A stair lift can make an entire house accessible to a senior citizen or another person with limited mobility. Stair lifts come in a variety of sizes and configurations and can fit nearly any staircase. Here are some things to consider to help you decide which type of stair lift is right for your home.
Stair lifts can be made to fit both straight and curved staircases. Straight stair lifts are more common because the majority of staircases are straight. A stair lift can be customized to go around a 90- or 180-degree turn or across a flat landing. In the park position, the stair lift wraps around the corner and parks away from the landing. A straight stair lift can typically be installed in a matter of days after the order is placed. Because it needs to be custom-built, a curved stair lift can take four to eight weeks to install and will cost three to four times as much.
The size of stair lifts also varies. Most stair lifts are designed for a staircase that is 36 inches wide. Larger stair lifts take up 24 inches of space. A narrow stair lift can fold up to within 11 inches of the wall. The size you choose will depend on the width of the staircase, as well as any obstructions, such as a handrail or decorative trim.
Stair lifts have weight capacities ranging from 250 to 500 pounds. The capacity depends on the strength of the lift’s drive system and the rail and carriage system. A stair lift may be capable of carrying more than its rated capacity, but that increases the risk of accidents. It is recommended that a stair lift be purchased with a weight capacity 25 percent greater than the weight of the person who will be using it to allow for weight fluctuations and to avoid wearing out the lift.
Stair lifts can be used both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor stair lifts are designed to withstand moisture and extreme temperatures. An outdoor lift can be used indoors, but an indoor lift should never be used outdoors.
If you or a family member has limited mobility, a stair lift could be the solution. Lifts can be customized to fit nearly any home and make all of the rooms in the house accessible.