Climbing stairs can become a challenge for people as they grow older. This can be due to aging joints, less mobility and a loss of balance. Moving to a single story house is one way to overcome this problem, but most people prefer aging in place. A stairlift allows seniors to still reach the upper floors of the homes they love.
Stairlifts are motorized chairs that carry people up and down stairs. They’re also known as chair lifts or stair gliders. These mechanical devices are mounted on treads and have a chair or lifting platform attached. The addition of a stairlift in the home can help people with mobility issues move around safely. For older adults with a fear of losing their balance and falling down the stairs or whose knees and hips can’t take the strain of stair climbing, stairlifts can also give them confidence to remain living in their own home.
Stairlift designs can be adapted to suit all types of stairways. Curved stairlifts are custom designed and, as the name suggests, curve around any changes in direction. This allows riders to stay in a single chair until they reach the top of the stairs, rather than changing to a second lift. This makes them the best choice for stairs with landings.This article discusses the best brands of stairlifts that can navigate landings and what to look for when choosing a stairlift.
AmeriGlide has a large selection of new, used and refurbished options that suit a wide range of budgets. The company offers used curved stairlifts, which is rare due to the customization involved. The Platinum Curved is their curved stairlift option, and it can be adapted to nearly any staircase configuration. Customers have the option of adding stop points on landings, which is perfect for people who need the lift to go to multiple floors. The seats on these stairlifts are ergonomic and there are upgrades available, including an automatic chair fold and swivel function. AmeriGlide includes the cost of installation in the price, which can help seniors on a budget. The company sells direct and has stores located across the United States, so those interested can easily speak to experts and learn about the available options.
Bruno is well known for its innovative designs and high manufacturing standards. It has a unique vertical rail system that offers more stability, while taking up less space. Their curved option is The Elite Curved. It is the best product for larger people, since it can hold a maximum weight of 400 pounds. These stairlifts are custom-built, so they can fit any style of stairway. Although this brand is more expensive up-front, many experts agree that the high quality of the equipment results in fewer ongoing costs. Some of the features include audible diagnostic readouts for users with poor eyesight, obstruction sensors and a remote device to call or send the chair to another floor. Bruno also incorporates continuous charge strips, so batteries charge on every point of the rail.
Savaria is a global leader in mobility devices, and their standard stairlift package comes with a range of features that fit most people’s needs. Their curved staircase solution is called the Stairfriend. It features large batteries that keep it working longer during power outages. Seniors can choose a medium or large seat to suit their desired comfort level, and seats come with adjustable armrests. The infrared remote sends signals through obstructions, so it’s easy to call the chair even if the staircase has twists and turns. The most unique feature is the out-of-way parking. To achieve this, the rail goes around the corner at the top and bottom of the staircase, allowing the chair to be kept tucked away when not in use, leaving more space for other stair users.
There are two types of stairlifts available: straight and curved. Straight stairlifts use a straight rail to go up a single flight of stairs. Curved stairlifts have rails that are manufactured to follow the direction and angle of the stairs. This allows them to traverse landings or follow the path of a spiral staircase.
As each staircase is different, most curved stairlifts are custom designed. This makes them a more expensive option than a straight stairlift. They also have to be built from scratch, so they take longer to deliver and install. However, they’re considered the safer and more convenient option for staircases with landings. While it’s possible to use two straight stairlifts to navigate a landing, the rider must change seats. A curved stairlift keeps the landing from becoming crowded for both the rider and other people in the house. It also saves seniors from changing seats in a small space that doesn’t allow a carer to help and is difficult to maneuver.
Assessing the potential rider’s mobility and limitations is the first step when deciding on the right stairlift. Mobility experts can help assess any modifications needed and recommend brands that allow the senior to get in and out of the seat safely. It’s also important to take the weight and height of the rider into account. Alternative seats and adjustable footrests are available for those who are particularly large or tall.
A senior’s budget and time constraints are other factors to consider. Base packages for curved stairlifts start at around $6,200, but the final cost depends on the types of turns, stair height and the complexity of the installation. The final cost can reach $15,000 or more. Some companies charge extra for installation, and it’s very rare for homeowners to be able to self-install a curved stairlift. Due to the customization required, curved stairlifts can take a month or more to be delivered and installed. People who require a solution quickly may need to look for a company with a fast turnaround time.
The power source is also important to consider. Stairlifts are either wired to the household electrical supply or run on battery power. Devices that run on AC power with battery backup are becoming more common and allow the lift to continue working in the event of a power outage. If opting for a battery-only option, seniors should check how big the battery is and how long it takes to charge. Seniors may need to have an additional electrical outlet installed near the stairs to be able to charge their stairlift.
Other features include safety options, such as lifts that detect obstructions and automatically stop if they’re in danger of hitting something. Remotes are a popular accessory as they allow the rider to call the chair to them. This is especially convenient if more than one person will be using the chair.