As one gets older, traveling up and down the stairs can be increasingly difficult. Elderly individuals may experience tiredness, shortness of breath, or even soreness.
Sadly, millions of people aged 65 and older fall each year. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four older persons will fall each year, and falling once will double the chances that that person will fall again.
At the same time, most older individuals do not want to move from their homes. The American Association of Retired Persons found that nearly 90% of people over 65 years of age want to live in their homes for as long as possible. There are many things that can be done to easily increase safety in the home.
One way to increase safe mobility while still allowing elderly individuals to live in their homes is to install a stair lift. Stair lifts are a cost-effective way to increase an older person’s independence by making their home more accessible and safe.
But stair lifts come in many shapes and sizes, and the “one size fits all” approach that many stair lift companies have may not offer the solution that works best for your circumstances. Keep reading to learn how to choose stair lifts for the elderly so you can purchase the perfect stair lift for your needs!
How to Choose Stair Lifts for the Elderly
1. Consider Mobility Features
Stair lifts come with a variety of optional features that can increase safety, comfort, and practicality.
For instance, a power fold footrest can be extremely important if you use a walker because it allows you to back up directly to the seat without the obstruction of a footrest. It also can make it easier to sit down and get up from the lift because you don’t have to step around the footrest.
With some units, you can even opt for an oversized footrest if you find it difficult to bend your legs. These special footrests allow you to extend your legs further out.
Additionally, a retractable rail can prevent tripping at the base of the stairs and clear the walkway at the lower landing.
A power swivel simplifies the stair lift operation and makes it much easier to use. In fact, it is often a necessity with users who have limited hand or leg strength to swivel the chair at the upper landing manually. When you arrive at the upper landing, the chair will automatically swivel to a position where you may safely get off the lift.
For persons with extremely limited mobility or for those who are not able to remain in a seated position, a safety harness and/or ankle restraint will safely secure riders on the chair.
2. Choose the Right Type of Stair Lift
The type of stair lift you choose will depend on the staircase in your home. Both types of stair lifts described below attach directly to the stair treads, so they don’t require any construction. Stair lifts also use minimal power, and the chairs fold up when not in use.
Here are the two stair lifts you can choose from:
- Straight stair lifts are ideal for straight flights of stairs.
- Curved stair lifts are designed to fit just about any staircase that curves, has one or more landings, and/or has pie-shaped stairs. These models are custom-fit to your staircase.
In the end, the type of stair lift you choose simply depends on the design of your home.
3. Create a Budget
Though stair lifts are the most cost-effective option for addressing mobility concerns, it’s still important to create a realistic budget.
Stair lift prices typically depend on the type of stair lift you choose. Straight stair lifts generally cost between $2,500 and $5,500, while curved units typically start around $10,000 as they are custom designed to fit your staircase.
If you need a more cost-effective alternative, a reconditioned stair lift may be a good option. These lifts are lightly used and reconditioned to be re-installed in homes.
4. Take Into Account Weight Limit and Seat Size
Next, you may need to account for the stair lift weight limit.
Typical stair lifts have a weight capacity of 300 pounds. However, some stair lifts can reach up to 350 to 400 pounds, with straight stair lifts generally supporting more weight than curved ones.
However, the weight limit isn’t the only thing that should be considered.
Seat width and the distance between armrests are other factors to consider. If you would like more seat room, be sure to talk to your local stair lift sales consultant so you can find a comfortable chair that works for you!
5. Choose a Stair Lift Company Who Can Help With Installation and Service
Stair lifts are construction-free, but they still need to be installed onto your staircase safely and properly. Unfortunately, not all online dealers of stair lifts offer installation and maintenance services.
The right stair lift company will offer the services needed to professionally install and maintain the stair lift you purchase. Check to see if the company has factory-trained technicians and abides by permit and licensing requirements.
Visit a Stair Lift Showroom Near You!
Arrow Lift is committed to helping you feel safe in your home, which is why, as one of the largest stair lift dealers in the U.S., we have a variety of straight, curved, and reconditioned stair lifts for you to choose from!
Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation or schedule a time to visit one of our local showrooms to “test-drive” functioning stair lift models.