Stair Lifts

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Stairlifts

A stair lift, also known as a staircase lift or stairlift, is a mechanically powered device with a seat, often fitted with seatbelt and armrests, that brings people up and down the stairs. It's a highly effective way for people with mobility difficulties to get up and down the stairs without the risk of slipping or falling. Most people with mobility issues want to remain independent, which is why installing a stair lift is well worth the price for the benefits. It enables people to move around a multi-level home and lessens the burden on family and friends to help them get around.

At Jameson Medical, we know how positively life-changing an investment in a stairlift can be. Our guide will help you understand and sort through the various options for stairlifts so that you can find the best one for you.


Ultimate Guide to Buying Stair Lifts – Everything You Need to Know

Investing in a stair lift requires a lot of research before purchasing. There are several factors to consider, from the type of stair lift and the companies to the prices and whether Medicare or Medicaid covers the cost of buying it.

How Do They Work?

Stair lifts are standard across the market, and most feature electrically powered sources that operate via a standard wall outlet available in any home. Some newer stair lifts powered by batteries will plugin when the chair is not in use so that the chair can still have power if there is an electricity outage.

Some makes and models will have different features and controls, but all stairlifts will generally work the same: via a simple switch that controls the chair's movement. A person can sit or stand on the chairlift and pick up the remote control. When the user presses the switch, the chair will move either up or down the stairs.

At the end of the ride, the stairlift will stop, and the user will unload. If the chair stops anywhere between the top and bottom of the staircase, sometimes the stairlift will stop operating. It will make a noise to indicate that it has not yet reached the top or bottom of the staircase.

A common misconception about stairlifts is that they attach to and damage the wall in the home. The stair lift connects to the tread of the stairs via brackets — the installation results in no damage to the home walls.

Types of Stair Lifts

The most suitable kind of stair lift will vary depending on the home. There are two main types of stair lifts: straight and curved. Other sub-categories include outdoor, bariatric, stairlift/cargo combo, and stairlifts for split staircase, these can are usually straight stairlifts. Regardless of type, stair lifts improve mobility and help a person live independently.

Here is some more information about these two main categories:

Straight

Straight stair lifts are for straight staircases. They are simple, inexpensive, and the least complicated to install. They can fit on either side of a staircase (railing side or wall side) and can be indoor or outdoor. You can usually store them (armrests and footrest folded up) when not in use. These stair lifts can also often swivel when at the top or bottom of the stairs so that exiting the chair is safe.

Curved

Curved stair lifts are slightly more expensive, as they are tailored and designed for a particular staircase. Manufacturers can design them to fit staircases that are multi-floor, multi-landing, and even spiral staircases. Like straight stair cases, they can also swivel at the top or bottom of the stairs for exiting safely. They can also usually store away when not in use.

Sub-Categories

These categories are some of the specialty stairlift options that we sell at Jameson Medical.

  • Outdoor - An outdoor stair lift provides extra protection from the elements, with features such as a protective cover and a rust-proof railing. The powered components also have protection from the elements. These units can be straight or curved, and you can install them for transportation in outdoor places such as porches or decks.
  • Split Staircase - A split staircase has a landing in the middle, usually for two sets of stairs going in different directions. You can have curved tracks customized to accommodate split landings, but the simplest and least expensive solution is to have two chair lifts installed.
  • Platform - A platform staircase, or lifting staircase, is useful for those who use wheelchairs or walkers. It is a large platform without a chair that goes up and down the stairs.
  • Geriatric - These stair lifts have extra power, and custom-built models can carry up to 600lbs.
  • Cargo - Some chair lifts offer cargo-carrying capability, which is convenient for those who need help getting shopping items or other things up and down the stairs.

Customization & Extra Features

In terms of customization with chair lifts, most features can fit an individual's unique needs to maximize mobility in the home. Everything from being straight or curved to the seat cushion, materials, and safety features can be bespoke.

