(NewsUSA) - People are getting older. Not only does this mean there will be more elderly who want to "age at home," and retain their independence, but there will be those who require in-home care from age-related health problems and surgeries.
Consider this: the number of Americans 65 and up is expected to nearly double by the middle of the century, when they will make up more than a fifth of the nation's population, according to a Census Bureau Report released last year.
What this means is that it will be more important than ever to ensure that homes can be retrofitted to accommodate this demographic.
To that end, installing a stairlift may be just what the doctor ordered. For home healthcare providers or loved ones who have to care for someone who is disabled or coming off of surgery, a stairlift makes sense.
"Caregivers for disabled persons are ... becoming more aware of products to help them," Jerry Keiderling, president of Accessible Home Improvement of America told HomeCare Magazine in an interview.
While there is a certain stigma related to stairlifts of old, Keiderling said that technology developments now center on electronic components and aesthetics.
"Today's stairlifts ... have a much more pleasing look," he told the magazine. "They don't look like the service hoist at the local garage. Longevity is also a key component. Some of these systems are used quite often, and they need to last."
Experts agree, saying older people want something that is discreet and that has the ability to be stored away when not in use.
Unlike older models, new designs such as those sold by Orlando-based Acorn Stairlifts are powered by two small-12 volt batteries located under the seat. The chair and built-in footrest can be folded up when not in use, and all lifts have sensors around the perimeter of the foot platform that will stop the lift when triggered.
While cost can be a factor in the decision, experts say that the risk of a family member injuring themselves while lifting a patient far outweighs the cost of installing a chairlift.