Oct 23

When a main part of your business is installing stair lifts, you understand there’s almost no such thing as a “standard installation” anymore. Just about every set of stairs has something that needs a custom adaptation, whether it’s the track length, adding curves, or deciding if it needs a right or left-hand run.

Some installations are easier than others, and there’s always a few that get your creative juices flowing. You come to expect a challenge with every job, but you know in the end it will be worth the extra effort.

Curved Outdoor Stairlift Installation

Curved Outdoor Stairlift Installation

We recently had a challenge with an outdoor stair lift installation in Pasadena. Living in Southern California, we work with quite few people who have outdoor stairs leading up to the home, and it usually doesn’t pose any difficulties.

This one, however, required two curves, one landing in the middle of the climb, and had to hug close to the outside of the stairs. Oh yeah, and it had to cross through a gate at the top of the stairs. It screamed custom!

Our stairlift of choice for this job was the Handicare Minivator 2000. Handicare has factories in the UK and Netherlands and the Minivator is a unique stairlift that can be mounted close to a wall, or in our case, close to the outside edge of the stairs.

Minivator 2000 Stair Lift

Minivator 2000 Stair Lift

The Minivator 2000 runs on twin tube tracks and is available in a variety of color options for the seat and track. Adding the custom curves wasn’t a problem either.

With the stair lift part of the process in hand, the final piece of this puzzle was getting through the gate. The gate opened outward and right into the path of the stairlift. Because it would be nearly impossible for a single user to open the gate while traveling up the stairs, we opted for an electric gate opener that could open the gate by using a remote control.

We’ve installed plenty of electric door openers in the past, but this was the first time we’ve used one for a gate in the path of a stairlift. We didn’t want to lose the security of the gate by removing it completely and the opener worked like a charm.

The Minivator worked great for this installation and like most stairlifts, has a folding footrest and arm rests for keeping the walkway in front of the unit clear when needed. It also comes with an easy to use cover to keep it away from the elements when it rains.

Aug 30

Wheelchair Ramps come in a wide range of sizes and styles that offer different functionality. While the main goal of a ramp is to allow wheelchairs, scooters, and even walkers to go up and down stairs, they also help with thresholds and getting in and out of accessible vehicles.

Here we’ll take a brief look at 8 different types of wheelchair ramps to gain a better understanding of which ramp works for which situation.

Lego-Style Threshold Ramp

Lego-Style Threshold Ramp

Lego-style Threshold Ramps are very lightweight, allow water to flow through, and can be used on both the inside and outside of the doorway for easily rolling over the threshold. These are available in .75-inch and 1.5-inch heights and have a 300-lb weight capacity.

Aluminum Threshold Ramp

Aluminum Threshold Ramp

Aluminum Threshold Ramps come in sizes to fit 1-inch to 6-inch high thresholds. These are very lightweight, with a non-slip surface and a 600-lb weight capacity.

Rubber Threshold Ramp

Rubber Threshold Ramp

A Rubber Threshold Ramp is one of our favorite ramps for getting over thresholds for doorways and sliders. They’re a great looking, very durable ramp made from recycled materials. These are heavy ramps but they stay in place and have an almost infinite weight capacity. They come in a variety of heights ranging from 1/2-inch to 2-inches.

Portable Suitcase Ramp

Portable Suitcase Ramp

Portable Suitcase Ramps come in several styles and lengths from 2-feet to 6-feet in length. They fold in half for easier traveling and storage, and they support up to 800 lbs depending on the model. The all-aluminum construction and non-slip surface make them ideal for wheelchairs and many scooters.

Telescoping Track Ramp

Telescoping Track Ramp

Telescoping Track Ramps are made of sturdy aluminum and not-skid finishes. They are lightweight and compact for storage but they can be a little tricky to set up and align with the wheelchair wheels. They telescope in and out making them even more compact and go up to 10-feet in length.

Pathway Ramps

Pathway Ramps

Pathway Ramps offer temporary to permanent secure solutions for wheelchairs and scooters. Sizes vary from 2-feet all the way up to 10-feet and all have non-skid surfaces. These usually work well for areas with only one or two steps and some have optional handrails.

Modular Wheelchair Ramps

Modular Wheelchair Ramps

Aluminum Modular Ramps are ideal for both commercial and residential areas that require longer runs for going up more than a few stairs. Modular Ramps are more permanent than the previous ramps discussed here and they can accommodate almost any configuration option with handrails available for extra safety when needed.

Custom Permanent Ramps

Custom Permanent Ramps

Custom Ramps for permanent installations can be made from redwood or concrete and are very sturdy and hold up well outside. They are usually built to have a very high weight capacity and have handrails at least on one side to aid caregivers. This is a great option for homes and commercial areas that need an attractive, yet permanent solution for wheelchairs, scooters and walkers, especially areas that get a lot of use.

