Tag Archives: stairlifts

Gadgets to Make Our Elderly Years Much More Pleasurable

The purpose of technology has always been to make the lives of humans easier. This means that if anything makes life harder, such as getting older, technology is what we can rely on to even the score. There are an increasingly large number of gadgets that seek to make the lives of the elderly easier in just about every category. This can stretch from moving up stairs, to reading the news. Here are a few examples.

Health Monitoring Devices

More and more of smartphone apps and individual portable or home devices are available that help you and your doctor to monitor your health and physical functions. These gadgets not only make life safer with chronic diseases but may also assist you in disease prevention. Blood pressure, blood sugar or simple heart-rate monitors are already available for home or portable use with smartphones and as these are always connected, they make it easier to log data, monitor and keep track of your health condition.

StairLifts

It’s a sad truth that something as simple as getting up the stairs can become a herculean task as you get older and your knees give out. Fortunately, modern innovations such as the stairlift has you covered. These devices can be a little confusing to figure out, but you can use a stairlift guide by Thyssen to make sure that you don’t injure yourself while maneuvering up and down the stairs. This way, you can simply sit in the chair, strap yourself in, and give your knees a rest. The lift will do the well, heavy lifting, while it powers you to the top of the stairs.

Even in situations where you could probably get up the stairs yourself, a lift is often a good choice anyway for the following reasons.

  • Takes pressure off your body. Putting less pressure on your knees will mean that they will work for potentially much longer, so you can keep walking around normally without pain.
  • Taking a lift will remove all the risk. Many people fall down the stairs every year and cause themselves serious injuries even when they aren’t elderly.
  • Keep your autonomy. While relying on a gadget to get you up the stairs can be off-putting, it’s often much less so than having to rely on other people. This usually means either having someone come over, which can be expensive, or having to go to a nursing home, which can be expensive and depressing.

Tablets

Another unfortunate effect of aging is that it can make it more difficult to see. Additionally, typing on a traditional keyboard can be hard on elderly fingers. This is where gadgets like iPads come in. Tablet computers like the iPad often have vibrant colors and big, easy to see touch screens with more intuitive interfaces than traditional computers. Additionally, many of them come with games that you can download for free that can help with keeping memory and critical thinking skills sharp. Some studies have shown that conditions like Alzheimer’s can be delayed through such exercises.

Exoskeletons

It’s probably the case that when you think gadgets for the elderly, the phrase robot exoskeleton isn’t the first thing that you think about. But no matter how farfetched this might seem, exokseleons for the elderly are quickly becoming a reality. These are metal braces that go on over the outside of the clothing that help reduce stress on joints. As a result, persons who have trouble walking for whatever reason will be able to continue their workout as normal due to the aid. After all, exercise can keep you healthy in other ways,and it’s rather unfortunate that joint problems force many elderly persons to miss out on the many cardio and other types of benefits of exercise due to unrelated aging problems. But this gadget will give the elderly the option of continuing their jogging and walking routines well into the future.

Technological innovations such as these will hopefully continue to steal back years for the elderly, allowing them to enjoy their lives for longer and longer as scientific understanding improves.

Mobility Device Options for the Elderly

Mobility is very important for the physical and emotional well being of the elderly. Apart from having the ability to move from place to place, being mobile gives them a fulfilling sense of freedom and independence both inside and outside the home.

Though seniors might be hesitant at first, you must let them understand that using assistive mobility equipment will better help them with their daily activities. In fact, appropriate mobility equipment can help seniors get on their feet, safely complete the activities they need to do, stay active, and maintain their leisure.

Nowadays, there are numerous mobility devices you can choose from. To know which best suits your elder loved one, here’s a closer glimpse of some devices:

Canes

These assistive devices are often the first to consider because they are light and do not need much room. The cane is used to steady those who are prone to falling and provides assistance to the senior by decreasing weight on the injured or weaker leg.

Canes come in a wide range of designs and a variety of handles based on the senior’s needs. Different types of grips and numbers of feet are available. People who need maximum weight bearing support is recommended to use the 4-point or quad cane. Some canes also double as seats, and traveling canes can be folded easily.

