Gain Independence With A Stairlift

Special Living Magazine

For people with mobility issues, going up and down stairs can be a frightening experience. Not only is it time-consuming but it can be a lot of work. For some, the mere thought of going down the stairs keeps them in bed most of the day.


Without a doubt, a stairlift is one of the most popular solutions for overcoming the problem of negotiating stairs.

Stairlifts come in many shapes and sizes and can accommodate almost any type of stairway, from single-flight, straight stairs to multi-level, curved stairways with several landings – even spiral staircases. 

Standard features on most models include a folding swivel seat, folding armrests and footrests, and easy to use buttons attached to the seat. In addition are portable remotes which are typically located at the top and bottom landings for easy retrieval, seatbelts. They also work for indoor and outdoor environments.

The stairlift is installed so the track ends at the bottom of the stairs (pictured at right).

Many stairlifts are now battery-powered instead of running on AC current so they will remain in operation in the event of a power outage. The average lifespan of a battery system is between two and three and a half years depending on the amount of use. Stairlifts are very reliable and some models have been in service for more than 20 years. Straight stairlift models typically have a very good resale value.

Adam Fine of Accessible Design & Consulting is in the business of modifying homes and buildings for seniors, baby boomers and people with disabilities. When asked about the value of stairlifts he says, “We perform hundreds of home accessibility assessments each year. Although many of them don’t include a stairlift installation, we discuss the possibility of providing a stairlift at some point in the future in approximately 90 percent of our in-home evaluations. Stairlifts are an important part of planning for the future.”

The stairlift curves at the bottom and at the top so the chair is out of the way when it is not being used.

For people with severely limited mobility, an elevator is usually a better alternative because there are no transfers involved. However, for most people, stairlifts provide an exceptional solution for remaining independent. Because they provide steady support and move at a slow pace, some people use a stairlift as a method for helping them to “walk” up stairs for exercise by holding on to the unit as it goes up. They can also be used to carry groceries and other items up and down stairs.

When installing a stairlift, be sure to hire an experienced installer who is knowledgeable about the various models. It’s important that appropriate measurements are taken to ensure a proper fit. 
The stairlift is out of the way of the stairway when it is not being used.

While installation of a stairlift can be completed in about three to five hours, it can take four to six weeks to manufacture the track for a curved stairlift and up to eight weeks for a radius curved stairlift.

The seats, armrests and footrests fold up for added clearance but it’s always best to park the unit at the top or bottom of the stairs so it doesn’t stick out on the stairway. If space is available, the track can be extended around the top or bottom corners of the stairs so the unit can be parked down the hallway.

Installing a stairlift in the home can be a welcome addition for maintaining independence. Today’s stairlifts are more comfortable and better designed than in years past. Newer models run on battery power, and will provide excellent safety, comfort, and ease of use for years to come. 
Additional Stairlift Information:

Outdoor Stairlift Customer Testimonial Video

For more information about Stairlifts and making your home more accessible by installing a stairlift contact:

Adam Fine
Accessible Design & Consulting
866-902-9800 Phone E-mail