Mobility equipment for people with disabilities is fast becoming one of the best selling items in the market. This is attributed mostly to the desire of disabled people to live a relatively normal life. Furthermore, various legislative measures have put into focus the needs of handicap people in terms of transportation and mobility.
Numerous adaptive transportation and mobility systems cater to the specific needs of both senior and handicap people. The handicap chair (sometimes referred to as a handicap chair lift) is one innovation which provide support to the physically challenged. Before running out to Planet Mobility, USA Mobility, or similar establishments that look after the needs of the disabled, it is important to have a better understanding of this type of adaptive mobility system. This page answers some frequently asked questions about the topic.
What is a handicap chair lift?A handicap chair lift is one of the accessories that help people with disabilities or wheelchair bound handicaps to move to an upright position. Considered as one of the more valuable mobility aids for the handicapped, it is operated via remote control or hand held control systems to gently lift the disabled person's body either to a standing or sitting position without exerting much effort.
How does a handicap chair lift function?The electric motor serves as the main power source of the handicap chair. It is responsible for rising or leaning forward the support structure of the device. The chair lifts to approximately 45 degrees to allow the person with disability to position their feet on the ground without straining their backs.
How does such portable equipment deliver comfort to the disabled?Putting the handicap chair lift in its highest seating position allows the disabled to securely rest his lower body against the raised seat. This motion will allow the handicap to slowly slide into a seated motion to relieve any pressure on his hips, lower back, arms, and knees. For people with weak lower body or are disabled from the waist down, it serves as a support mechanism for comfort.
Does the handicap chair work in combination with other adaptive mobility devices?Yes. If you have a stair lift installed in your home, the handicap chair can be used to move you to where ever you want to go. It can be easily attached to the stair lift for added mobility. Once you get on top or at the bottom of the stairs it provides you with additional support and balance.
How is the operation of the handicap chair controlled?Every handicap chair lift has an installed control panel that is designed for simple operation. Usually made up of two buttons which control when the chair will be raised or lowered, its operation is almost similar to the up and down buttons of an elevator. More advanced models make use of computer chips that controls the movement and angle of the headrest while controlling the footrest independently.
Does it provide adequate cushioning?Conventional handicap chair lifts are similar to wheelchair seats but have thicker pads compared to a wheelchair cushion. It is more comparable to a cushioned sofa that has a motor installed inside. Since one of the main focus with this adaptive mobility device is comfort, manufacturers and dealers ensure that adequate cushioning is provided with every unit. It comes with a cushioned cover that is made of cotton or leather depending on the type and model.
Is there only one type of handicap chair?No. Essentially there are three basic handicap chair types based on their positioning. There is the two-position, three-position, and the infinite-position types (pictured, left). The two-position offers only a slight recline to give just enough support to the back. The three-position can be reclined all the way putting the handicap in a near-lying position. The last type allows the person with disability to use the handicap chair as an alternative bed by using its full recline functionality.
Is this system suitable only for people with disabilities?No. Many seniors derive comfort from a handicap chair through its gliding action that helps them to lift their bodies to a standing position. It is also useful for people who do not have disabilities but suffer from chronic back pains, knee injuries, and other similar lower body conditions. In some instances it can serve as a therapeutic device to help the leg muscles to grow stronger.
What is the weight limit of the handicap chair lift?Conventional handicap chairs can accommodate a maximum of 350 pounds. More advanced models however provide more robust support allowing for a maximum weight capacity of 700 pounds. These models though are oversized and bulky requiring more space for positioning in your home. Conventional models are adequate for the average person and can be used in any home environment setting. The advanced models are suited for hospitals or commercial settings to support bigger sized handicapped people.
Can handicap chairs be included in van conversions?There is a possibility of incorporating the handicap chair when you bring your wheelchair accessible vehicle to the conversion shop. You may need to buy optional components like automatic docking stations and platform lift attachments among others. These components will help ensure that your handicap chair can be effortlessly loaded and secured into your wheelchair accessible vehicle. You may have to consider the available interior room of your vehicle before doing any conversion. Talk to a manufacturer, dealer, and provider of handicap chairs to get adequate information on this possibility. You may consider speaking to a mobility consultant if you want this custom option.
With all these information you can now accurately decide on whether or not a handicap chair lift is truly right for you or a handicapped loved one. Before buying one check possible discounts offered to physically challenged customers by adaptive mobility dealers.