Despite the struggles faced by older adults, about 90% of them plan to continue living in their current home for at least 5-10 years. There’s a common thread heard in conversations about aging— reduced mobility and how it often interferes with the dream of aging in place.
Instead of giving up on the dream of independence, many people opt to purchase a stair lift.
Installing a home stair lift means the world to someone who couldn’t otherwise get up and down stairs. Our step-by-step guide takes the mystery out of choosing the unit that works best in your home. Take a few minutes and learn more about the various features available, where to purchase, and your options for covering the cost.
Choosing the Right Type of Stair Lift
If you’ve done even a small amount of research on stair lifts, you already know one size doesn’t fit all needs. You’re unique, and so is your home. Don’t let choosing the right lift for your situation overwhelm you.
There are three main types of residential stair lifts:
- Seated Stair Lift for Straight Staircase
- Seated Stair Lift for Curved Staircase
- Platform Lifts
If you use a wheelchair, an inclined platform lift, also called a wheelchair stair lift, makes an excellent option for people who need to remain in their wheelchair while using a lift.
The ability to walk and climb stairs is essential for independent living. Mobility issues impact 1 in 7 American adults, but many of those individuals can successfully age in place with the right stair lift.
Selecting the right home stair lift means making sure you’re informed about the various standard and optional features. In the next section, we’ll explore a few of the most popular safety features.
Focus on Standard Features
After you’ve installed your new stair lift, you’ll appreciate the wide range of standard features, especially those that help ensure you use your lift safely. Once you’ve determined which brand stair lift you’re interested in, talk with a dealer and ask about the following safety features:
- Swivel Seat Cutoff Switch
- Footrest Obstruction Sensors
- Chassis Obstruction Sensors
- Constant Pressure Controls
- Centrifugal Overspeed brake
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great conversation starter when you meet with the dealer you’ve chosen to handle your stair lift purchase. Don’t forget to inquire about upgrades such as retracting seatbelts.
Stair Lift Upgrades
Aside from upgrades to the seatbelt system, there are several features considered add-ons by some manufacturers. For example, a power folding rail instead of the standard manual rails a must for a person living alone.
Think about ordering your unit with a key lock. Key locks prevent unauthorized people from using the stair lift. People who have young grandchildren usually appreciate this upgrade.
Some stair lift manufacturers offer a heavy-duty unit. This will expand the unit’s weight limit, which can provide more stability for a larger person.
Your Comfort Depends on It
Even if you don’t grow to love your stair lift chair as much as you treasure your recliner chair, you’ll still want to feel comfortable using the lift. A few standard comfort features include:
- High-Capacity 24-Volt Batteries
- Low-Maintenance Rail Systems
- Stowable Seat and Footrest
Another comfort feature to watch for is ergonomic controls. The manufacturer should position them where the hands rest naturally.
You’re likely wondering how batteries impact comfort. Imagine living in a storm-prone part of the country where residents experience frequent power outages. High-capacity batteries can provide up to 40 trips up and down stairs during a power outage, making them not only a comfort feature but a safety feature as well.
Does Every Stair Lift Come with a Warranty?
While most stair lift manufacturers and dealers offer limited warranties on their products, each company structures its own unique warrantee program. It’s not uncommon to buy a lift with a 3-5 year warranty.
You’ll also find the various moving parts have an extended warranty. For example, one model stair lift comes with a 10-year warranty on the gear rack, while the batteries have a 1-year warranty.
Funding Your Stair Lift
Now that you’ve briefly explored stair lift types, features, and warranties, you’re curious about stair lift cost. Like most people, you’re also wondering how to pay for this helpful device.
If you don’t have enough to pay cash for your stair lift, one or more of the following options could work for you:
- Veterans Affairs Waiver
- Financing Through a Stair Lift Dealer
Depending on which path you take toward stair lift ownership, you may need a down payment.
How to Buy A Stair Lift
By now, we imagine you’ve done some research on stair lifts and want to go look at one in person. Do be careful about placing an order online, as the terms can get a little confusing. You know, things like who pays for shipping and arranging for installation.
Instead of wandering around the internet, why not work with a local, certified dealer? You’ll enjoy a range of benefits when working with a certified dealer, including someone to do the heavy lifting.
Did you know most dealers hire factory-trained technicians?
While it’s good to find someone who can complete your stair lift installation, that’s not the only reason to seek counsel from a stair lift professional. A qualified technician will install and service your lift, freeing you from worry and allowing you to get on with your daily routine.
Buying through a dealer streamlines the entire purchase, from choosing the right stair lift to scheduling installation.
We Are Here to Answer Your Questions
With the information in this guide, we hope we’ve empowered you to take the next step toward owning a stair lift for your home. If you’re looking for a dealer who can help you select the right lift and customize it with the features you want and need, we have a nifty tool to locate the dealer nearest your home.
For any questions regarding features and stair lift cost, contact us today. We’re delighted to answer your questions and refer you to a local dealer.