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Posted: 12:00am by & filed under Elderly Care

(NewsUSA) - Although home may be where the heart is, for older people, it may not be where they are able to stay.

This need (and recognition) to downsize, yet not wanting to because of the memories associated with the home (after all, it's where they have lived for decades and may have raised their families), can be a problem. It may also be impractical due to today's still sluggish housing market.

So, what to do? Instead, you might want to consider a stairlift to make your current home more practical.

While there are a whole host of reasons to install a stairlift, the most common is that someone has become too infirm to walk up and down the stairs because of age, illness or injury.

For Cornelius Rice, 80, of Wilkins, Pennsylvania, it took a nasty fall to admit he needed help from a stair lift to deal with his balance problem.

"[A stairlift] makes it convenient for me to get around, and makes it easy on the wife," Rice told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette in an interview. "She doesn't have to take me here or there now, or be lifting me."

Unlike chair lifts of old, new models like those sold by Orlando-based Acorn Stairlifts are powered by two small 12-volt batteries under the seat or by regular house current. The chair and built-in footrest typically fold up when not in use, allowing for easy passage on the stairs. All lifts have sensors around the perimeter of the foot platform that will stop the lift when a sensor is triggered -- be it by a child's toy, a pet or a foot that has slipped off the platform.

For Tim McCool, VP of Sales and Marketing for Acorn, having a built in stairlift makes sense for the elderly.

"When I first started with Acorn Stairlifts over 10 years ago as a sales rep, one of my first customer interactions was with a woman suffering from ALS," said McCool. "She had to be carried up the stairs just to use the restroom. I talked with her for over an hour, and it's stuck with me all these years, and it's why I'm so committed to what we do to improve people's lives."

The biggest challenge, say experts, is getting older folks to admit they need one. Once installed, however, many find they wished they'd done it earlier, said one consultant, who added that older people sometimes don't want to spend the money on this kind of thing because then they have to admit they have a disability.

Find ways to improve mobility in the home.

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