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What are platform lifts and why are they useful?

Female hand pressing elevator up button
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Many of us require stairlifts and elevators, instead of stairs and escalators, to get around.  There are three main types of equipment that help those with disabilities, parents with pushchairs and the elderly: elevators, stairlifts and platform lifts.

We seem to know a lot about the former two options; elevators are sleek, reliable and high tech, used in high rise offices and swanky apartment blocks.  They do, however, also come at a high price, and not all businesses are able to afford them.  Stairlifts, on the other hand, can only take one or two people to their destination, and are low price but also less reliable (and a little slow!) Being attached to a staircase, they are also pretty obvious, and often leave those with disabilities feeling more disabled than empowered.  The lesser-known but middle ground option is the platform lift, and here’s what you need to know:

What are platform lifts?

Platform lifts offer the privacy of an elevator at the price of a stairlift, put bluntly.  They can serve two or more floors by taking a small number of people, or up to two wheelchair users, up or down in an enclosed shaft.  Unlike many stairlifts where a key and staff help is often needed for operation, platform lifts grant users autonomy by having easy-to-use controls inside the shaft.  Although not as sleek, high tech and high performance as an elevator, platform lifts get users to the required destination with dignity and ease (and there is no need for members of the public to queue up on the staircase as there often is with a slow stairlift!)

In and out, vertical and inclined.

Another benefit of the platform lift is that it can be used indoors or out, and some are even designed for your own home! They can also be designed and used for vertical and inclined spaces, and platform lifts are manufactured and installed to supply customers with the ideal product for their needs, regardless of ability. There are vertical and inclined platform lift options, to conquer both straight and curved staircases, respectively.  Vertical option can often carry up to four people at once, and have the option of sliding or hinged doorways to make entering and exiting easy for all.  If you struggle with enclosed spaces, there is also often the option to have a platofrm lift with a glass shaft, so you can see where you are going at all times.

Inclined platform lifts differ slightly, in the sense that they are for single person travel over straight or curved stairways, seated or using a wheelchair. Either way, the choice is yours.

The lower price and need for less space than an elevator means that businesses, schools and organisations are using platform lifts more and more.  They are durable, don’t require regular charge or frequent assistance, and they allow those who need to use them to do so independently – what more could you ask for?!

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