While wheelchairs are very versatile and many can be made to be used off-road, there are still many obstacles that can hinder a wheelchairs movement. One of the most common and hardest obstacles for a person in a wheelchair is to overcome the staircase.
Some people who use manual wheelchairs are able to successfully descend stairs, but this can be dangerous and requires a high level of athletic aptitude. For most it is not possible and if you are in an electric wheelchair, then you can not safely do this, so you will have to find another way around the stairs. For the stairs in your home, a vertical platform lift is often the best device to use, because it can allow you to safely use the stairs.
Vertical platform lifts are very similar to elevators. They are completely self contained units and are much less expensive than a residential elevator would be. A vertical platform lift can also be installed without too much home construction or structural changes to the home, but do require a strong base made out of wood or concrete. Most frequently you see these lifts on the front of a house, which is why they are commonly referred to as porch lifts.
Your average porch lift is capable of supporting well over 600 pounds. This means that you will rarely be limited to only allowing one person to ride on the lift or worry about exceeding the weight capacity. It is important to consider the weight of your mobility vehicle though, because many mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs weigh more than 200 pounds though, so you will want to consider the weight of the person who will be using the porch lift as well as the weight of their mobility vehicle.
Porch lifts are very popular in commercial settings because they are often an easy and inexpensive way to make a building ADA compliant. Portable lifts are also very popular, especially in churches and schools. These models are not permanently installed and can be set up or moved in only a few minutes. Usually these lifts are not able to support as much weight or lift as high as other lifts though, but most support around 550 pounds.
Stairs can be hard to overcome if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter user, but don’t forget that devices such as Vertical Platform Lifts can make your life much easier.