disable deserve to enjoy just as much as anyone else. First came the stair lift, and then came the residential wheelchair platform lift.
Accessibility And Freedom
Residential wheelchair platform lifts are designed to take an individual in a wheelchair from one floor to another. It is a simple concept, but one that is truly effective in liberating an individual within his or her own home.
The existing residential platform lifts are only designed for installation in a two-storey home and cannot travel through any more floors than that. However, it is possible to have more than one lift in a home. The only catch is that you have to have your home evaluated to make sure that it is structurally sound enough to be able to take more than one lift.
Suitability For Your Home
A residential wheelchair lift moves vertically to lift an individual wheelchair user from floor to floor. They are quite small, just big enough to fit one wheelchair in, and can be left waiting on either floor when they are not in use.
They are operated through a control on the side of the lift or via a handheld control. Their ease of use, though, is not in doubt when it comes to assessing suitability. Instead, it is your home that must be scrutinized in order to judge whether or not it would be wise to get one.
Most companies offering residential wheelchair platform lifts for sale will usually send an expert out to assess your home and then also install it for you so, in effect, there is no DIY required on your part. You may want to think about where you would like the lift placed before the engineer does come out though.
If you don’t have a preference, they will choose the best place for you. A wheelchair platform lift is usually placed in the corner of a room, but it can be standalone if necessary, as it does not need a wall to function correctly.
Obstacles To Installation
If you own a house with small rooms then a residential wheelchair platform lift may not be an option. You do need to have unrestricted access to the lift you would need the space to manoeuvre on and off it when necessary. If your home is old, you may also have problems because the lift is dependent on having an aperture in the ceiling of the ground floor room for obvious reasons.
If your house is structurally unable to take what is effectively a hole in the ceiling then you may want to look into another option. Similarly, if your home has ceiling beams than an engineer may be reluctant to install a lift. Not only would removing the beams upset the balance of the home and cause structural weakness, it will also prove to be a time-consuming job removing them.
Before contacting a company about having a residential wheelchair platform lift installed in your residence, use the above tips to assess your own home yourself. The rules are common sense in many ways and using them yourself will save you time and money because an engineer may charge you for their services, even if he or she recommends that you should not have a lift fitted. Platform lifts are wonderful things, but not if they will cause your house to collapse so always follow guidelines when weighing up your options.