We said this would be about 8 Types of Wheelchair Ramps but we’ve added a Bonus:

Roll A Ramp

Roll A Ramp ®

Roll-A-Ramp® is a portable ramp system for wheelchair and scooter users who want an alternative to expensive chair lifts, permanent ramps, or conversion vans. They come in a variety of styles and support up to 2,000 lbs.

For more information about Wheelchair Ramp solutions, give us a call Toll Free at (866) 902-9800, or visit our website: http://www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/ramps

Jul 26

This Bruno curved stair lift installation video shows the last steps of installation for a Bruno Electra-Ride III CRE 2110 curved stairlift with a folding seat and folding footrest.

Bruno Curved Stairlift

The initial installation began with taking precise measurements of the stairway and sending them to Bruno for crafting to the exact specifications. When everything was finished at the factory, the individual pieces were sent back to us for installation in the home.

The Electra-Ride III is an excellent stairlift with a 400 lb. weight capacity, two 12-volt batteries, and folding arms, seat, and footrest that create more space for walking up and down the stairs when not in operation. The seat has an offset swivel that makes it easy to enter or exit the stair lift.

It comes with a variety of options for safety, comfort and styling and can be equipped with a park option at the top or bottom of the stairs.

With Bruno’s custom manufacturing process, a curved stairlift can be used on almost any stairway and can be installed on either side to fit the needs of the home.

After measurements are sent to Bruno, the entire manufacturing process can be completed and delivered usually in a few weeks and installed in less than a day.

For more information about curved stairlifts, visit our website at: www.AccessibleConstruction.com

May 25

The central idea behind Universal Design is to design and create buildings, environments, and products that are accessible to everyone – both people with, and without, disabilities. This includes creating homes and areas that are safe and easy to use for children, adults, and seniors.

Universal Design also creates environments that will be easy to modify in the future if a disability requires changes. One idea that illustrates this notion is putting a closet on the bottom floor of a home and another directly above it on the second floor. In the future, if an elevator needs to be installed in the home, the two closets can be used as an elevator shaft.

We received an interesting email with the photo below that shows this concept taken to the extreme.

Glass Floor Bathroom

This glass floor bathroom sits 15 stories up in a penthouse building in Mexico and was created by architecture firm Hernandez Silva Arquitectos.

The shaft was originally intended to be filled with an elevator, but after it was decided not to add the elevator, the architects chose to just make the floor glass, giving visitors an outrageous view looking down 15 floors below.

This photo has been making the rounds online and we can see why. It’s funny and scary at the same time.

Kudos to the architects for such a creative use of space. If an elevator is ever needed, they already have the shaft in place. For now, this bathroom is probably the most popular room in the house.

Apr 30

Those who are building a new home with an eye on the future and possibly retirement are probably aware of the universal design principle that calls for at least one bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor. For others, if you plan to remain in your current home as you age, if all of the bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs, you’ll probably need to install a stair lift or home elevator.

Residential Glass Elevators

Those who fall into the second category generally opt for a stair lift for getting up and down stairs. But there are quite a few benefits to installing a residential glass elevator:

– No transferring from a wheelchair to a stair lift and back again

– Less stressful on the caregiver and person using the stair lift

– Increases the safety and usability of a home

– Cheaper than moving, especially when you add up all the costs associated with a move

– Adds to the value of your home

– Allows you to remain in your own home

– Elevators are a cool, home design centerpiece

We really like the “cool” factor of a home elevator and we’ve been using them for years. But we favor a new line of residential glass elevators that we’re excited to showcase for our clients who want to remain in their own homes.

Glass Home Elevators

One of the disadvantages of standard home elevators is that they can be a bit claustrophobic. With glass elevators, you can see out when riding up or down. Glass elevators are great for caregivers because they can also see if somebody is inside.

Probably the best part about the newest models of home elevators is the easy installation. After measurements are taken, the residential glass elevators are custom manufactured at the factory to fit the home specifications. They are transported to the installation location and can be carried through a normal door opening and quickly assembled.

Because of the innovative, pre-designed manufacturing process, they have a small 4-inch pit and fit under a standard ceiling space.

For many people, a stair lift offers the safety and convenience of getting up and down stairs instead of walking, and will be beneficial for years to come. But depending on the disability and need, glass home elevators can offer significant features without incurring much more added cost. It’s important to properly evaluate the needs of the user.

The most important aspect is to find the best solution for remaining at home to age-in-place. If you’re interested, we’d be more than happy to discuss the pros and cons of riding in style at home.

Want to ride one? Call us at 866-902-9800 so that we can arrange a private ride in any of the four beautiful models located at our manufacturer’s West Hollywood Showroom – shown by appointment only.