  • Custom track - The track can accommodate a particular shape of staircase based on its length and width. It can even be custom-built to extend past and around the railing so that the user can exit and enter the chair while it is not over the stairs.
  • Battery power - Most stair lift units come with custom rechargeable options so that in the event of a power outage, the stair lift is still usable on battery power.
  • Seat options - The type of seat, as well as materials and fabric options, can also tailor to the safety needs of the user, such as being a standing stair lift or a sitting or platform one. Also, the creator can enhance the seat to have a swivel capability of up to 90 degrees. Swivel seats can offer safe transitions in and out of the seat.
  • Remote control - Custom remote control options can offer controls at the top and bottom of the staircase, as well as on the chair lift itself so that multi-user households need not worry about accessing the unit when it's on the opposite end of the stairs.
  • Locks - Custom locks can prevent unauthorized use.

Jameson Medical can also offer extra parts for stair lifts that make installation and use easier.

Safety & Special Needs

The purpose of a stair lift is to allow senior citizens and users who require assistance to get up and down a staircase. It allows users to live independently and have ease of mobility getting around their home. Safety is the biggest priority when it comes to stair lifts because it is usually a senior citizen or a person with a disability using it.

Safety needs vary based on the user. For example, someone who has trouble sitting and standing can get a stair lift that has a standing seat (much like a barstool), so it puts less strain on them.

Another important safety consideration is the remote control. In all makes and models of stair lifts, the chair will not move unless the user presses a button. The internal safety mechanism ensures that if the person becomes incapacitated on the ride up or down, the chair will not continue moving and endanger them. The seatbelt should protect the user in case of a rare malfunction.

One last important safety consideration is potential unauthorized use. The general recommendation is to install locks in family homes where there are children who may want to take a joyride on the chairlift. The locks also protect residents in a home where older people may have a mental disorder that puts them at risk of operating the stairlift incorrectly. This safety feature typically requires the chair operator to possess a key to make the chair go; the chair will not move without this key.

Stair Lift Installation

Installation of a stair lift can happen in one of two ways: 1) by the manufacturer/seller, or 2) by the user, their family, or someone they know. Regardless of who installs the lifts, it is crucial that they correctly installed the stair lift to ensure safe operation. Self-installation may be more convenient and less expensive, but there is a risk of improper installation, which can put the user in danger. It can also result in damage to the stairs, house, or railing.

Having a professional install the stair lift is the best way to ensure that proper installation. On the off chance of an improperly installed unit, the user and their family are not at fault. The company should cover any cost of repair or damage.

Jameson Medical offers installation services for stair lifts. The cost varies based on the complexity of the stair lift installed and other factors such as:

  • Consultation
  • Material of stairs
  • Modifications to the stair lift
  • Additional safety features requested
  • Modifications to powered components
  • The overall difficulty of the project

Other dealers of stairlifts will likely also offer stairlift installation services. When purchasing from Jameson Medical, we recommend requesting a professional installation service. By investing in our products and services, you can be confident of a correctly and efficiently installed stair lift with protection from any issues.

Stair Lift Warranty

With any significant investment like stair lifts, a warranty is crucial. It protects the purchase and covers any damage or parts replacement. Typically, there are two warranties available for stair lifts:

Lifetime

A full lifetime warranty will cover all parts, care, and support for stair lifts. If anything goes wrong with the stair lift, a specialist will come to the home for a consultation. They will inspect the mechanism for damage and repair.

Repairs of any damages will be available at no additional cost. The fix is available regardless of how long the user has been operating the stair lift.

Lifetime warranties are useful. With stair lifts, most damage happens after a long time, so support will be necessary later in the product's lifespan rather than within the first five years. Therefore, it is worth it to purchase a lifetime warranty. Some models of stair lifts will come with this warranty, but with others, you will need to buy this warranty separately. Our Medallion and Nautilus chair lifts come with a lifetime warranty.

Limited

A limited warranty covers the parts, care, and support of stair lifts for a limited time. The most standard limited warranty is for five years. If anything happens to the stair lift in the first five years of ownership, the repairs come at no cost.

