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Considerations When Buying a Stairlift

A stairlift, also commonly referred to as a chair lift, is a quiet comfortable piece of equipment used to assist with stair mobility.  It allows the user to sit on a chair that slides up and down a track with a button or remote, giving a person access to the multi-levels of their homes.  It is a great option to allow an individual to have more independent, safe mobility within their home.

The United Disability Services recommends considering seven questions before purchasing a stairlift:

  1. Is it physically safe to ride the lift?
    • Considerations should be given if a stairlift is safe for someone taking certain kinds of medications or who have conditions that may cause a loss of strength or difficulty sitting upright.  A user should be able to sit unaided and upright in a chair without a risk of falling.
  2. Cognitive ability to ride
    • If a user has a tendency towards becoming confused or scared, they may be unable to safely ride a moving stairlift.
  3. Required weight capacity
    • It is recommended to choose a lift that will support a capacity 120% times that of the user to avoid breakdowns that can occur when someone exceeds the weight capacity of the lift
  4. Curved vs. straight
    • A stairlift needs to match the layout of a staircase and consideration should be given to curves and landing points
  5. Width of stairs
    • A general minimum requirement from stairlift manufacturers for stair width is 32”
  6. Codes and Electrical
    • Be aware of the State’s Building Codes and Permit requirements
  7. Other options
    • If a stairlift is not a good option for a user, other options can include Vertical Platform Lifts or Inclined Platform Lifts

During the creation of a life care plan, consideration is given to a patient’s ability, lifestyle, and level of risk to ensure the best equipment is utilized for quality of life and independence.

To learn more please visit the United Disability Services website udsstairlifts.org to read more about stairlift choices, installation, and facts.