What are Stair Lifts?

Does Your Loved One Need a Stair Lift?

If your parent has mobility issues and requires the assistance of a walking cane, walker, or wheelchair, then you may also want to consider installing a stair lift in either your home, if they currently reside with you, or in their home.

What are Stair Lifts?

Stair lifts, also known as chair lifts, allow users to sit comfortably in a motorized seat that takes them up the stairs using a track mounted to the stair treads.

The motorized gear (power-operated) will move the chair at an appropriate speed while the passenger is securely fastened.

Many stair lifts also have a ‘call and send’ button to return the seat to the top or bottom of the stairs in the event that second individual needs to use it.

Stair lifts offer freedom and independence to those would otherwise not venture upstairs or those who would do so at great risk to their personal safety.

Types of Stair Lifts Available

The three main types of stair lifts available for the home are; straight stair lifts, curved stair lifts, and outdoor stair lifts.

Straight Stair Lifts – Designed for a set of stairs going straight up to a second story or straight down to a basement or lower level. Standardized rails are used and the installation time is usually minimal.

Curved Stair Lifts – Required for applications where there is a curve, bend or landing mid-way up or down the staircase. Installation for curved staircases involves building a custom rail to fit your unique staircase and can take longer to install.

Outdoor Stair Lifts – Typically installed on porches, patios and decks, or to help navigate uneven terrain leading to a pier. Customization may be required depending on whether the stairs are straight or curved.

Outdoor stair lifts are engineered to withstand the elements through the use of marine-grade vinyl and weatherproof covers.

Common Stair Lift Features

Many stair lift companies offer the following features as either standard with their models or as an additional add-on or upgrade.

Folding Seat & Footrest – Designed to help minimize the amount of space the stair lift takes up when not in use. Some models offer a power option that automatically folds the footrest when the seat is lifted.

Swiveling Seat – Allows the user to rotate the seat away from the open stairs for a much safer exit from the stair lift.

Adjustable/Customizable Chairs – Additional comfort in the form of generous padding, adjustable seat height and armrest width makes for a much smoother ride.

Seat Belt and Safety Sensors – Automotive-grade seatbelts help keep riders safely on the chair while the stair lift is in motion. And safety sensors can detect objects on the stairs that may obstruct the stair lift’s function.

Remote Controls – Can be used to automatically “call or send” the stair lift up and down the stairs allowing multiple users to utilize the stair lift.

What to Consider When Evaluating a Stair Lift Company

Consider the following when evaluating each company and ensuring it is the high-quality product you want:

  1. What is the price range you are willing to spend on the stair lift?
  2. Does the company offer a payment plan?
  3. How many different types of stair lifts does the company manufacture?
  4. Do you need an indoor or outdoor stair lift?
  5. How many years of warranty will the company offer?
  6. What are the safety features incorporated into the product?
  7. Is the stairlift self-installed or does it require professional installation?
  8. How does the stairlift handle a power outage?
  9. Is the stairlift battery-operated or electrical?
  10. Do you want to buy or rent the stairlift?

When you answer the questions above, consider both the present and future needs of your aging loved one. Be intentional with your research and review of each of the companies. Being a knowledgeable consumer will put you in the best position possible.

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Brooke worked as a home health and hospice nurse for many years. During her time working with patients and families, she saw the pressures and strain of what caregivers went through while caring for loved ones. Lack of resources to help caregivers prompted her to start a support group for caregivers in her area. Since then Brooke has turned to writing courses for nurses and content writing. In her spare time, she enjoys time with family, her dog and travel.

Dan Fogarty has more than 10 years’ experience in healthcare management and strategic communication. Dan earned his Master’s in Health Communication from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. Dan has served as the Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Intramural Management (OIM), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for 8-years. At present, Dan is the Acting Chief Administrative Officer of the NIH Clinical Center. In 2021, Dan earned the distinct credential of board certification in healthcare management as a Fellow of the ACHE (FACHE). Dan is also an Adjunct Faculty member of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS). Dan is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He earned his Fellow of the ACHE credential in 2021. He has consulted for a variety of healthcare organizations in strategic communication and operational initiatives.