stairlift solution

Stairlift Issues? Use This Troubleshooting Guide Before Calling A Mechanic (Part 1 of 3)

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%). However, stairlifts are also an increasingly popular option for optimizing mobility and living in your home as long as you can. Of course, as with any mechanical device, your stairlift may experience malfunctions from time to time, but fear not — instead of picking up the phone and calling a mechanic, you can try to troubleshoot the issue yourself, saving time, money, and frustration. Without further ado, here’s part one of our guide that will help those with stairlifts troubleshoot potential issues and regain elderly independence.

Check the Key
First and foremost, it’s important to troubleshoot starting with the easiest and least invasive maintenance procedures. The first step you should take to get to your stairlift solution is to ensure that the key that powers your stairlift is in the proper position, or that your stairlift is otherwise turned on. It may sound simple, but this is actually one of the most common reasons people have trouble with their stairlifts. Even the slightest error in positioning can result in a complete loss of function of your stairlift. Fortunately, this error has the easiest stairlift solution — simply turn the key into the correct position and try to power your stairlift on once again.

“If the key is turned and in the right position, you should check the on and off buttons on the chair arm and on the separate control units. Secondly, if the stairlift is wired through a spur, there should be a red light showing to indicate that the power supply is working. If the red light is off, then a circuit breaker may have tripped and you will need to check your consumer unit to see if it can be reset,” writes Jason Tate on HelpMyMobility.

Ultimately, approximately 53 million Americans live with a disability, and according to a recent study, the most common disability is associated with limited mobility. Understanding how to deal with any mechanical issues your stairlift experiences is the key to maximizing your mobility and level of independence. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll delve deeper into some common stairlift issues and how to best solve them to meet accessibility standards and achieve full mobility.

accessibility standards

3 Smart Tips For Purchasing and Installing Bathroom Grab Bars

According to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. As a result, many have taken steps to ensure their home meets their personal accessibility standards. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%), and bathroom grab bars can be particularly useful in preventing bathroom falls. But before you invest in your own bathroom grab bar, you should know how to properly search for one that meets your needs. Here are just a few tips for buying and installing a grab bar for your home’s bathroom.

Check Positioning

Many assume that most or all grab bars are designed to be mounted vertically, but that isn’t always the case. Some are designed for horizontal installation, and some are even intended to be versatile and installed either way. Diagonal grab bars, on the other hand, are best suited for providing added support when bending over or standing up from a seated shower. Above all, it’s important to make sure that the grab bar you choose will work in the position that’s most comfortable for you.

Consider Diameter

Another common assumption people make when buying a grab bar involves its diameter. If you or someone that will be using the grab bar has minimal grip strength, it’s better to choose a grab bar that has a smaller diameter. After that, you can determine whether its finish should be glossy or textured to ensure a solid grip for wet hands.

Ensure Proper Length

Finally, it’s important to know that most grab bars installed in bathtubs are about 16 inches in length. This is often considered to be the measurement that meets accessibility standards and ensures the grab bar can be installed easily. If a 16 inch grab bar isn’t available, other multiples of 16 are recommended for easiest use and installation.

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Understanding how to purchase a grab bar that meets your needs is the key to achieving elderly independence and living comfortably in your home as long as you can.

curved stair lift

Up, Up, and Away: Commonly Asked Questions About Stairlifts

Stairlifts can be an effective method to get up household stairs with ease and remove the dangers of falling or tripping down the steps. Each year, over two million senior citizens suffer injuries caused by a fall and need to visit an emergency room. Stairlifts are a great way to help erase some of the worry associated with falling at home. Many people think that their home isn’t compatible with a stairlift, or they aren’t sure exactly how they work. Here are some frequently asked questions about stairlifts that may answer any queries you have:

  1. Is it connected to the wall?
    Stairlifts are actually fastened to your staircase directly and not the wall or railing. This means they are extremely sturdy and you don’t have to worry about putting weight on the wall or railing. The track will run along the side of your railing and is bolted to the staircase every few steps or so. All you’ll need is an outlet to plug your stairlift into. Most lifts come with a backup battery as well in case you lose power, but you should request one just to be sure.
  2. Will a stairlift fit in my home
    Almost always are the lifts able to be configured to work on any type of stairs. There are to main types of stairlifts: straight stairlifts and curved stair lifts. The straight rail models are designed for staircases that don’t curve or bend very much or have landings. Curved stair lifts are ideal for just about every other type of staircase and can be customized to fit your exact needs. A specialist from the stairlift company will come to your home and take pictures with a 3D camera. The pictures will then be used to create your customized curved stair lift.
  3. What if I want to use one for my stairs that are outside?
    There are both straight and custom outdoor stairlifts that can be used on staircases outdoors. They’re weatherproof and will usually come with a seat cover. They’re also UV light, rain, and even freezing temperature resistant.
  4. What is the weight capacity?
    Most lifts have a maximum capacity of about 300 pounds, although there are options for higher capacities as well. If you plan on carrying heavy items up or down the stairs with you on the lift then inquire about a heavy duty model.