Walkers

For seniors who need more assistance, walkers are recommended. Walkers are designed to provide assistance if balance problems cannot be corrected by canes. They provide more stability than the latter and decrease the senior’s leg exertion. However, because they are heavier and bigger, they cannot be used on stairs and require more room to maneuver. The common types of walkers include the standard, two-wheeled and four-wheeled walkers.

Crutches

Crutches are used to take weight off one leg, partially or completely. They are designed to assist those with leg injuries in standing and walking. There are two types: armpit or forearm. This type of mobility device is not often recommended for seniors as using it requires good balance and strength. This is used mostly by people suffering from arthritis.

Wheelchairs

For seniors who have almost lost all of their ability to walk, wheelchairs can restore their sense of independence. There are many types available but the traditional one has two large wheels in the back and a pair or smaller wheels in the front. Through the years, wheelchairs have evolved from being heavy to being lightweight.

Manual wheelchairs made of aluminum are a good option for active individuals. On the other hand, transport chairs are light wheelchairs and usually pushed by a caregiver. These types are easy to maneuver and easy to lift in and out of a car. Lastly, motor-operated wheelchairs run at 5-25 mph and are designed for those with very weak muscles.

Mobility scooters

Electric mobility scooters are similar to motor-operated wheelchairs but are better used outdoors than indoors. They are ideal for people who find it difficult to walk distances and those with enough upper body strength to reach forward and operate the steering mechanism found in the front. Most people opt for this because they look less like a wheelchair and more like a motorcycle.


If you have more questions, it is appropriate to seek the assistance of your doctor, occupational physiotherapist or other healthcare provider.


About the author:
Melissa Page is a passionate writer based in San Diego, California. She currently works for a company that sells wheelchair accessories and mobility scooter covers that will make your life easier and equipment last longer. When she is not writing, she plays bowling with her friends.

 

The History And Evolution Of The Stairlift

 

As people age simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs becomes increasingly difficult.  Now with modern technology to aid you in the form of stairlifts, you can overcome the fear and risk of falling down stairs.  It may surprise you, however, to learn that stairlifts can be dated all the way back to the 16th century.  Yes, in the late sixteenth century none other than the infamous Henry VIII can be tied to the history of the stairlift.  Among the many fascinating things Henry VIII possessed was a ‘chair that goeth up and down’.  Having sustained a nasty injury jousting in 1536 Henry VIII likely suffered from brain trauma that contributed to his obesity.  Along with his brain trauma he also had a nasty wound in his calf that never healed properly.  With these jousting injuries causing him pain and adding to his ever increasing waistline, Henry VIII needed a great deal of assistance getting around his palaces.  He had several wheeled chairs for general movement, but for stairs something else was needed.  Henry VIII had a chair attached to a platform that his servants hauled up stairs with block and tackle.  Thus, the first ever recorded stairlift was born.

Not all of us are wealthy enough to pay an entire team of servants to get us up and down a flight of stairs safely.  Fortunately, for those of us with slightly smaller funds than Henry VIII there are now mechanical stairlifts to do the job.  An American engineer designed the first modern stairlift for an ailing friend in the 1920s.  C.C. Crispen, who was a self-taught engineer, was saddened by the fact that his friend was confined to the upper floor of his house while recovering.  He decided to design a chair that climbed stairs and so in 1923 he built the first stairlift in his basement.  It ran on regular house current was used initially by many polio sufferers.  Crispen went on to build home elevators and wheelchair lifts.

Around this time Leslie Stannah was also in America.  This British engineer worked for his family company that had been founded in 1867 and built mechanical hoists and cranes in London.  Leslie Stannah moved to America in 1925 to further his engineering skills before he returned to England to work with other lift manufacturers.  By 1975 Stannah was designing and building its first line of stairlifts.  In 1976 the first curved rail stairlift was invented.  It operated with a single tube rail.  In 1997 Stannah introduced the revolutionary concept of twin rails that is still used in curved stairlifts today.

