If you live in a multiple-story house and you or someone you live with has mobility issues, a stair lift, also sometimes called a stair glide, can be a good way to make all floors of the home accessible to everyone. There are many different styles of stair lifts available from companies like All-Star Lifts. The type of stairs in the home and the type of mobility issue can help determine which is the best option for you.
Type of Mobility Limitation
A person who is relatively mobile but just has issues with going up stairs may just need a stair chair lift. These are seats that face either to the side of stairs or the bottom of the stairs. They typically have a button or switch that the user pushes to control the up and down motion of the stair glide.
People who can't bend their knees may need one of the standing stair lifts available, which aren't as common. These aren't good for people who can't stand on their own or who get dizzy easily, however.
People in wheelchairs are better off with a wheelchair stair lift, which allows them to stay in their chair without being transferred to the seat of a lift. These take up more room, but some have platforms that can be folded up when not in use.
Type of Stairs
Straight stairs are easiest to find wheelchair lifts or stair lifts to fit, but if you're willing to spend a bit more money, some companies also offer lifts that work on curved stairs. If you have more than one flight of stairs with landings in between, a curved stair lift that goes from the top to the bottom may be more economical and more convenient than separate lifts for each section of stairs.
Check with your insurance company before purchasing any type of lift, as it may cover some or all of the cost if you choose the right lift from the right company. You may also be able to get more of the cost covered if you choose a refurbished lift instead of a new one.
In some cases, renting a lift may make more sense than buying it. This is the case if the person using the lift is only going to be staying in the home for a limited amount of time or if you're planning on selling the house soon to move to one on a single level. Compare the cost to rent per month for the expected length of use to the cost of buying the lift outright.