Elevator Archives - Lift and Accessibility Solutions

Architects have long debated how important a building’s design is. Some have come to the conclusion that the appearance of a building is just as important as its purpose, or perhaps even more so. Others hold the opinion that form must follow function- a drafty and leaky building will fail to adequately protect its occupants, regardless of its visual beauty. A related principle stands out either way: if the intended occupants of the building can’t access it easily, then the building has clearly outlived its usefulness. This is as true for individual houses as for grand civic structures.

All buildings are a means to an end- that of shelter from the elements- but there’s something special about a home. Most of us spend the majority of our time in our homes, and frankly, we’d rather be there than in the office, because home is where the heart is. It’s where family is, and where many of our best memories are made. It’s a place that we want to associate with rest and enjoyment.

Of course, we don’t remain the same during our entire lives. People grow and change, and adapt to new circumstances. Often our homes start to represent something different in the context of those changes. Buildings don’t simply adjust themselves in the way their occupants need. Many buildings that were once of great use to thousands of people are for this reason abandoned to the elements, but who wants such a fate for their beloved home? Anyone who has invested so much time and effort in the beautification of their home would hardly feel satisfied with such an end, even if the staircase has lately become more of a burden than a help.

Fortunately, human ingenuity has now made it easier than ever before to adapt a home to the changing requirements of life. Technologies like motorized chair lifts can bypass the steps of any staircase, regardless of shape. That key feature of a multistory home no longer need imply the wearing down of its user’s knees, or demanding the assistance of another resident. A more attractive but more design-intensive technology like a home elevator can accomplish the same useful purpose of improved accessibility, while adding a customized touch of architectural sophistication. Above all, they provide a home’s occupants with that cherished feeling of independence. Having outdoor steps turned into a ramp, installing swing away doors, widening doorways, lowering thresholds, and installing grab bars are also important and simple ways to adapt the home.

Our houses are, as one architect put it, “machines for living.” They should serve us, rather than wear us out. Even so, we feel attached to them, and we want them to be places where we can be happy and comfortable for many years. A proud and independent homeowner would therefore do well to consider the value of these adaptations that can help a house remain a home.

Wheelchair lifts should strongly be considered for installation when designing your home if you have any family members or friends who are either currently in a wheelchair, or may have difficulty climbing stairs. Businesses should also consider installing lifts for accessibility versus ramps or elevators. Lifts are cheaper than installing elevators and are visually more appealing than ramps.

What is a Wheelchair Lift?

A wheelchair lift is a mechanical platform designed to raise and lower, allowing an individual to enter or exit residences, businesses, and vehicles. These lifts are fairly customizable to your needs, and are similar to elevators, however the car is usually open and it takes constant pressure on the control button to operate the lift. Because the car is open, lifts can be installed indoors or outdoors, which makes your desired destination easily attainable.

Is a Wheelchair Lift a Good Idea for Your Home or Business?

If you use a wheelchair, moving freely around your house can be difficult and usually requires assistance when you want to get to a different level. Installing vertical lifts gives you freedom of mobility and helps you gain your independence. These lifts can be installed wherever there are stairs and can even be installed outside if you have a raised deck or porch. They are cost-effective, which makes them a cheaper alternative than an elevator, and they take up less space than ramps; wheelchair lifts are convenient and compact, offering more living space after installation than ramps would. Also, they require little renovation for your home. In addition, lifts provide a safe, smooth ride without having to leave your chair.

Wheelchair lifts are great options for churches, schools, group homes, and other small businesses to consider for easy accessibility for those who have trouble using stairs. As mentioned before, they are more affordable and require little renovation if you want to install one later on. Typically, lifts can reach heights of 14 feet and carry 750 pounds of weight. So how do you know if a lift is the right option? Well, if there isn’t enough room at the entrance for a ramp, lifts will work better since they take up less space. If your organization or business has a deck or stairs to gain access to the building, chances are you will need some form of wheelchair accessibility. Plus, if the building doesn’t have an elevator, and you need to carry heavy items from floor to floor, lifts come in handy.