You can also call us for more information about residential glass elevators or visit our website at:
www.AccessibleConstruction.com/services/ramps/residential-glass-elevator.html

Feb 28

Installing a stair lift in the home provides a safe and easy way to promote independent living. It removes the barrier of a stairway so that seniors and people with disabilities can live comfortably in their own home.

Stair lift manufacturers are continually upgrading their product offerings with better, and safer features. It wasn’t all that long ago that stair lifts provided a better way to go up and stairs without walking, but they were a bit cumbersome and took up a little too much space on, and around the stairway. Not any more.

Stair Lift With Folding Rail

We recently installed a Bruno Electra-Ride Elite Stair Lift that comes equipped with a power folding rail at the bottom of the stairway to accommodate a narrow hallway or doorway. At the touch of a button the bottom section of the stair lift folds up and out of the way.

This is a great feature for smaller homes, or where a doorway or hallway might be too narrow to safely move around the stair lift rail. It also features a folding footplate and armrests to shrink the size of the footprint on the stairway even more.

Barrier-free should be just that – a way to eliminate barriers in the home for the safety and comfort of all who live there.

While there are many ways to make a home more accessible, homeowners should rely on barrier-free home modification experts to get the best products that specifically fit their needs.

Not every home needs a stair lift with a folding rail. But it’s nice to know there’s a solution available to fit almost every need.

Dec 14

On September 15, 2010, the law regarding ADA Pool Accessibility requirements changed. Under the new legislation, public and commercial swimming pools are now required to be accessible to people with disabilities on, or before March 15, 2012. This access can be in the form of Pool Lifts that can be operated by the person with the disability or a sloped entries.

Pool Lifts

Swimming pools with more than 300 linear feet of wall must provide two means of entry, with the primary means being either a pool lift or sloped entry. The secondary means of entry can be a pool lift, sloped entry, transfer wall, transfer system, or pool stairs.

Swimming pools with less than 300 feet of wall only need to provide one means of entry – either a pool lift or sloped entry.

Of course there are plenty of other requirements and it’s best to check for compliance way in advance to ensure there won’t be any problems with your pool.

Some of the exceptions include wave pools, spas, and wading pools.

The U.S. Department of Justice has more information on their website regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act at: www.ada.gov.

There are a variety of pool lift options available. Some are stationary, while others are mobile and can be wheeled in and out of storage either daily or at the end of the season. And you don’t have to have a public or commercial swimming pool to take advantage of the accessibility features of pool lifts. They work great for family pools too.

We have several examples of pool lifts on our website at: www.AccessibleConstruction.com/services/ramps/ada-pool-lifts.html

Give us a call at (866) 902-9800 if you have a public or commercial pool and you need a pool lift for compliance before March 15, 2012.

Oct 31

Some disabilities progress over time. This means that installing a stair lift may be fine for now, but in a few years it may be difficult to use. Choosing a home elevator might be a better option, and installing a Telecab Elevator can minimize construction time and cost.

A Telecab Elevator is a two-stop residential elevator for home use with a 500 lb. weight capacity that is equipped with windows and interior lighting. A Telecab is sometimes called a “vanishing elevator” or “shaftless elevator” because it does not require an elevator shaft for installation. Because there is no shaft, it decreases the time to install and reduces the cost.

Telecab Elevator

Telecab Elevator parked downstairs during installation

The unique design of a Telecab allows it to disappear from sight when it’s on another floor. It can be installed virtually in any room in the home that allows enough space for the cab above and below.

Telecab

Telecab traveling upstairs into the ceiling and out of the way downstairs

If the unit is parked upstairs, simply choose the down button from the main floor to call it downstairs. When it arrives, walk, or roll in with a wheelchair and take it up to the top floor. It recesses into the ceiling where it is out of sight downstairs.

Telecab Elevator recessed into the floor

Telecab Elevator view from the upstairs bathroom recessed into the floor to create more space upstairs while the cab is parked downstairs

If you’re upstairs and need the space, the Telecab can be parked downstairs. Simply call it at the touch of a button when needed to transport you downstairs.

Telecab parked upstairs in the bathroom

Telecab parked upstairs in the bathroom

Telecab Elevators are a safe and convenient way to live independently in your own home. They eliminate the need for stairs, or stair lifts, and provide comfort for the user and caregiver. By reducing the stress and strain associated with wheelchair transfers to and from a stairlift, it increases the quality of life for the user and caregiver.

Telecabs come with a variety of configuration options including cab and window panel colors, cab interior size, or a second door to enter and exit a different location on another floor.

If you’re considering a home elevator to avoid the hassle of a stairway, a Telecab Elevator might be a convenient and economical way to stay safe in your home.

Oct 5

Back in August we showed a Modular Ramp installation for a client that needed a wheelchair ramp to get up his stairs. In this instance, a straight ramp wouldn’t fit because we needed too much ramp length and there wasn’t enough space. So we installed a switchback Modular Ramp that traveled back and forth, providing enough length to decrease the slope angle.

