As an individual gets older, it is only natural that we can find everyday activities difficult, such as climbing the stairs. Installing a stairlift is often a low-cost, simple solution for those with limited mobility due to injury, disability, or chronic diseases.
Benefits of A Stairlift
A stairlift is a device that helps people with limited mobility climb stairs. It’s often used in homes, businesses, and other buildings where it can be difficult to get up or down the steps on your own. If you’re experiencing difficulty climbing slopes such as those found when walking upstairs because of injury or illness, then this could be an option for you!
Stairlifts are typically composed of a railing system customized to fit the customer’s staircase. Stairlifts are designed to move at a speed of 2.5 inches per second and can be installed in any staircase without the need for major structural alterations.
With aging, people are finding it increasingly difficult to climb the stairs. Stairlifts provide a safe and affordable way for seniors to access their homes. Stairlifts come in all types, including outdoor and those with curved stairway compatibility.
Stairlifts make it possible for seniors to age in place and stay independent. They are an integral part of keeping your home safe when you choose to age in place.
Tips For Buying Your Stairlift
Follow these tips to make the process of buying your new stairlift as stress-free as possible. By following these tips, you ensure that you get the right stairlift for your individual needs based on your health, house, and preferences.
1. Understand Your Needs
Before buying a stairlift, it is important to understand your needs. An outdoor stairlift may not be the best solution for someone who doesn’t spend much time outside their home. A curved staircase version of a stairlift would work better if you have stairs that are shaped like an “S” or “U.”
There are many different types of stairlifts, including:
Curved Stairlifts – Curved stairlifts have stairs that are shaped like an “S” or “U.” The rail on a curved stairlift will bend to the exact angle that your staircase bends for a seamless fit that takes up the least amount of space. This is the perfect option for stairs that are spiral, curved, or land halfway up.
Custom Stairlifts – Custom stairlifts are designed to fit any type of staircase. They can be custom-built and installed on straight, curved, or steep stairs. For a custom stairlift, there is first a measurement; then the stairlift rail is designed and manufactured; finally, it is installed in your home. This ensures seamless transportation up and down your stairs.
Modular Stairlifts – Modular stairlifts are a great option for straight and curved stairs. They work on both single-width or double-width staircase runs, with the rail positioned either outside or inside of each step. The rail also can be flipped to accommodate spiral stairs.
Straight Stairlifts – Straight stairlifts have a rail that runs parallel with the steps leading up to it. These lifts tend to be less expensive than other options because they require little installation work beyond bolting hardware into place and running cables through walls, floors, or ceilings.
Outdoor Stairlifts – If you enjoy time outside in the garden, backyard, driveway, or garage, you will want to look into purchasing an outdoor stairlift. These units are built and designed to be weather-resistant. They can withstand strong winds, rain, snowfall, extreme sun exposure, and more with little maintenance or upkeep necessary.
Heavy-Duty Stairlifts – This option is designed specifically to withstand a high weight capacity. Most heavy-duty stairlifts can safely hold up to 300 lbs. If weight capacity is a problem for you, be sure to speak to the salesperson about these needs when shopping for a stairlift.
Inclined Platform Lifts (IPLs) – These lifts can transport a wheelchair and its user up and down the stairs on a level platform. These units allow wheelchair users to travel up and down stairs independently, when before they would have been restricted to using only elevators for this purpose. They are also equipped with safety sensors, so you don’t need to worry while going from floor to floor.
2. Get Advice
If you are unsure about which stairlift is right for you and your home, get advice from someone with experience. It is important to make sure you are informed before buying any type of medical equipment so you can be confident in your purchase and not regret it later.
You can get advice from the Occupational Therapy Department of your local social services. They will be able to assess your home and give you a list of different options and their pros/cons.
They will also be able to tell if the stairlift is too expensive for your budget or not.
3. Compare Different Brands and Models
Do not go with the first option you see. Get several quotes from several different companies on different models. Then, compare prices and features. It is also a good idea to look at reviews for the stairlifts online. This will give you a good idea if someone else enjoys that stairlift or has nothing but complaints about it.
Finding a good company that offers affordable, high-quality stairlifts is essential to your long-term health. The last thing you want is your stairlift to break down halfway up or down the stairs.
