What to Consider When Buying a Pool Lift for the Handicap or Elderly
When selecting a pool lift for those with limited mobility or strength, you will need to take into consideration a few critical factors. The type of pool, you or your caregiver’s specific needs, and budget are just a few crucial points to ponder before buying your lift.
Type of Pool
Pools are generally classified in three different ways: residential, commercial A, and commercial B. Commercial A pools are the more substantial competition or recreation pools such as those found at gyms or swim centers. Commercial B pools are often smaller and not the primary focus of the destination—for example, a small pool at a hotel or at a large fitness center with several other facilities such as cardio rooms and basketball courts.
Residential Pool Lift Considerations
If you’re looking for a pool lift for yourself or someone you care for, more likely you’re in the residential market for pool lifts. With these pools, it’s vital to select a model that is appropriate for your type. There can be considerable differences in above-ground pools as opposed to in-ground pools. Moreover, even among in-ground pools, you need to consider the surrounding area and how your lift will be installed.
Some in-ground pools are landscaped closely to the edge of the swimming area, or built in the infinity-style pool, while others have concrete surrounding the entire water feature. If you want a lift that can be installed by cementing the pole into the ground, such as with the Joerns Hoyer Classic Pool Lift you will need to check to be sure you have an area conducive to that.
Keep in mind any wheelchair entry points to the general pool area and whether the placement of the lift anchor or cement installation will allow for enough room to turn a chair around if needed and will enable a caregiver to step in to assist in your desired location.
Types of Pool Materials and Construction
Most modern pools are made of either fiberglass, vinyl, or a concrete build. If you’ve been told your pool is gunite or shotcrete, this is a type of concrete pool. Gunite and shotcrete pools differ in how the concrete is mixed and applied when building the swimming area.
Features and Installation
The six features that almost every pool will have are the shell, a pool deck, bond beams, the coping, the bonding grid, and a gutter or skimmer. The pool shell is divided from your pool deck via an expansion joint. Your bond beam offers structure to the pool. This beam is usually thicker than the entirety of the swimming structure. The bond beam is traditionally topped with coping of some type, such as a coping stone.
The width of your coping will govern which pool lift options are suitable for you. Most often, the coping is 12 inches to 14 inches wide, and most lifts will work within those parameters. You need to install the front anchors of your lift base (if anchoring instead of cementing with a steel sleeve) at least four to six inches back from your coping and expansion joint.
Water Level Requirements
Pool lifts are also required to be installed where the water level is no deeper than 48 inches. This is not only for safety but also to allow someone to provide assistance while in a standing position in the water if it’s needed.
Lifts also need to be designed so that your seat will submerge to at least a depth of 18 inches below the water level. This is meant to ensure buoyancy for your or the individual you’re caring for while on the lift, making for a more accessible entry or exit.
Selecting Your Pool Lift for Handicap or Elderly
Clearly, your specific situation will determine which pool lift is best for you. If you have an above-ground pool, which requires being hoisted higher on the lift over the edge of the pool, you’ll want something made for this type of use, such as the Revolution Lift.
We also love the Aqua Creek Ranger Pool Lift, the Aqua Creek Spa Lift Ultra, and the Joerns Hoyer Classic Pool Lift for their excellent user ratings, ADA compliance, or classic design and low cost. Regardless of your selection, as long as you select a model based on your needs and situation, you can’t go wrong with any of these lifts.