What we didn’t show was that the other side of the house had an even smaller area, making it impossible to install any kind of ramp. No problem. For really tight spaces a vertical Platform Lift or Porch Lift is often better than a wheelchair ramp.

Porch Lift

Porch Lift at the bottom position

Vertical Lifts are great because they require minimal effort on the part of the wheelchair user or caregiver. Simply open the gate at the bottom, roll in, close the gate behind you and push the button. The lift rises up to the next level and out you go at the top. They also promote independent living because there is no need for a caregiver to help push up a ramp. The user can do everything at the touch of a button located on the control panel.

Platform Lift

Platform Lift at the top position

Platform Lifts are safe and reliable and can be installed both indoors and outside. They have a 750-pound weight capacity and come with a non-skid deck surface. They are recommended for commercial and residential applications and offer an ideal way for companies to come into compliance.

Vertical Lift view from the top landing

Vertical Lift view from the top landing

If safety is a concern, Platform Lifts can be safer than ramps depending on the physical condition of the user or the caregiver. They require little or no physical strength as the motor does all the work and problems going too fast down a ramp or falling backwards are eliminated.

When you don’t have enough space for a wheelchair ramp, consider going vertical with a Porch Lift or Vertical Platform Lift.

Sep 8

Transferring patients from one place to another can be one of the most physically demanding aspects for a caregiver and the person they care for. It is difficult, can cause discomfort, and sometimes results in injuries to one or both. Straining is the most common occurrence but falls can be almost as troublesome.

It’s important to use the legs and not the back when lifting and whenever possible, transfer to the patient’s strong side. Proper patient handling is half the battle but using transfer devices that aid in patient transfers can make things safer and better for everyone involved.

With that said, here are 7 Patient Transfer Devices that make life easier for caregivers and patients:

Gait Belt

Gait Belt
A transfer belt, or Gait Belt, helps prevent back injuries and offers safe areas to grab on to a patient. They have multiple handles and give the caregiver a supported area to hold instead of grabbing an arm. Gait belts are ideal for transferring to and from wheelchairs or beds.


Advantage Rail

Advantage Rail
Using a transfer pole support rail such as the Advantage Rail gives the patient a sturdy support to hold when getting up, sitting down, or moving between a wheelchair and other sitting area. It is like adding a four-foot high grab bar that is mounted to the floor, and can be placed in any room or area of the home. Advantage rails work great in the bathroom but can be just as helpful in the bedroom or frequently used living area. Patients that can help lift themselves ultimately lessen the strain on the caregiver.


Super Pole

Super Pole
Similar to the Advantage Rail, the Super Pole is a transfer support rail that extends from the floor to the ceiling and works especially well in the bedroom. It has several available attachment options like the Trapeze Bar and T-Bar support, and makes transferring to and from a bed much easier. Having a sturdy support to hold on to during transfers is important for both patients and caregivers.


Sliding Transfer Board

Sliding Transfer Board
The old-fashioned wooden wheelchair transfer board has been updated to the Sliding Transfer Board, or Beasy Board. It comes in three shapes and sizes and is ideally suited for transfers to and from a wheelchair. It has a swivel, sliding disc in the center of the board that aids in moving the patient from one seat to the other. It is made of durable plastic and offers none of the friction or splinters of the old style transfer boards.


Patient Lift

Portable Patient Lift
For patients who are less ambulatory, transfers can be very difficult and usually require more than one caregiver. A portable Patient Lift is sometimes the only way to transfer a patient from one place to another. It comes with a nylon sling that is placed underneath and electrically lifts the patient up. It can then be wheeled from one spot or room to another and then lowered at the touch of a button. Made from extra strong aircraft aluminum, it is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It also folds up for storing in the trunk of a car. The Portable Patient Lift is well-suited for taking on trips by car or plane when a lifting device is needed at your destination.


Ceiling Lift

Ceiling Lift
For patients who remain mostly in one spot in the home, an overhead Ceiling Lift might be a better option than a portable patient lift. They are usually placed in the bedroom or bathroom for raising and lowering in one spot. A ceiling track can also be installed that moves the patient in the sling from the bedroom to the bathroom and back. A ceiling lift greatly reduces the strain on everyone and offers a much better quality of life for non-ambulatory patients.


Transport Chair

Transport Chair
The final item is more of a transportation device than a transfer device, but a Transport Chair certainly makes life easier for patients and caregivers. Transport chairs work great for going to the doctor or making small trips. They work like a standard wheelchair but they’re lightweight and fold down for taking in a car. Our favorite model has foldable armrests and footrests that make transfers a breeze. There’s no reason to take a heavy, bulky wheelchair when a transport chair will do the job.

Moving patients from one place to another always involves some risk of injury but by taking advantage of the available patient transfer devices, it reduces the possibility of injury and increases the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.

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