For a long time, mankind has looked for new, efficient ways to make our lives easier. From the wheel to electricity, advances in industry and technology have enabled us to achieve what would have previously been thought impossible. One such invention that revolutionized transportation is the elevator. Taken for granted today, the elevator is something that allowed us to take to the skies; no longer were we limited to having buildings with only a couple floors. As the world’s population exploded, it was necessary for our survival to make taller and taller structures to hold us.

For the most part, elevators were a simplistic lift device, with some sort of counterweight to balance the load. It wasn’t until 1852 that Elisha Otis invented the safety lift, which implemented a device that would lock in place should the cables ever break down. In part due to the increased safety measures and better medical care, it didn’t take long before elevators were installed for personal use in the home.

For a long time, installing a lift in your house was a costly process, requiring a pulley system to be built and a full car and cables to be implemented. For this reason, home elevators were relegated to only the wealthy. However, as technology improves and adapts, putting a lift in your home is now a relatively reasonable expense. This is mostly in part because there is now a variety of options to choose from when deciding a lift for your needs. There are chair lifts, hydraulic lifts, pneumatic lifts, and the standard pulley system. Because of the variety of options, lifts are available where previously it would not have been an option. Many lifts can fit within a smaller space, allowing anyone to install an elevator, no matter what their situation.

Today, there are companies that can provide a simple tube lift for only a few thousand dollars. A company based in Argentina has perfected the pneumatic model, allowing a single unit to be installed quickly and relatively inexpensively. The elevator uses vacuum technology to ascend and descend the cab, making it quieter, smaller and more versatile than traditional lifts. As demand increases with the large amount of baby boomers reaching retirement age, the technology will only get better and less expensive. There could be a day when an in home lift could be as common as a fireplace.

For many people, especially the infirm or the elderly, getting around the house can be difficult. This can be further exacerbated in multi-story buildings, as climbing and descending a flight of stairs can be a risky proposition at best.

Fortunately, technology today has made in-home lifts affordable and practical to meet whatever needs you have. There are three types of lifts you can install in your house: a stair lift, a wheelchair lift, and a personal elevator. While each has its benefits, it’s important that you find the right fit and the right lift for your home.

Stair Lift

A stair lift is a seat that follows a track along your staircase. It is relatively inexpensive and allows the user to navigate easily from one floor to the next. A stair lift can be battery operated, which is useful if there is a power outage, or it can run off of the home’s grid. A stair lift is ideal for those who have good mobility already but just need something for traversing the stairs. Anyone with a cane or perhaps joint issues can benefit from a stair lift. If a person needs a wheelchair or a caregiver to accompany them, this type of lift is not ideal as they are usually only rated for one person, and carrying a wheelchair can be cumbersome or even impossible in some cases. Stair lifts can fit most staircases, and usually they are installed in separate pieces for multi-level stairs.

Wheelchair Lift

For anyone who requires the use of a wheelchair, this is an ideal type of lift. While it does require more planning and can cost much more than a stair lift, it does provide the necessary mobility for those who can’t walk by themselves. Typically a wheelchair lift is a mechanical device that raises and lowers between floors. It’s not as expensive as an elevator, but it does require more labor to install than a stair lift. If the user needs a caregiver to accompany them, however, a wheelchair lift may not be the right solution, as they are usually only rated for one passenger.

Elevator

For those who need a care provider to accompany them or who need to transport bulky items between floors regularly, an in-home elevator may be the best solution. While elevators typically are the most expensive and labor-intensive option, there are new types of lifts on the market that drastically reduce the time and cost to install. Pneumatic tube elevators are a single piece that can be easily installed and use air pressure to lift and lower passengers. Typically these are not rated for more than two people, and they can be an affordable solution to provide mobility.

No matter what your limitations, there are solutions out there to help you regain your independence. While these options may be a significant commitment, the ability to continue living your full life free of restraint is well worth the effort. Additionally, in many cases your insurance provider can assist with the cost of installing any mobility solution system. Here at Lift and Accessibility Solutions, we’ll work with you to make sure that all your needs are met. Limited mobility shouldn’t limit your quality of life.


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