Descending Stairs: Some Kind Of Safety Device?

Page 1 of 2  
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 PITA.
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?
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 1:27:56 PM UTC-5, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

safety must come first, get a chairlift..... many are available on craiglist
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
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 fairly simple.
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 :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bob haller wrote: "- show quoted text..... many are available on craiglist"
Everytime craigslist is MENTIONED i have to go take a hot shower!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
bob haller wrote:

If only stair case is straight up or down. Isn't there Acorn brand?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/31/2015 12:27 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

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 snub).
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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/31/2015 1:27 PM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

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 a chance?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Per Retirednoguilt:

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 stair case....
I guess it's time to start Googling "Chair Lift"....
Thanks to all for the input.
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hello Pete,
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 basement.
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.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

One going upstairs and one going down, and one going nowhere just for show?

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 place .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Two story house up north. The main stairway went upstairs to the second level. Underneath that was a stairway to the basement. So she needed two runs to get complete access to her house back.

There are special things they can accommodate at the end of the runs that cost extra. In the middle you might have a turn in the stairway. Ours were straight runs with simple endpoints.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

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 week?
***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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Per micky:

At least a dozen times per day.
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/1/2015 9:55 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

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.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Look on the bright side - you and your wife got a lot of exercise over the years, keeping you in better shape.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 2/1/2015 12:27 PM, Pico Rico wrote:

I still use the steps for that reason. With arthritis, not using a joint can make it worse.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

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.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Per CRNG:

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.
--
Pete Cresswell

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.