Henry VIII may have been able to afford a ‘chair that goeth up and down’ powered by servants, but you can rent a battery powered stairlift that runs for three years without any grumbling.  Unlike servants you can rent stairlifts for as long as you need them and return it when you done using it.  You can even sell your stairlift back if you have decided to buy one and no longer need it.  Plus, Henry VIII probably didn’t have buttons to push on his chair and who doesn’t like pushing buttons?  So the next time you use your stairlift you can sit tall knowing that you are a part of a long history dating back to Henry VIII himself.

Now you can have a Stannah stairlift with all the most modern features.  The footrests and armrests can be folded out of the way.  For safety the stairlift comes with a seat belt and sensors that can detect obstructions on the stairs.  Stannah stairlifts are battery powered and will work even after power has been lost.  The battery also means that the stairlift is quiet and incredibly smooth when operating, much better than being hauled up the stairs by servants.

Stairlifts are hugely beneficial to the lives of the elderly and they can give great happiness and independence to those who need it best. They are always growing in technology and continually creating and producing new models to give the safest, most effective and best mobility for the elderly stairlift user. Renting a stairlift is an increasingly popular and financially stable option in which you can give the lift back after a set time period. We also design and produce bespoke stairlifts to fit your needs as well as to fit your staircase.

How to Save Money on Stairlifts

Though this article focuses on stairlifts much of it can also be applied to other mobility aids such as scooters and wheelchairs particularly the section on applying for grants and funding.

Affordable Stairlift For Elder Care

While not in the same price range as a car or a house, stairlifts are still pricey, most models cost between $2,800 to $4000. This is just for a standard straight stair. Longer or unusually shaped stairs will cost even more to fit. To make matters worse many of the people who are in need of stairlifts are often financially vulnerable as retirement funds and pensions are stretched even more than normal these days.

However there are number of options to ease the pain if you do need a lift. The first is to look in to buying a reconditioned stairlift. In much the same you might buy a second hand car, reconditioned stairlifts often offer the same quality as new stairlifts for a significant reduction in price up to a third in some cases. So long as you buy from a reputable supplier then it offers a great way to save money without sacrificing comfort and ease of mind. Most suppliers will conduct a twenty point check to ensure that the lift is just as safe as a new one. (It is also greener as it means that there is no need to build another new stairlift with all resources that entails.)

If you do decide to go for a reconditioned stairlift then it is worth checking the age as it is often hard to find spare parts for models over two years or more. It can also be harder to get a decent warranty so make sure your supplier will give you a warranty for at least year to cover you for any unexpected problems.

It might also be worth considering renting rather than buying a lift. For example if you want one while you are recovering from an operation. This will spread the cost out and mean that if you decide that you no longer need or want it then it should be simple to get it taken away. The main disadvantage of doing this is that most companies only rent lifts for straight stairs. This is mainly due to the cost of installing a custom rail for curved stairs.

Second it really is worth shopping around. I doubt I need to tell you this, but when parting with this much money for a device that you will use every day you don’t just look at prices. Look for companies which offer good customer service, including after sales. If you have any friends with stairlifts ask them about their experiences, particularly any problems they may have had. With any luck you will be able to find a supplier who doesn’t cost the earth but also offers a good level of customer service so that you can be sure any problem do get fixed quickly.

Third look for grants and loans to help you pay. There are lot of organizations out there that will offer financial aid for buying a stairlift. For example in the US the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs are amongst several agencies that can help you buy a mobility aids such as stairlifts. In the UK Disabled Facilities Grants can contribute up to £30,000 towards helping a person have greater mobility in and around their home. There are also a range of charities such as age related and muscular dystrophy charities that may have programmes to help towards the cost of stairlifts.

The exact amount depends a lot upon their funds. The exact contribution you can be given in each of these cases will depend both upon your needs and your own personal funds. For example if you are a millionaire with a slight limp then I doubt you will get much aid, whereas if you’re living off a state pension and have advanced arthritis then it will be a lot easier to get funding. In addition if you have done your research and are applying for funding towards a reconditioned stairlift then it should simplify matters more.

So if you are considering a stairlift don’t let money put you off. It may be a significant investment, but the resources and the support are out there to help you. Ask your friends and family for help researching options. In fact despite what I said at the start it is similar to buying a car or a house, you have to shop around, consider second hand options and look for financial aid. You also have to be careful and ensure you buy from reputable suppliers.