If you have difficulty doing basic tasks such as climbing your stairs, consider using a stairlift to make your home mobility simpler.

varying needs

Buying A Mobility Scooter? Don’t Neglect These Essential Considerations (Part 2)


In the last post, we addressed some main considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a mobility scooter for yourself or a loved one. It’s critical to base your decision on your varying needs in order to achieve maximum elderly independence. Here’s part two of our guide that will address some more essential considerations to keep in mind when investing in a mobility scooter.

Riding Habits/Locations
Many people don’t think about this aspect of mobility scooter use, but it certainly does make a difference in your purchasing decision, or at least, it should. If you’ll be using the scooter mainly outside of the home for errands like grocery shopping, compact travel scooters may be ideal due to their ease of use, and more importantly, transportation. Typically, you’ll find that three-wheeled travel scooters are the lightest, most maneuverable, and most compact. If you’ll be using your scooter outside a lot, it’s also ideal to choose a model that has a high ground clearance.

If the person using the scooter will be using it primarily around the house, it’s important to choose a model that can make tight turns and navigate through narrow halls and doorways. Three-wheeled mobility scooters are often the best option for these types of users. In some cases, a power wheelchair can also provide the navigability and tight turn radius necessary for riding through small spaces. Consider your home’s accessibility standards before choosing the model that’s right for you.

Storage And Transportation
Finally, don’t neglect to consider the storage and transportation necessary with certain mobility scooter models. Some can be broken down and transported in your vehicle, while others may require scooter lifts for vehicles. If possible, it may be beneficial to invest in multiple scooters if you have the budget. One can be for home use, while the other can be used to go out and run errands.

Ultimately, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Taking the time to choose the right mobility scooter is the key to maximizing safety and ensuring your varying needs are met. For more information about versatile motor scooter accessories, contact Access NSM.

elderly independence

Staying Sharp With Age: 3 Everyday Ways to Foster Elderly Independence

The majority of people think about safety as they age. Common activities naturally become a little more difficult and things that were considered bumps and bruises during youth are a little more significant. Part of the preparation for the inevitability of aging is modifying your in-home living environment.

As of 2016, approximately 48% of homeowners older than 55 say that the bathroom is the riskiest, potential danger-zone in the home. While many are busy having their homes modified, the most easily overlooked part of elderly independence takes a back seat: personal growth.

Bathroom safety, increased accessibility standards, and other modifications to the physical environment are important, but keeping your mind and body sharp as you age is paramount to making those physical adjustments matter. Let’s look at some everyday ways to stay in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The brain is a muscle that requires exercise. Just because you’ve been around the sun more than most people doesn’t give you a pass to stop learning. If anything, it’s a reason to continue and learn something new. You don’t have to pick up advanced calculus, but card games, crossword puzzles, trivia, and tinkering with technology keep the mind in shape. Many places offer classes for older people to learn new things together. Want to learn about wine? How about metalsmithing, poetry, or photography? Do a little research and go try something new.

Stay active! Full mobility doesn’t get any easier as you get older, but it’s important to stay active in any ways that you can. Maybe triathlons are out of the question (although, if you can, go for it), but some level of physical activity helps avoid the temptation of becoming sedentary. Go for walks, get outside in the garden, volunteer or do work with a local charity. Maybe even get a part-time job with low physical stress. These are a few simple ways to keep your joints oiled and feet moving.

Isolation is an easy pit to fall into with age. We’re talking about elderly independence, not isolation. Get out there and be the social butterfly we know you are. Have people over for lunch, dinner, and drinks, go dancing, go to a baseball game, get out to that new restaurant that just opened. The possibilities are endless. They just require the deliberate effort of getting up and really doing it.

Elderly independence is very much about looking into your varying needs as you age. Everyone is a little different, but the concept remains the same across the board. Mind, body, and soul need to be cultivated as you grow in age. Look out for these and you’ll be drinking from the fountain of youth we all have within us.

elderly independence

Buying A Mobility Scooter? Don’t Neglect These Essential Considerations (Part 1)


Approximately 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to aid their mobility. One of the most common devices intended to improve mobility and overall elderly independence is a mobility scooter. Mobility scooters are useful for a wide variety of situations and lifestyles, but before you purchase one for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to make some critical considerations to avoid buying the wrong type. Here’s part one of our guide that will address some of the most important considerations to make when buying a mobility scooter for elderly independence.

