Perhaps you or a loved one would benefit from having a stair lift at home. It’s an excellent idea to help you stay mobile during the day and age in place in the long run. However, if you have a curved staircase, a lift may be a bit more complicated to come by. To help you navigate the process, we’ll go through the best options for curved stair lifts, as well as key considerations for getting one.
What are the benefits of stair lifts?
A stair lift means so much more than getting up and down the stairs. It’s a way for seniors to prevent injury, restore their independence and age in place with dignity. As you consider the high price tag of stair lifts, it’s good to remember how they can transform daily living. It may be the right choice to allow your loved one to age in place and ensure safety at home.
Do stair lifts come curved?
There are several varieties of stair lifts available, including straight, curved, outdoors and custom. A curved stair lift simply means that the track of the chair isn’t straight, but rather fitted to the shape of the stairs. Generally, a curved track is more expensive because it’s custom-made for your staircase.
What features does a curved stair lift have?
You should be aware that curved stair lifts range in quality and traits. As you’re researching stair lifts, you should ask yourself whether it has the following key features:
- Rail type (straight, curved or custom)
- Weight capacity
- Upholstery type
- Foldable seat, rail, footrest, armrest, etc.
- Colors of seat and rail
- Battery life or charger
- Ergonomic controls
- Low noise
- Diagnostic display
- LED lights
- Remote control
- Seat belt and safety features
- Emergency sensors
- Remote call
Stair lifts can be more complex than you might have thought! They may or may not have all the features listed above. The most important ones to highlight include the rail type, weight capacity, safety features and warranty.
How much do curved stair lifts cost?
Unfortunately, curved stair lifts are much more expensive than regular straight lifts. While a straight lift will go for as low as $1,500, a curved lift starts at about $6,000. That’s because curved stair lifts are custom-made to your staircase.
If you’re looking at getting a curved stair lift, be aware that this price can quickly rise, depending on how complicated your staircase is. In fact, many curved stair lifts easily range from $8,000-$14,000.
If you’re on the market for a refurbished or used stair lift, you may be able to save on the initial price. Overall, refurbished stair lifts will save you a couple hundred dollars. This may or may not be a worthwhile investment, because refurbished lifts don’t usually come with warranty.
On the other hand, if you don’t plan on using the stair lift for very long – for example, you have a temporary injury – you might consider a stair lift rental. Rentals usually cost around $250/month, in addition to installation costs and a security deposit. This may be a good option for short-term stair lift use, though curved stair lifts may not be available depending on your staircase needs. (You can learn more about top medical equipment rental companies here.)
What other costs are involved in getting a stair lift?
Unfortunately, the price of the stair lift isn’t the only cost. You’ll also have to factor in installment and maintenance costs.
For example, a typical installment costs hundreds of dollars. This will depend on the stair lift company you choose, so be sure to ask before purchase. A dealer will usually inspect the space before completing any installment to avoid error.
At the same time, you have to keep the stair lift maintained over time. This may mean a yearly inspection, or replacing parts throughout the years. This too can be costly.
What else can raise the price of a stair lift?
The price of a stair lift can also increase due to logistical issues. For example, your stair lift may be subject to extra installation costs if these situations apply:
- Your staircase is especially uneven, steep or curvy.
- You need a higher weight capacity for the lift.
- You want the stair lift to blend in with current home decor.
- You need extra rail footage above standard.
- You need a load-bearing wall for reinforcement.
- An electrical socket is nowhere near the desired stair lift.
- You live in a remote area.
In these cases, you may have to pay more in order to get the stair lift according to your needs.
Are stair lifts covered by Medicare?
Surprising as it may seem, stair lifts aren’t typically covered by Medicare. Medicare does offer “Durable Medical Equipment” coverage for equipment that a doctor prescribes you. (To get coverage, your doctor and supplier must be Medicare-enrolled and prescribe medically-necessary equipment.)
However, in practice, stair lifts are rarely considered medically necessary and often fall under the home modification category. This means seniors are unlikely to get Medicare coverage for stair lifts.
Are stair lifts covered by Medicaid?
You may have better luck with Medicaid, but this will depend greatly on your state of residence. Some states offer waiver programs that cover equipment like stair lifts. You should check with your state’s Medicaid program to find out more.
How else can I pay for a stair lift?
Many seniors end up paying for a stair lift out of their own pockets. However, you might have some other options, including:
- Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance will often pay for equipment such as stair lifts. You should check with your insurance provider to find out whether this is covered.
- Area Agencies on Aging (AAA): Contact your local Area Agency on Aging. These organizations sometimes provide relief for seniors who need certain medical equipment.
- VA benefits: If you’re a vet, you may qualify for certain VA benefits. This will depend greatly on whether your medical condition is a result of service or not.
Besides these options, there’s not much else that will cover medical equipment partially or in full. You might try checking with any local nonprofits to see if they offer any assistance.
Is there anyone who should not use a stair lift?
Stair lifts can be used by almost everybody. However, seniors with extremely limited mobility should not use a stair lift. If you or a loved one has a high risk of falling from the chair, it’s not recommended. This is especially true for getting in and out of the stair lift chair. When in doubt, ask your doctor.
Is there an alternative to a stair lift?
Alternatives to stair lifts will depend on the patient. Some mobility aids may include canes or walkers. Some families also choose to transfer the bedroom to the first floor so that there’s no immediate need to go up and down the stairs. If you have plenty of funds, you might also consider a home elevator, though the cost will be much higher than a stair lift.
Best options for curved stair lifts
When it comes to purchasing a curved stair lift, quality is key. Curved stair lifts often have to be custom-made, which means they’re not easily replaced or maintained. You’ll want to opt for a top-tier company to do the job right, so that you can save money in the long run. Here are curved stair lifts that don’t skimp on quality.
This curved stair lift from AmeriGlide is highly customizable. It also comes with an ergonomically designed seat, twin rail system and a digital diagnostics display. You have the choice to upgrade to an automatic folding system, wireless calling or extra stop points.
The Harmar Helix is a premier stair lift for curved, straight, indoor or outdoor needs. The railing is made of steel and uses true-curve technology. It also has beautiful upholstery, custom colors and an option for a wider seat.
This Elite stair lift from Bruno is excellent for larger seniors. It can be custom-built for any stairway configuration and comes with thick upholstery, a stability rail and audio/visual diagnostics. Add-ons include a larger seat and higher footrest height.
The Handicare 2000 is ideal for curvy or multi-story stairs, as it has a twin rail system. It has multiple seat options with several upholstery and color choices. Add-ons include a velcro seat belt.
The Starla is about as deluxe as you can go. It’s highly customizable with upholstery, trim, and color for both the rail and chair. It also comes with a padded seat back, hand control and retractable seat belt. You can add the option for a powered footrest and swivel seat.
Last but not least, the Acorn 180 has a FastTrack rail system and options to perch, sit or stand. It’s easily customized and may be an affordable option for any staircase with complicated rail needs.
Getting a curved stair lift can improve the quality of life for you or a loved one. Now that you can see the benefits of curved stair lifts, as well as some top models to choose from, you’re sure to find the right stair lift for your situation.
Interested in more senior products and topics? Check out MyCaringPlan for in-depth senior guides.