Elevators vs Stair Lifts

Published by Stephen on November 8, 2008 Under stair lifts

People often struggle with the stairs and preventing accidents on the stairs is essential to reducing serious injuries among seniors. For many, this can mean being unable to use all areas of your home, but there are several options available to help make this easier. The two most popular options are stair lifts and residential elevators.

A stair lift is a device that is attached directly to the stairs or wall. A chair or small platform moves along a metal track, carrying a person safely up the stairs. Depending on the type, they can support over five hundred pounds. A stair lift is operated using a hand control or remote control. These devices can help eliminate accidents on the stairs.

One of the downsides of a stair lift is that if you use a wheelchair, you might not be able to easily bring it with you. This would be especially true of electric wheelchairs. Instead, you would need an elevator to easily transport an individual using a wheelchair or scooter. There are several popular options available that allow for fairly easy installation into wooden framed homes.

While functionally, an elevator is far superior, there are several downsides. The cost is sometimes the biggest consideration. Most stair lifts will cost less than $3000, but an elevator can easily cost many times this. The exception to this would be for curved stairs, which can be much more expensive to outfit with a stair lift.

The other consideration is the amount of home modification required. An elevator will need a vertical shaft between floors and represents a fairly serious home modification, which is in part why they cost more.

A stair lift, on the other hand, can often be installed by the homeowner in only a few hours. Do-it-yourself kits are available for straight staircases that can be quickly installed, with little modification to the home. They can even be used outdoors and on brick or concrete stairs.

Choosing between an elevator and stair lift is an important decision. There are many factors that should be considered. Many physically require the added functionality of an elevator, so determining your needs will be important.

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