According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 90% of seniors want to age in place, rather than in an assisted living facility. And while around 75% of adults with disabilities live with a parent or caregiver, over 60% would prefer to live independently in their own homes.
Home modifications often make living at home a reality, but aging in place can be particularly difficult for people who struggle with stairs. As a result, stairlifts are becoming increasingly popular (and affordable), especially when compared to the cost of assisted living.
In this blog, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of easy-access stairlifts to help you choose the right one for your home.
This blog is part of our four-part Home Modifications series. To view the other blogs click below:
Part 2: Accessible Bathroom Remodels
Part 3: Making Your Entryway Safer
What Are Indoor Easy-Access Stairlifts & How Do They Work?
Indoor easy-access stairlifts are battery-powered chairs that move up and down your staircase on a stair-mounted rail. Some stairlift models fold up and away when not in use, creating more space on the stairs for those traveling by foot.
Stairlifts typically feature a comfortable swivel seat that makes it easy to get up or sit down at the top or bottom of your steps. These seats lock in place when swiveled away from the landing to ensure they don’t move as you travel up or down.
You can charge your stairlift on a standard outlet, and many come with wireless remotes that provide two user operation. This makes it easier for your caregiver or loved one to help you safely navigate the stairs.
Manual or Power Folding Rails
If there’s a doorway at the bottom of your steps or the rail juts into your hallway and presents a tripping hazard, you can install a folding rail. These rails are less obtrusive in tight spaces because they can be folded up compactly against the wall.
Power Folding Footrests
If you struggle to bend over to fold your stairlift’s footrest up or down, you can add a power folding footrest. These work by automatically folding down as you lift the chairlift seat up. You can also opt for a larger folding footrest if the standard model is too small.
Power Swivel Seats
These seats are designed to help you get safely on and off of your chair if mobility issues prevent you from swiveling manually. Power swivel seats are typically controlled by a switch located on the arm of your chair or your wireless remote control.
Many manufacturers offer a wide variety of colors and fabrics to help you match your stairlift chair with the rest of your decor. Keep in mind that you may only be able to upgrade your seat color and design with certain stairlift models.
What Are Outdoor Easy-Access Stairlifts & How Do They Work?
Outdoor stairlifts operate similarly to indoor models, but the rail and chair are built to withstand rain, snow, extreme heat, and high winds. They’re designed to provide easy and convenient access to everything from decks and patios to driveways and docks. Outdoor stairlifts typically have rails covered with durable outdoor paint and marine-grade vinyl seats.
Most outdoor stairlifts come with some kind of cover to protect them from the elements when not in use. Many come with a bag cover that’s stored beneath the seat and placed over it when the stairlift is stationary. Others feature a permanent canopy that covers the user and stairlift seat at all times.
Straight vs. Curved Easy-Access Stairlifts
There are two main types of easy-access stairlifts: straight and curved. We’ll take a closer look at each one below.
Straight Easy-Access Stairlifts
Straight stairlifts are the most economical option on the market and the most common choice for indoor applications. They’re also much quicker and easier to install than customized curved stairlifts. Straight stairlifts feature a standardized rail that can be cut to size, and you can choose from a variety of manual or power upgrades.
Curved Easy-Access Stairlifts
If your stairs have twists, turns, or intermediate landings, you’ll need to invest in a curved stairlift. Manufacturers tailor these products to fit the exact design of your staircase, providing the safest and most durable solution for your mobility needs.
Who Can Benefit From Easy-Access Stairlifts?
If you’ve asked yourself, “how can I age in place at home?”, a stairlift may be the answer. This is because they’re one of the best ways for people with limited mobility to live comfortably and independently. Whether you’re in a wheelchair or struggle to walk on non-flat surfaces, an easy-access stairlift can significantly improve your quality of life. Most stairlifts can handle a maximum capacity between 300 and 400 pounds, so they are built to suit most individuals.
Benefits of Easy-Access Stairlifts
There are many positives associated with installing an easy-access stairlift in your home. We’ll take a closer look at the three main benefits below.
The most significant benefit of easy-access stairlifts is safety. Rather than struggling with the stairs, your lift carries you safely and securely up and down with the push of a button. That means you can continue to live in the home you love without the risk of serious injury.
All stairlifts come with easy-to-operate seat belts, which provide stability and security as you travel between different levels of your home. Some of these seat belts are even retractable, which keeps them out of the way as you stand up or sit down. Most stairlifts also have sensors that automatically stop the chair if something is in its path.
Easy-access stairlifts also help you maintain your independence, even if you struggle with mobility issues. Rather than fearing a fall on the steps (or avoiding them altogether), you can enjoy your entire residence with confidence. This is especially true if your stairlift is part of a larger system of accessible home modifications.
Peace of Mind
Because they significantly reduce your chance of injury, stairlifts also provide valuable peace of mind for your caregivers and loved ones. Plus (as mentioned previously), you’ll be able to navigate the different levels of your home with less anxiety and stress, boosting your overall wellness.
Easy-Access Stairlifts from UDS Home Modifications
Searching the Internet for “home modification companies near me?” At UDS, we provide customized stairlifts that are tailored to meet your design sensibilities and lifestyle, rather than one-size-fits-all solutions. We’re a home modifications expert with years of experience helping our clients find the right solutions for their unique situation. And while our services aren’t free, profits from our home modification projects support individuals with lower incomes and disabilities.