As someone caring for a relative who uses a wheelchair, you may both decide that it's best if they move into your home. This will necessitate some changes in your home so that they're able to get around comfortably, but you also have to consider how they'll be able to get in and out of the house with their chair. Wheelchair ramps are a likely purchase, but you've got to think about these three issues as you choose what kind you'll get.
Permanent or Temporary Use
Your first consideration should be whether your home can use a temporary wheelchair ramp or whether it's better to invest in a permanent one. Temporary ramps are typically less expensive and can be put up and taken down within a matter of hours. They may be suitable for a relative who has broken a hip but will recover or anyone who otherwise plans to be able to walk in the future.
Permanent ramps, on the other hand, usually involve a larger financial investment. However, they can be sturdier and bear more weight than their temporary counterparts. Permanent ramps could be especially helpful for your family if your relative has a chronic health condition or a permanent condition which will affect their mobility.
Because the ramp is outdoor, careful thought must be given to the materials being used in its construction. Wood is the first thought for many, as ramps are relatively easy to build and lumber can be bought and cut easily. However, maintenance is an ongoing issue for wood ramps. Buckling, warping, rotting, and other issues could mean that your relative has trouble making it up and down the ramp unless it is frequently sealed and otherwise monitored for defects. Vinyl or concrete ramps might need less maintenance overall.
To save money, a small ramp may be on your mind. However, a small ramp can mean a steep incline, which can be less comfortable than the more gradual incline that a longer ramp can provide. Of course, because it requires more materials, a longer ramp could mean that you're paying more money, but it may be worth it so that your relative feels safe when they're on the ramp surface.
With this information, you can think more clearly about which kind of wheelchair ramp might be most useful for your relative. Talk with retailers and installers of these ramps to get even more knowledge you can use to make your final decision.