Top 10 Need-to-Knows About
Purchasing a Stairlift *
Helena Brennert, RN, BSN
HME Clinical Resource Educator
10 Things you need to know about using, installing, and purchasing a Stairlift for your home:
1. Stairlifts are seated, motorized lifting devices that help transport between levels or floors within people’s homes.
2. Stairlifts provide seniors with the safety and freedom to continue living independently and ageing at home
3. Stairlift installation is recommended for people who want to decrease the risks caused by accidents and falls on steps and stairs. Accidental falls on steps and can result in a broken/fractured bone and a variety of other injuries.
4. Stairlifts are extremely easy to use once they have been installed. Once seated, simply lower the footrest, put on the seat belt, push the ‘up’ button and the device will move up the stairs in a gradual and steady motion.
5. Purchasing stairlifts from most dealers and manufacturers come with a free initial visit by specialists who can assess the requirements and provide a quote.
6. There are 2 different types of stairlifts: Straight & Curved
Straight Stairlifts are installed on stairs that have no curves, turns or intermediate landings. If the staircase is straight, a standardized straight rail stairlift is easily installed within the same week. The cost is approximately $3,400.
Curved Stairlifts are installed on curved staircases or those with landings and require it to be custom built to fit and of the home’s curves and turns. Customizing and installing takes a bit longer and the price is generally higher than straight stairlift options. Curved stairlifts could be approximately $12,000 -$21,000 and might take up to 2 weeks or longer. There are different types of curved stairs: L-shaped, U-shaped, C-shaped, and double 90.
An alternative to purchasing a curved stairlift in some cases is installing 2 straight stairlifts. This option may not be suitable for all staircases but can be a more economical option for homes with landings in their staircases. What is most important is that all mobility and accessibility needs are being addressed by an accessibility expert during your initial assessment to determine your home’s best stairlift option.
7. Stairlifts do not damage walls. They are installed into the floor of the staircase and are easily removable.
8. At the end of a stairlift, on some models, there is a section that can be folded up manually or automatically to keep the track end out of the way to prevent any tripping hazard.
9. Stairlift warranties vary between companies, here is an example. 6 months labour, 5 years motor and 2 years moving parts guarantee includes a 3-month battery guarantee as well.
10. Not all stairlifts are made the same; like any product, you need to research the quality and costs before purchasing any stairlift. Take the time to read Google reviews and get answers to your questions ahead of time. Most dealers and manufacturers have various stairlift models set up in showrooms; try them out first before making any decisions.