Scooter Weight
First and foremost, it’s important to realize that mobility scooters, just like people, come in many shapes and sizes. While some scooters are intended for lower weights, others are heavy-duty and can easily handle the weight of any person. Of course, make sure the scooter you choose has a weight limit that well exceeds the weight of the person who will be using it. This is to accommodate for any extra items the person may be holding or carrying, from groceries and personal items to medical equipment such as an oxygen tank.

Physical Capabilities
It’s also essential to examine the physical capabilities of the person who will be using the scooter. For example, the person will need to be able to sit upright for potentially long periods of time. They’ll also need to have the strength and dexterity in their arms and hands to safely and properly operate the scooter.

If the person who will be using the scooter doesn’t meet these physical capabilities, there are other options: positioning pads can make the seating more comfortable and increase the time they can use the scooter. If the person using the scooter needs to have their legs elevated, it may be better to look into a power wheelchair, which is controlled with a joystick on an armrest that can be used with one hand.

Ultimately, understanding these aspects of scooter use and your personal accessibility standards can help you make the right purchasing decision for all scooters and electric wheelchairs. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll discuss some more essential considerations to keep in mind when investing in an electric mobility device for your varying needs.

Exploring The Most Essential Questions To Ask Before Buying A Stairlift

compact stairliftAccording to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. To achieve their dreams of safely aging in place, thousands of seniors are investing in a compact stairlift designed to meet their mobility needs. But before following suit and investing in an easy to use home stairlift of your own, it’s important to know the major questions to ask in order to ensure satisfaction and compatibility with your product down the line.

Here are just a few important questions to ask before purchasing a stairlift.

Is the stairlift made to handle users with my specific height and weight measurements?

This is important not only to ensure that you don’t exceed the maximum weight capacity, but also to ensure that the height of the stairlift’s seat is properly adjusted for your size. Your size may also impact other potential features of your stairlift, including footrests and flexibility. Make sure the stairlift you choose can easily accommodate a person with your size measurements.

Is the stairlift designed for use with the stairs in my home?

Another basic question, it’s important to make the distinction between stairlifts intended for straight staircases, called straight stairlifts, and those intended for curved staircases, called curved stairlifts. Depending on the type of stairs in your home, you may be limited to which models are compatible with your home’s setup. Make sure to abide by these limitations and purchase a compact stairlift that is compatible with the type of stairs in your home. Along the same lines is width — many if not most stairlifts need a decent amount of space on either end to operate properly, and if your staircase isn’t wide enough, certain models may not be compatible. Unfortunately, many older homes have very narrow staircases, so break out the measuring tape if necessary.

Can the stairlift accommodate my other mobility problems (if any)?

Finally, if you have lower back problems, you may need to invest in a stairlift with an extra cushioned seat for maximum comfort and mobility. Similarly, if you have trouble holding down a button or switch for an extended period of time, some stairlift models may not be right for you, so make sure to purchase a stairlift that accommodates for any other mobility problems you may have.

Ultimately, understanding these questions can help you purchase a stairlift that meets or even exceeds your mobility needs. For more information about compact stairlifts, wooden wheelchair ramps, and other devices that can allow you to safely age in place, contact Access NSM.

building wheelchair ramps

Avoid These Critical Mistakes When Installing Building Wheelchair Ramps (Part 2)

In the last post, we discussed some common yet detrimental mistakes to avoid when installing building wheelchair ramps to improve handicap and elderly independence. However, it’s important to understand the full range of mistakes to avoid in order to provide maximum safety and mobility. Here’s part two of our guide to avoiding common mistakes when installing handicap ramps for buildings.

Ramp Is Too Narrow
Wheelchair ramps are relatively wide, so it’s important to accommodate for this width and make sure the ramp you choose is wide enough to handle a range of wheelchair sizes. This also applies to curved staircases that may require the user to make too sharp of a turn before being able to actually access the ramp. Always abide by handicap ramp specifications in order to ensure maximum safety and mobility for all of the ramp’s users.

Too Big Of A Step At The Bottom
This is another detrimental mistake that impacts usability, and unfortunately, it’s extraordinarily common among installers who just don’t know any better and think that a wheelchair’s wheels can handle the steep curbs. But that’s not the case. There shouldn’t really be a ‘step’ at the bottom of any building wheelchair ramps, unless it’s a very tiny one. The entire point of a handicap ramp is to ensure wheelchair access, and many times, these steps — even though they may seem small — actually make the area inaccessible.