Just like with the lifetime, a specialist will come out to the home, inspect the unit, and perform repairs. Limited protection is better than none, but we recommend the lifetime to protect the device past the five-year mark of ownership.

Warranties can be challenging to navigate but not impossible. Some manufacturers might include them in the cost, and Medicare or Medicaid may also cover the cost. Chat with a Jameson Medical representative today and learn more about stairlift warranties.

Maintenance

The best stair lift units will need little to no maintenance. However, there are a few things that you can do at home to prolong the lifespan of a stair lift.

  • Clean it regularly - Use a duster or a damp cloth and wipe the track and seat once or twice a week to avoid the buildup of dust or dirt.
  • Lubricate the track (if needed) - Most units sold by Jameson Medical will not need lubrication as they are grease free, but models by other manufacturers or companies might. Always use approved lubricants when performing this activity.
  • Check moving parts occasionally - Take extra care to inspect the seat, arms, footrest, and other moving parts. A thorough review ensures that everything is running smoothly, and nothing is falling out or wiggling when it shouldn't.
  • Replace batteries as recommended by manufacturers - Some batteries will need replacement every 2-3 years. You want to keep up with checking the batteries as a dead battery on a stair lift will not move you up or down the stairs.

Preventive maintenance and care go a long way in extending the lifespan of a stairlift. Although it's not necessary, it can be beneficial to check every once in a while to make sure everything is running smoothly and to support the user's mobility fully.

How Much Does a Stair Lift Cost?

The prices and costs of stair lifts vary greatly and depend on several factors. Prices can vary due to factors such as:

  • Brand
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Model
  • Seat size
  • Length, fit, and complexity of track in the home
  • Extra safety features and options
  • Labor and parts
  • Warranties
  • Coverage by Medicare and Medicaid
  • Other factors not listed here

The most important thing is to check with manufacturers before purchasing. You want to verify the cost of the stairlift and know what comes with the price of purchase. Extra costs can incur from unexpected items sometimes, but Jameson Medical will always be open and happy to converse about prices for stair lifts.

Tips for Choosing a Stair Lift for Your Home

Stair lifts are essential for improving the mobility of someone in their own home while maintaining their independence. These lifts can cost a pretty penny, so it's important to know what to look for when purchasing. There are dozens of different stair lifts on the market today, and choosing the best model for your home at the perfect price can seem like a daunting task.

Here are some tips for choosing a stair lift that will be the perfect fit for your home and enable the maximum mobility of the user:

Know Which Type You Need

As stated before, the type of stair lift chosen will depend on the need. A straight or curved design may be necessary to fit a stair lift into your home. You also want to consider indoor or outdoor usage.

We advise that you make a list of the desired features for the stair lift to determine the best fit (straight or curved) for your home. For example, if the staircase in question has landings, it can be best to get either one curved or two straight stair lifts.

If you're not sure which type of stairlift you need, request a consultation and let Jameson Medical help.

Be Aware of Features

Knowing which extra features you'll need is also necessary when choosing a stair lift. Seatbelts, different kinds of seats, and modifications to the remote all can help you choose the best stair lift.

Know What Will Fit

Measure your home and compare different models on the market to find the unit that will fit your stair case best. Measure yourself, too: Weight capacity and width of the seat in various lifts and models also are necessary considerations when purchasing.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a stair lift for your home can seem overwhelming, but you can simplify the task if you know what to look for and which questions to ask when purchasing. We strongly recommend starting with a consultation so that you can ask questions and learn more about your purchase.

Here are some critical questions to ask:

  • How much will this stair lift cost with (x) features?
  • Do the powered parts of this stair lift need maintenance?
  • Which lifts offer the best features?
  • How will this stair lift improve the mobility of the user?
  • What are the prices of the various models?

Asking these questions can help you make informed decisions. After all, stair lifts are a permanent installation in your home that will improve the mobility of the user and allow independent, dignified living.

Call Jameson Medical today and arrange a consultation so you can get started improving yours or a loved one's mobility today.