Your home is your haven, but it can become a daily challenge with mobility issues. There are various changes and adaptations that can make life easier, more convenient and more comfortable. Thanks to enhanced design and technology, home lifts are more accessible than ever. Here’s a look at the basics of lifts, their benefits and some key considerations.
Why Choose A Home Lift?
A lift enables you to stay in the comfort of your own home when stairs become a problem. Rather than feeling you have to move and then restrict yourself to a one floor property, a lift can keep you and/or your family independent and safe. While often often associated with the elderly or those with wheelchairs, lifts can also be beneficial for anyone with a disability or chronic condition that makes stairs difficult, dangerous, exhausting or painful.
It’s important to think about your future needs and how your current condition may change further down the line, too. This is also something worth keeping in mind if you’re moving home and feel a domestic lift may at some point, if not now, be beneficial or even a necessity for a property with more than one floor.
Sadly, it’s been reported that only 7% the housing stock in England is visitable (so not even liveable) by someone with a disability. Making adaptations is therefore often a requirement after someone has moved in, be that with safety rails, lifts or ramps.
Lifts can accommodate people and any equipment you may have, whether that’s a walking frame or a wheelchair. It also means you can easily take other things upstairs with you, from suitcases and shopping bags, to the vacuum and laundry baskets.
Residential lifts are far easier to install these days, often requiring less in the way of any structural changes or remodelling. They can be conveniently placed or neatly tucked into a corner of the home. Designs are contemporary, compact and streamlined, installed either next to the staircase or ‘through floor’ in another part of the home.
Home lifts can be very smooth and quiet, gliding between floors with minimal disturbance. Far more sleek than many public ones I’ve been in! They can come with a key or electronic fob to switch off the lift when not required to prevent misuse and ensure the safety of others in the house. With certain lifts, it’s possible to have an internal communications system inside, so should there be any issues while you’re in it you can connect directly to the provider and seek assistance. This is also why it’s important to choose a provider that offers a suitable warranty and helpline for any queries or concerns about problems because while they shouldn’t happen it’s still something you want to know you have support for if they do.
They’re easy to use and made to measure both to your needs and your property, with the ability to customise aspects like the size, functionality and style. Some lifts can be ordered as ‘ready made’ units with typical installation between 2 to 3 days. Where these are possible, they can minimise the disruption and building works required.
The home domestic lifts on the market currently can be surprisingly space-efficient, being of minimal intrusion to your home. They’ll also typically have straightforward application to work from the household electricity, so they just need to be plugged in.
Whether you want it small enough to fit inside a wardrobe or big enough for a few people and a wheelchair, there will be a design for all requirements. Lifts can operate between two floors, taking you up one flight of stairs, or up several levels in larger properties.
Choosing A Lift
You may have decided a home lift could be for you, at which point you’re faced with narrowing down the options. There are various aspects to consider, such as:
- The size of the lift and what space is required for it
- The aesthetic style
- A lift’s functionality and features
- The lead time for quotation and installation
- The rated load, ie. people capacity, weight and wheelchair allowance
- The safety features
- Any associated costs for installation such as building works
- The lift company’s customer service and reputation
- The maintenance and after sales support available
I wish anyone requiring a lift could easily have one installed. That’s not always going to be the case, either due to property restrictions or finances. Do your research, see what financial support may be available and gather quotes to help you or your loved one decide.
While lifts are suitable for many homes, there will be some restrictions. For example, lifts require an appropriate amount of space, with the footprint for the lift itself plus headroom at each floor to factor in.
Much like a hot water boiler, lifts also need servicing. It’s often recommended they be serviced twice a year and the provider that installs your lift will be able to advise on what’s included in your quote (ie. first year maintenance and service is often as standard) and what additional service packages may be available. Many providers will have a maintenance package, for example a package to include two services annually to test, lubricate and perform safety checks.
Steps To Give Your Life A Lift
- Do your research – The internet is a great place to start, so look at general searches, lift company websites, reviews, product specifications.
- Speak to your occupational therapist (OT) if you have one to discuss your needs and see what thoughts or suggestions they may have.
- Home visit – A lift company can do a home visit to assess your needs and your property. They’ll be able to offer advice on placement and features, explain the process and discuss your options.
- Quotation – After a home visit and specifying the details of the lift you want, you’ll receive a quotation, which should be a no-obligation cost breakdown.
- Works and installation – Any building works, if necessary, will be undertaken and the lift installed. You should be given a demonstration and all paperwork. They’ll make sure you’re happy with the lift and inform you of the warranty and further support available.
As lifts have improved in aesthetics and functionality, so has their accessibility. They’re not as exclusive or as restricted in installation, meaning more people with mobility issues may be able to benefit from one without extensive hassles or the need for significant property remodelling. A lift can help individuals and their families to live independently and safely as they glide in style.
Is a home lift something you would have ever considered before? Could you or someone you know benefit from a lift?
[ This is a collaborative post written by myself ]