If you are having trouble getting up and down a flight of stairs, whether indoors or out, stair lifts can provide a way to get to areas that were previously inaccessible. Many disabled individuals don’t use the second floor of their homes, or their basements, because they cannot climb a set of stairs. Installing an elevator can be very costly, however stair lifts are an affordable option for almost any budget, and they can be put in place within an hour or two.
Reconditioned Stair Lifts
A reconditioned stair lift is an option for the budget-conscious individual. Reconditioned stair lifts have been inspected and prepared to run like new prior to being sold again. Most reconditioned stair lifts have been used very little, if at all. They may have had a slight defect, or someone who purchased them had a change of heart and decided they didn’t want one after all. They are in almost new condition, unlike a used stair lift. Reconditioned stair lifts may be purchased for around 25 percent off the new price of the same model. They may come with the original warranty, but it is up to the purchaser to check what the warranty is prior to purchase.
Used Stair Lifts
Used stair lifts vary in quality of appearance, depending upon the amount of use. They may be scratched, dented and have cushions or arm rests that show wear. Many companies that re-sell used stair lifts will check for wear, lubricate and repair the motor and drive train if worn, and in certain cases replace cushions and arm rests if needed prior to selling them. There may not be any warranty with a used stair lift, depending upon the age of the item and the company re-selling it. The cost of a used stair lift is approximately 50 percent off the original purchase price when it was brand new. If your budget is tight, or you don‘t intend on keeping the lift indefinitely, a used model is definitely worth considering.
New Stair Lifts
If you don’t want to worry about potential problems or warranty issues, buying a new stair lift is yet another option. A new lift will have a warranty for parts and any problems that may arise with regular use for a specific period of time.
Stair Lift Uses
Stair lifts can be used for several different areas in and around the home. The most popular use is to have them installed on the main stairway that leads to the upstairs. This makes it possible for a disabled person to navigate stairways and landings that they previously avoided. A second place that a stair lift can be used is the stairs leading to a basement. Often times a basement is where the laundry room or game room is located. A third use is for outdoor areas that may be difficult to maneuver, such as up a hill leading to a recreational area or a difficult to access patio that doesn’t have a handicapped accessible ramp. Be sure to check with the seller to determine whether a stair lift model can be used outdoors in the area where you live prior to purchase.
Considerations Prior to Purchase
While it is easy to decide on a specific stair lift model while surfing the Internet, there is nothing like seeing the item in person prior to installation in your own home. One of the main complaints of new owners is that they didn’t realize how much area on the stairs that the chair itself takes up. While most chairs and footrests can flip up out of the way, this isn’t true for all models. It is important to measure the length of the stairway, as well as the approximate width that the chair will take up.
Another consideration is selecting the most comfortable size seat, which will affect the model selected. Deluxe models can accommodate larger individuals and higher weights, but it is important to keep in mind these models will take up more area on the stairway.
A final consideration is the speed at which the chair travels. A stair lift travels somewhat slowly, so if speed is of the essence, a stair lift may not be a good option for someone that may need to get to a bathroom on another level of the home quickly.
Other Types of Lifts
If a stair lift that uses a chair isn’t for you, there are two other options to make your home accessible on all levels. A similar type of lift that can be installed easily is the perch lift, which you can ride standing up on, while holding onto a perch-like handlebar. The second option is to install an elevator, which can be installed in the home, or can be attached to the outside of the home. An elevator will be more costly, but it may be a solution for those who are wheelchair
bound and don’t have the upper body strength to move from chair to wheelchair frequently.
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