Ramp Is Too Steep
Similarly, it’s important to make sure that the ramp you choose is at a proper height and angle from the ground or floor to ensure easy access and use. This means that many times, it may not be able to be installed at the same height as an adjacent staircase. Before installing a ramp, consider how easy it would be to roll a wheelchair down its length. If it seems more difficult than it has to be, chances are there’s something to improve.

According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%). Proper installation of these products is the key to ensuring maximum mobility, safety, and quality of life.

stairlift design

Exploring The 3 Main Types Of Stairlift Designs

stairlift design

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Many of these adults strive to stay independent and live in their homes as long as they can. In order to maximize both mobility and home comfort, it may be necessary to invest in a elderly lift assist devices such as stairlifts to easily move between the different floors of your home. Although stairlift designs do vary, understanding the three major types can help you decide which is best for you particular needs. Here’s a guide to help you get to know the three main stairlift designs.

Straight Stairlift for Stairs

Seated Stairlifts For Straight Staircases
If you use a wheelchair and have a straight staircase, a seated stairlift may be the perfect dependable stairlift for you. These are what most people think of when they hear the term ‘stairlift’ — a seated device that attaches to the stairway railing to effortlessly move the patient between floors. While these types of stairlifts are incredibly common and very useful, they may come with minor installation difficulties, particularly if your stairway is especially narrow. However, an expert can easily work with virtually any straight staircase to find a model that suits you.

Curved Stairlift

Seated Stairlifts For Curved Staircases
Seated stairlifts for curved staircases are very similar to those intended for straight staircases. They serve the same function, but their design is more focused around accommodating for the winding nature of many wider, curved staircases. Keep in mind that if a staircase goes around even one corner, it’s considered a curved staircase, which means this may be the right stairlift design for you.

Incline Platfrom Lift for Stairs

Inclined Platform Lifts for Stairs
Often times there is a need for someone to sit in their wheelchair while they access the stairs. This is a great solution for those who have difficulty transferring to a seat and ideally would like to go up and down the stairs while seated in their wheelchair. An incline platform lift is a great solution for this scenario.

Approximately 53 million Americans live with a disability, and according to a recent study, the most common disability is associated with limited mobility. Understanding the different types of stairlifts can help you make an informed decision regarding your specific home layout and mobility needs.

modular wheelchair ramp

Modifying Your Home For Safety As You Age

Preparing your home for accessibility and safety as you age can be a difficult process. When you’ve lived in the same home for decades, it’s hard to think of this peaceful, happy place as dangerous. But if you don’t take the proper precautions to modify your home as you age, dangerous is exactly what it will become. In order to stay in your home for many happy years to come, bolstering your living space with safe options for full mobility is key to staying mobile and safe with age.

Because you’re used to your home safety being a non-issue, we have a few bits of advice that will help you prepare for upping the safety of your living space. We believe Americans have a right to age in place, so let’s look at a few things you can do in your home to maintain your quality of life in the face of mobility issues.

Identify problem spaces
Each year almost 235,000 people are injured in the bathroom, which makes it one of the most risky areas of any home. That’s certainly not the only problem space, but it’s the most frequently recorded. Take an honest look at parts of your home that take a little bit longer to access. Think about places that cause hazards more often. Think about bathrooms, kitchens, entryways, laundry rooms, that icy patch on the driveway, and any places that water or outside elements can add to mobility hazards. These spaces have to be looked into closely because often times they’re so routine that the dangers aren’t apparent until an accident happens. Really scrutinize your home and be honest with yourself about your needed level of safety precautions in these rooms.

Ramp it up!
Outdoor accessibility is as important in your home as it is in public spaces. A modular wheelchair ramp is a great investment that’s easy to install outside your home. They can be set up quickly, taken apart quickly, and because it’s a modular wheelchair ramp, it’s able to be modified to accommodate different settings and variable entryways; a wise, reusable structure.

Automation and communication
Flights of stairs and even some small single step spots in homes can present hazards. Modular wheelchair ramps are a little bulky for indoor stairs, but there are dependable stairlifts that safely zip you up and down your indoor (and sometimes outdoor) stairs without a hitch. Making your home safer as you age is important to you and your family, so maintaining contact with loved ones is vital during this process. Regardless of your desire to maintain independence, accessible communication (keep that mobile phone charged and close) in case of emergency should be a top priority.

We’re here to avoid accidents at all costs and want to help you live in the safest environment possible, and we believe that safe environment can be your own home. Accidents are easily avoidable with the proper preparations. Getting older is an amazing part of life’s journey, let’s do it safely together.