A wheelchair platform lift (also called a porch lift) is a lift commonly used at house entrances as an alternative to ramps.
There may not be room for a long ramp or a ramp may be more expensive (because of home design).
Although they are primarily for elderly using wheelchairs, some seniors could use them with a walker.
Whereas a chair lift for stairs moves with the incline of the stairs, a wheelchair vertical lift can move seniors vertically 3" - 12".
The main benefit is that they can allow your elderly parents to remain in their own home for longer.
Staying at home is both financial responsible (seniors housing is expensive) and most seniors want to remain in their own home for as long as they can.
Wheelchair platform lifts are great for elderly who use a wheelchair and live in a home with stairs at the entranceway.
Ramps should have a 1:12 ratio to maintain a moderate slope - which can make them quite long if there are 3-4 steps of height.
In addition, it can be difficult for seniors to get up a ramp in a wheelchair.
A wheelchair platform lift can also be sold after it is no longer needed - whereas a ramp is usually custom made and does not have as much value.
Wheelchair platform lifts should have:
There are also portable porch lifts for short term use. Some medical supply stores will rent these lifts which are convenient for seniors who only need it for a short period. For example, they need to use a wheelchair for a few months due to surgery.
Porch lifts are easy to use:
There are a few things to consider before purchasing a vertical platform lift.
Wheelchair porch lifts will need to be installed on a concrete slab.
It is best to have it covered so the weather does not affect it as much (rain, snow, sun) but not essential.
It is also a good idea to have both the top and bottom be closed with gates to prevent injury. This is especially important when the lift is at the lowest position - have a potential drop from the upper level.
I have also seen them installed in garages that have 3-5 steps to entrance. A ramp would have needed to be quite large, a platform lift has a small platform and was easy to install and out of the weather.
Wheelchair platform lifts cost around $3000 - depending on lift height, weight capacity and other features.
You can purchase used wheelchair lifts which would be more affordable (but may not have warranty, etc)
There are a number of other lifts that can move elderly between levels of their home: