A stair lift is a cost-effective solution that one should consider for a family member or patient that has difficulty navigating stairs. Getting up and down the stairs can become very difficult for seniors, and one missed step can lead to a serious injury. To help make the buying process easier, here are eight things to consider when purchasing a stair lift:
- User’s Mobility
The most important thing that should be considered when choosing a stair lift is the user’s mobility. This will determine whether or not a stair lift is the safest mobility solution. When reaching out to a local dealer, be sure to help them understand the needs of the user so that they can recommend the best possible solution.
- Type of Staircase
The design of the staircase determines the type of stair lift that will need to be installed:
- Straight Staircase– Straight stairs are stairs that have no curves, turns, or immediate landings. If the staircase is straight, then a standardized straight rail stair lift should be perfect. These types of models have standardized rails and have a much quicker completion time.
- Curved Staircases/Staircases with Landings – Staircases that have curves, turns, or immediate landings require a curved rail stair lift. These types of models have a curved rail, which must be custom built to fit the home. The time of completion is often much longer and the price much higher for curved staircases.
If the staircase has an immediate landing, two straight lifts can be considered. However, a curved model is often the better solution because it will not require the user to get off one lift and on the other at the immediate landing. Again, this all depends on the user’s mobility, which is why it is the number one thing to consider.
Before taking a deep dive into stair lift research, it is important to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend. The price of a new straight rail stair lift starts at $2,950, whereas a new curved stair lift starts at $9,500. Straight rail models are definitely much more affordable than curved rail models, but when all else is considered, either model is much more affordable than moving into a single-level home or a senior living community.
- Size of Seat/ Weight Capacity
Most standard models have a 300 lb. weight capacity and standard sized seat. However, if necessary, there are models available that have a higher weight capacity and optional seat upgrade. The heavy-duty models may require more space to be installed, so keep that in mind if a heavy-duty model or larger seat is needed.
There are a number of options that can be added for safety, convenience, or comfort. There are many customization options available, which may make it difficult to determine what options, if any, should be added to a lift. However, a stair lift expert from a local dealer will know what options to recommend based on a user’s needs and situation. They will recommend any options that they feel are necessary to keep the user safe, as well as those that will increase comfort and convenience for the user of the lift.
- Consider a Used Model
Most dealers offer used models that are still in great condition and less than two years old. So if you are looking to save some money and do not mind a lift that has been previously used, ask a local dealer if they offer used stair lift models.
When considering a local stair lift dealer, be sure to check and see if they have trained technicians that install and service the lift. Having someone to call if the lift stops working or runs out of battery is very important. Not all online dealers offer service, so it is important to make sure that they do before deciding to purchase the stair lift.
Do some research! Check to see if there are any nearby stair lift showrooms. A visit to a showroom will allow a future stair lift user to learn how to operate a lift and feel how it rides. EHLS is an example of a showroom located in the northwest suburbs in Chicago that has five fully operational stair lifts that customers can see and test ride.
If you have any questions or would like to learn even more about stair lifts, visit EHLS’ stair lift page or check out Caring Village’s blog about the Top 10 Stair Lift Companies. A stair lift may be a big investment, but it is an investment that is worth it when you consider the safety and independence it provides.