by: Sean Rutger
For users of electric mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, accessibility is very important. Uneven surfaces such as exterior entrances to the home can create a barrier that a wheelchair or electric scooter user cannot cross. Some homes (particularly older homes or homes that have been remodeled) have other doorjambs or uneven floor levels that require a step as you are going from one part of the house to another. Of course, many homes also have stairways that aren’t negotiable for wheelchair or mobility scooter users. Beyond the home, there are other parts of the property that cannot be traversed by a wheelchair or mobility user. Going from an exterior porch to the ground level and back is a common problem, as well as negotiating a street curb. Furthermore, when wheelchair users go out, they also need a way to conveniently load their wheelchair or scooter into the vehicle.
Fortunately, modern accessibility options exist that can solve any or all of the above problems. If you use an electric wheelchair or a mobility scooter to get around, you can make your property completely accessible by installing wheelchair ramps and lifts. Ramps are more appropriate for the lesser inconveniences about the grounds, such as external doorways, protruding doorjambs, and single steps. These are commonly known as threshold ramps. Lifts are necessary for the bigger tasks of traversing amongst the different stories of the home, getting to the ground level from an outside porch, and loading the wheelchair or scooter into your vehicle.
Wheelchair ramps are far less expensive than lifts and should be used wherever possible. If you have a small stairway that can be covered by a 5′ ramp, you will save money by opting for the ramp. You’ll also save time, because wheelchair lifts generally move slowly. Of course, you should make sure that you’re buying a quality wheelchair ramp. It may be tempting to save even more money by purchasing a less expensive ramp that isn’t intended for wheelchair users. Wheelchair ramps are very sturdy, and they’re specially designed to remain in place. You will be safe by using a wheelchair ramp as long as the angle isn’t too high. Your safety will be jeopardized if you attempt to use anything other than a real wheelchair ramp.
Wheelchair and scooter lifts are necessary for getting from one floor to another, getting up or down from an exterior porch, and loading the wheelchair or scooter into your vehicle. Lifts are more expensive than ramps, but they’re a good investment when they can provide accessibility all over the home. Most platform lifts move vertically, and can be installed to allow you access to an outdoor porch or other stories in your home. In situations where the stairway is the only way between stories, an inclined platform lift is your best bet. Also, when you go out, you need a lift that will allow you to load your scooter or wheelchair into the vehicle.
These are several ways to make your surroundings more accessible if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. By using these methods, your home and its immediate surroundings will become a much more comfortable place.
Sean Rutger is an author of health-related articles and blogs. He also writes consumer guides for mobility aids such as electric scooters, stair lifts, and wheelchair ramps. For more information, please visit http://www.wheelchair-lifts-ramps.com.