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At its simplest, stair lift operation is a two-step process: sit down and press the control button. While seniors can find numerous residential stair lift models touting a variety of features, all of these mobility devices include several core mechanisms and functionalities that work the same regardless of the manufacturer. By adhering to sound safety, operational and precautionary measures, seniors can reduce their risk of falls as well as the financial expenses related to stair lift maintenance and repairs.

This guide provides detailed instructions for every step involved with safe stair lift operation, as well as important considerations and things to look out for.

Pre-Ride Check

Before sitting on the lift, the first thing seniors should do is verify that the equipment is connected to power. Ideally, the stair lift’s power supply will be connected to a surge protector to guard the equipment’s circuitry against damages due to electrical spikes. While essentially every modern lift is equipped with a backup battery, it’s better to save it for unexpected situations like power outages rather than burnt circuits.

Next, seniors should make sure that the chair is completely unfolded with its seat, armrests and foot supports in their fully extended position. Additionally, the chair needs to be in one of its locked positions to prevent potential falls or injuries caused by any abrupt or unexpected swiveling.

Riding the Lift Safely

With the chair stable and the lift connected to power, seniors are ready to take a seat. Once a comfortable position is found, they can fasten the safety belt and change the seat into its locked riding position.

To go up or down the stairs, seniors only need to press the control button in the desired direction of travel. Upon reaching the end of the track, users can expect to hear a beeping sound indicating that it’s safe to stand up.

Exiting the Stair Lift

Getting off of the stair lift is basically the same process as getting in, except reversed. After unlocking and rotating the chair from its riding position to its entry and exit position, seniors can unfasten the safety belt and exit the chair.

Safely out of the stair lift’s chair, it’s recommended to fold the arm and footrests as well as the seat to eliminate any tripping hazards.

Other Common Features and Their Operation:

  • Key switch: The key switch operates as an on-or-off mechanism, preventing the stair lift from moving unintentionally due to someone accidentally pressing a button or switch.
  • Powered seats and footrests: Powered footrests and seats provide an additional level of convenience, particularly for individuals with limited strength and flexibility. These features are usually activated by buttons or switches located near the seat and armrests. The footrest movement may also be physically connected to the seat’s movement. With motorized seats, seniors can change the chair’s position from riding to entry and exit by pressing the appropriate button. The process of operating lifts with these features is identical to those with manual adjustments.
  • Wall Controls: If seniors find themselves on the opposite floor of their stair lift, wall controls allow them to bring the lift to their level.

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