How To Operate Residential Wheelchair Lifts Safely

If you're a wheelchair user, you may very well have considered having a residential lift installed in your home. They can be a great choice and many people find them incredibly useful—but what should you do to ensure you're operating your personal lift system safely? Read on to learn a little more about getting the most out of your new residential wheelchair lift.

Make sure you always hit the brakes!

Even if you're using an enclosed lift with built-in smooth motion that doesn't jolt, it's important to secure your chair by hitting the brakes before the lift begins to move. It's easy to forget to do this, so try and make it second nature—using a moving lift with an unsecured chair is dangerous for you and potentially damaging to the lift. Even if you've never experienced a jolt when using your lift, should it experience technical difficulties, you wouldn't see them coming—and damage to you, your chair or the lift itself would be a further problem to deal with that you wouldn't welcome.

Don't use the lift when you're not in your chair.

If the lift you've chosen is designed specifically for wheelchair use, make sure you're always in your chair when you use it. These lifts aren't designed for people to stand up on and can be dangerous if you try—especially with an unenclosed shaft. If you don't generally use your chair at home, it may be worth having a seated lift installed instead—or keeping the chair secured inside the lift shaft and using it just to travel up and down in.

Ensure the buttons are installed at the right height for you.

People who don't use wheelchairs find it easy to forget that those who do often need things installed at a lower height—and that what that height is varies from person to person. Before the buttons are installed, make sure you've made it clear where on the wall and inside the lift you'd like them to be. Straining or bending to reach the buttons can be dangerous; you need to be able to operate your lift comfortably and with ease.

Practice with company before you try to use the lift alone.

The first couple of times you use the lift, make sure there's someone with you. This just means that you've got a chance to figure out how to use it properly without needing to worry about what you'll do should anything go wrong—and after that, your lift will give you the ability to get up and down the stairs without assistance.

A residential wheelchair lift may prove to be one of the best purchases you'll ever make—just so long as you're careful to use it safely and not endanger yourself, your chair or your household.