Due to neurological issues, descending a staircase is becoming
increasingly problematic for Yours Truly.
Current strategy is going down sideways holding the railing, but a
collapsed knee could defeat that.
If I take a header, seems like the best outcome would be a quick
death... but the most likely outcome would be long term disability.
That being said....
Is anybody familiar with assistive devices to mitigate the risk?
A mini-elevator seems like overkill to me - and also a space-eating
Ascending, no problem... worst case a bruised knee or something.
I'm starting to think in terms of some kind of quick-on-quick-off
harness attached to a spool whose speed of unwinding is governed.
You put slip the harness on around the chest, start going down the
stairs, start to take a header, and the inertial brake on the spool
kicks in reducing the header to something more like a straight-down fall
on to one's butt or knees.
Anybody been here?
On Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1:40:30 PM UTC-5, bob haller wrote:
Chairlift is what I thought of too. IDK if that's what he meant by
a mini-elevator? I know people who have had them installed. Never
heard of any harness/spool kind of thing and
I would think that there would be all kinds of scenarios where people
could still get hurt. Not sure about the part about not needing in
for the ascent either. I can see how one direction would be more difficult
than the other, but still I would think the going up direction must not
be all that safe/secure either. The chairlift takes care of both.
On Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:53:52 -0800 (PST), trader_4
I just had the opportunity to take a chairlift for a "test drive" over
the holidays. I dont need one, but I was visiting someone that has one,
and asked if I could try it. It worked fine. It's just screwed to the
steps, and plugged into an outlet, so the installation appears to be
I suppose they are not cheap, but I've never priced one. But it's
better to pay for the chairlift than pay medical bills after a fall.
My only complaint was it seemed pretty slow. I asked the owner if it
had a faster speed, but it did not.
I think I'd want one with *POWER*..... 5 speeed transmission, over
drive, and at least a 200HP motor, capable of doing a flight of stairs
in 0.25 seconds, with Anti-Lock brakes. Headlights are optional :)
I researched chairlifts a year or 2 ago........
ACORNS reputation wasnt real good, they may be importing units from china or some such
Some local char lift suppliers sell used ones at a big discount.......
Elderly person has one installed and dies, or moves for whatever reason.
so the unit is de installed, and sold used toanother user
Haven't been there and hope never to experience it but...
How about vinyl covered stranded cable - as is used for dog runs, etc -
with an appropriate load capacity, Anchored with heavy duty eye bolts
top and bottom and tensioned (like piano wire) using a suitable
turn-buckle at one (or both ends.
Jerry-rig a belt/restraint to keep you, literally, on a short leash.
Tethered on one end to said restraint with a snap hook, the other end
would be permanently(?) on the wire and with a pressure release. (That
will be the hardest part, I think, finding the piece that will be your
Walk down stairs holding railing and/or safety cable and squeezing snub
to allow it (and you) to move downward. If you fall, let go of the snub
and you are, er, snubbed in a happy way.
There are other ways, I'm sure, but this jumped into mind first thing.
Although a chairlift may seem to be overkill at this point, your words
are, "increasingly problematic" which leads me to infer that your
condition did not appear suddenly and has remained stable, but rather
that your condition is worse now than in the past. Not to be morbid
about it, but it seems reasonable that your problem is likely to
progress further. Therefore, sooner or later the chairlift is likely to
be needed to descend stairs at first, and possibly, even to ascend
stairs. As you say, a bad fall is likely to be catastrophic. Why take
I have to agree with that... knees are on the way out... not gone yet,
but the end is in sight.
Another poster's observation about chair lifts folding out of the way
when not in use broke my assumption that one would take up half the
I guess it's time to start Googling "Chair Lift"....
Thanks to all for the input.
We bought two chair lifts for my mom so that she could stay in her house
for many more years. They are bolted to the stairs and powered by
battery and charging system. Yes they are slow but safety is important
and a change in speed could be dangerous for the user. Hers took up
about a third of the stairway when folded up. This is only an issue at
the top or bottom of the stairway since you never leave the chair
someplace other than at the end of the run. They also have wall or
personal remotes mounted at each end or landing. This facilitates
calling the chair that isn't where you are at. While I never used the
chair as a chair it was useful for porting heavy laundry loads between
floors when helping her. The chair is easy to use for anyone.
I don't recall whose chair she ended up buying. I recall that they were
about $5,000 USD each. We had one to the second level and one to the
When the house was sold after she could no longer live in it we sold the
chairs to new owners. The runs needed to be about the same length for
the new user, but the manufacturer could have been contacted for
additional track if needed.
Her experience with it was great. It gave her access to her other
levels again, was a safe experience for living alone, and pretty much
always worked for her. The two times one level failed to move, the
local chair lift maintenance person was called and immediately took care
of the issue. As reported it does work in power outages for several to
many uses, depending on the load, run length and so on. Extra batteries
could be added if you were in an area with suspect power.
One going upstairs and one going down, and one going nowhere just for
I saw a picture of one in an ad somewhere, for a place where it was
crowded at the bottom I guess, and they had the guide wrap around the
newel post at the bottom in order to store the chair where it wasn't
even on the steps. Of course that costs extra and wouldn't work every
I'm sure I've seen a mechanism somewhere where lifting a lever lets out
one loop of a coil***. A string/cable/thin rope to pull the release
could be run down the side of the stairway. (as well as the rope that
attaches to the harness, or maybe just a belt?
I guess I'm saying the unwinding wouldn't be variable speed, it would be
very quick once you pulled the string, but only one or two steps' worth
at a time.
How often do you go down these steps? Several times a day? Twice a
***Maybe I'm thinking of the escapement of a mechanical watch or clock,
or something much bigger but similar. If you needed to imitate an
escapement, you'd need two strings going down the steps, One to lift the
left end of the escapement, and one to lift the right, and you'd need to
remember to pull on them alternately.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapement a lot of text and only a few
useful sketches. Plus you'd either have to make this or we need to
think of something you can buy that has one in it.
Me too. Wish we had a single level rather than the raised ranch we do
have. I had no problem until about 18 months ago when knees started to
go. Now I go down mostly leading with the right leg a step at a time.
One a good day, I can hold the railings and use the normal method.
My wife stays on one floor mostly, but that means I have to use them a
bit more Lower level is the family room, office, second bathroom,
utility area that has the freezer and a second fridge. Easy access to
the driveway and car using no steps.
Kitchen and bedrooms are on the upper level, as is a nice deck off the
kitchen. Worked great for 30 years but can be a PITA at times now.
How about sitting on the stairs and going down one at a time like you
see pre-walk children do? I'm serious. I had a leg injury once that
lasted a couple of months and that's what I was able to do.
Admittedly it's pretty embarrassing if you have guests over. And this
is obviously not a long term solution. Just something to get you by
(or down) until you figure out something permanent.
Web based forums are like subscribing to 10 different newspapers
and having to visit 10 different news stands to pickup each one.
Actually, that was one of the first things that crossed my mind.
I even considered some sort of plank to slide on.
Short of an actual lift, it seems like the most logical and safe
approach because it already lowers one's body - with or without the
plank to slide on.
But I agree with the observations of everybody that the long term
solution involves a lift.
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