4. Ask Questions
When talking to a sales representative, don’t be afraid to ask questions. They should be able to answer any questions or concerns that you have about stairlifts you are looking at.
Some questions you should ask include:
- What models of stairlifts does your company sell?
- What are the differences in models?
- Does this price cover the supply and installation of the stairlift?
- Can you assess my staircase to give a personalized quote?
- What is the warranty?
- Are there any financing options available for this purchase?
- Can you provide a list of references or testimonials from your previous customers?
Keep in mind that it is never a good idea to be rushed into making a decision. Salesmen are there to sell you if they are pushy or are trying to rush you into buying a stairlift, don’t!
The model they are pushing you to buy may not actually be the best option for you. It might just earn them a bigger incentive if they sell that one stairlift. Do your own due diligence and take some time to think about all of your options before laying any money down.
5. Assess Their After-Sales Service
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a stairlift is the reliability of the equipment and company. Gauge their customer service and ask what happens if your stairlift breaks. Do they offer repairs and maintenance, or do you have to pay extra for those services?
Find a company you can trust that has great customer service and high-quality products. It might take some time and lots of research to find the right stairlift, but it will be well worth the effort.
6. Consider Additional Features and Options
You should also consider additional features and options that come with certain stairlifts. There are also self-propelled lifts available for people who like a little extra luxury in their life, which allow those with mobility issues to enjoy some of the independence they once had.
Some options offer a variety of safety features, including seatbelts, harnesses, armrests, rechargeable batteries, a folding chair, sensors, key locks, and more.
The Costs of a Stairlift
Depending on your needs, a stairlift will cost anywhere between $2,800 and $5,000. If you are in the market for an electric or hydraulic model, expect to pay more money up-front as they can be quite expensive. But remember, these models come with many benefits, such as easy installation and no need to worry about changing batteries.
It is important not only to have enough funds available now but also to know how much it could end up costing down the road if something breaks because some companies charge by the hour when providing after-sales service.
Financial Assistance For Stairlift Costs
If you are looking to buy a stairlift and have financial difficulties, there is still hope. Various programs exist to help people who can’t afford medical equipment.
Financial assistance available for people looking to purchase a stairlift includes:
Medicaid: You can qualify for help with Medicaid if you are over 65 or have a disability. In many states, Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers allow seniors to obtain financial assistance for medically necessary upgrades to their homes.
Supplemental Security Income: If your income is low, then there may be some assistance available to buy medical equipment, including stairlifts under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
Income-based programs: Some states provide special financing through their public benefits agency using an income-based repayment plan that helps individuals pay off their debt related to healthcare expenses such as a new stairlift purchase cost.
Veterans Benefits: The Veterans Administration (VA) and the Department of Defense maintain a list of medical equipment eligible for purchase with funds from their programs. The Veterans Administration is typically more generous than Medicare when it comes to stairlifts. Check out the benefits applicable to you on their website.
Medicare: Medicare provides limited coverage for home modifications. Standard Medicare typically does not cover the costs of a stairlift purchase or installation in a residential home. Under Medicares guidelines, a stairlift is considered a home modification and not medical equipment. In some cases, Medicare Part B might help cover the costs of the seat lift mechanism.
Tax Credit: If you qualify for the Medical Expense Tax Credit, a stairlift can be deducted. The medical expense tax credit is available to those who have unreimbursed qualified medical expenses exceeding a certain percentage of your adjusted gross income (AGI).
Insurance: Some private medical insurance companies cover the costs of purchasing a stairlift. However, maintenance or repair costs are not covered by insurance. If you have private medical insurance, contact your insurer to see if they offer coverage for this type of equipment.
Pre-Owned Stairlifts: There are many pre-owned stairlifts available for purchase. They should be checked thoroughly and repaired before use but could provide a more affordable option than purchasing new ones.
You will find that installing a stairlift will give you access to the whole of your home with ease, comfort, and convenience. It is also much more cost-effective when compared to the cost of converting your existing home having or having to relocate to a single-story accommodation.
Buying a stairlift can be overwhelming due to how many options are available. Follow the tips in the guide to ensure that you buy the right stairlift based on your wants and medical needs.