To escape the summer heat, nothing can be more relaxing than a dip in the pool. Or when it’s cool, a dip in the hot tub can be just as rewarding. For people with a disability, the handicap, anyone bound to a wheelchair, and even older adults that have lost some coordination, balance and overall mobility, taking a dip can become challenging and sometimes dangerous. The risks are falling and drowning.
Handicapped pool lifts exist to help people that are struggling with mobility get in and out of the water safely, and sometimes, independently.
Types of Handicap Pool Lifts
There are 3 types of pool lifts: Battery powered lifts, manual hydraulic lifts, and water powered lifts. The type of pool, whether it be residential or commercial, can affect the type of pool lift required. There are also ADA regulations when it comes to public pools that certified lift technicians must abide by. Pool lifts can also be fixed or mobile.
Fixed pool lifts are typically bolted into a deck made of concrete or metal. Mobile pool lifts can be on wheels, allowing a caregiver to roll it into place, or they can also be inserted into a dedicated hole or opening on the deck next to the pool’s edge. The intent of this design is for them to remain out of the way, until they are needed.
Regardless of the type of pool lift, the job it performs remains the same. It lifts and transfers a person that most often sits on a chair, from the deck or even a wheelchair into and out of a pool or hot tub.
Let’s take a look at a battery powered handicap pool lift installation.
Customer: Steve Installs Pool Lift to Enjoy Family Time
Steve bought a new home and the pool was an added touch. He installed the pool lift to benefit a disabled family member who has young children of her own. The pool lift allows the family to get together without anyone feeling left out of the fun. Everyone, especially the kiddos, can enjoy the hot tub and pool alike with mom as a result of the pool lift installation.
Mom can transfer herself from her wheelchair into the pool or hot tub, which are at different heights, in one lift and transfer.
Type of Pool Lift: Aqua Creek Scout Lift
The Aqua Creek Scout pool lift is self-motorized and is ideal for raised pools and hot tubs. A person can slide in and out of the pool lift chair from a wheelchair, and with the push of a few buttons on a pendant cord remote, he/she can transfer in and out of the pool or spa completely on their own. The lift is easy to use, is whisper quiet, and it rotates a full 360 degrees in either direction. It can lift and transfer up to 26 inches high. The particular model that Steve chose has a 350 lbs weight carry limit. Other pool lift models exist that can handle lifting and transferring more weight.
Alternative Solution to a Traditional Pool Lift
With some creativity and craftsmanship, other types of body lifts can be adapted to perform the same work as traditional handicap pool lifts. One such piece of equipment is a ceiling lift that is typically installed inside of a home or business.
Let’s look at a ceiling lift that has been customized to work over an exercise/therapy pool that sits above ground. These types of pools are becoming very popular.
Customer: Dawn Adapts a Ceiling Lift for her Pool to Stays Active
Dawn is paralyzed from the waist down, but that doesn’t get her down. She is a very independent and active woman. She wanted to retain her independence in her cabin and regular home, and enjoy moving about more freely to spend quality time with her husband. Ceiling lifts have allowed her to transfer from her wheelchair and back.
Having already bought a ceiling lift track system for her cabin, Dawn wanted to add one over the exercise pool in the backyard of her home. Since she was already familiar with how to operate the equipment, it seemed a natural solution.
She loves to swim for fun and exercise in her swim spa. She escapes the heat during the summer months. The temperature of the water can also be warmed up so that she can use it during cooler months. She didn’t want to feel trapped, and the ceiling lift allowed her to appease her outdoorsy nature.
Type of Adapted Pool Lift: Surehands Freedom Bridge
The actual type of ceiling lift that has been adapted to perform as a pool lift is a SureHands Freedom Bridge. It was customized by certified technicians to be taller so it can lift higher. The bridge is a two post system along with a powered motor glides on a track. The lift is able to reach from one side to the other side of the spa pool.
The motor itself is not waterproof, and that was okay in this case. It can be removed and hooked on as needed. It is stored away when not in use to avoid weather damage. Because it does need to be hooked on before use, this pool lift solution does require a helping hand from a caregiver to operate. Dawn’s husband definitely has her back there.
This goes to show that with a little ingenuity, alternatives to a pool lift do exist. Dawn is certainly enjoying staying more active.
Pool Lift – Where to Start?
Start by understanding your individual need. Can you operate a pool lift on your own, or will you need help? Take a look at your private pool and determine if you have room along the edges, on the deck, for a fixed pool lift or do you have a storage shed in which you can store a mobile pool lift. Take into account the weight requirement as well because going with an inadequate lift can have serious health consequences if it can’t lift and transfer the weight required.
Then start shopping around for pool lifts. The cost of a pool lift varies, and it’s important to find a solution that will work for you, and at a price you can afford. Looking online can be overwhelming, so don’t get discouraged. If a more personal touch is required, contact a certified pool lift specialist at Accessible Systems. If we don’t service your area, we can possibly help find someone that does.