What Is a Wheel Chair Lift?

There’s no doubt that wheelchairs revolutionized the ability of disabled and sick to be independent and mobile. Especially so the motorized wheelchair has become a staple for disabled adults to live full and healthy lives. As chairs become more complex and more mobile, the need for our buildings to adapt to the needs of disabled adults continues to decline. However, one thing that will always be needed for most wheelchair-bound adults is the use of a wheelchair lift.

In essence, a wheelchair lift is a mechanical mechanism that’s designed to lift a wheelchair and its operator above a step, rough terrain or incline. Wheelchair lifts usually rely on powered devices such as hydraulics and motors to lift the wheelchair and occupant. Not all wheelchair lifts are created equal. The minimum weight most can carry is 200 pounds and the maximum weight lifts can run up to 400 to 500 pounds (for larger chairs and/or occupants).

Not Just for Vans

Wheelchair lifts can be found on many different structures. Most people are familiar with the transportation wheelchair lifts that fit on minivans, full sized vans and buses. Wheelchair lift technology has increased so much that these useful devices can be installed on many other structures, including apartment buildings, stairways and even boats.

Many buildings, especially in Canada and America, are required to provide accessibility options for disabled adults. Many times stores and landlords choose to use ramps instead of wheelchair lifts because mechanical lifts require more maintenance and likelihood of mechanical trouble. Still, in places where ramps are impossible (such as a narrow stairwell or a high incline), wheelchair lifts provide accessibility options so that disabled adults and children can be included in everyday business and life. Today, disabled adults can live just as fulfilling and mobile lives as fully-abled adults.

Wheelchair Lifts in Vans

Wheelchair lifts are often the only option for disabled adults to use transportation- public or private. At a minimum, wheelchair lifts must be placed in a mini-van and come ready with security bolts to keep the wheelchair steady. For taller operators or heavy-duty wheelchair lifts, often a full sized van is necessary to support the lift and chair with an occupant.

Some wheelchair lifts are designed to lift only the chair. These are especially useful for smaller caretakers who cannot lift the chair into their vehicle for transporting the operator. While these systems are more light-duty and often less expensive, it requires some mobility by the operator to be wheelchair-independent. You can also search for used handicap vans on the market if a new van is not in the budget.

Cost of Wheelchair Lifts

The least expensive wheelchair lifts are those that only lift the chair. These light-weight and light-duty models start around $500 for vehicle models and run up to over $2000. The heavier ones that can lift larger chairs run more. The wheelchair lifts designed to also lift occupants are designed to support more weight and vary costs depending on purpose. Wheelchair lifts for homes can run from $5000 and up. Luckily, they are often reimbursed by disability claims and homeowners insurance.

Wheelchair lifts are useful for almost any situation where mobility assistance is required. Wheelchair lifts provide disabled adults with the chance to be as mobile and active as they want.

About the Author:  Nick Asensio lives in San Francisco with his wife Julia and their three children. Despite not being disabled himself, Nick has long had a passion for helping the disabled after growing up with a disabled parent. Visit his website for the very latest in news and offers for assisted living equipment for the disabled.

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