Finding a way to make the stairs safe is very important. Every year, more accidents happen on the stairs then anywhere else. Of those that have accidents on the stairs, those in the senior age group is the most likely to fall and the most likely to have a serious accident that results or hospitalization or even death. Since seniors are at such a high risk, it is very important to find ways to prevent accidents.
Some might decide to avoid the stairs all together or perhaps move to a new home or an assisted living facility that does not have stairs. These options both mean giving up a lot of freedom and making a drastic lifestyle change however, so it is not the best solution for most people. Instead, finding ways to allow safe usage of the stairs is usually preferred, so a stair lift is a very popular device among those who are mobility challenged
Stair lifts are a type of lifting aid that is used to carry a person up the stairs. They typically utilize an aluminum track, which is attached directly to the steps. A chair then moves along the track, safely carrying the person up the stairs. In some cases, an individual might not be able to safely sit, so a standing stair lift will be used. These lifts, which are referred to as perch lifts, should not be used unless there is a medical need though, because they present a larger risk than the sitting stair lifts do.
They can be attached to most types of staircases, but are easiest to install and least expensive when used on a straight staircase. A curved staircase, on the other hand, takes much longer and costs much more to outfit with a stair lift.
A good deal of the cost associated with a curved stair lift is as a result of how the metal track is made. The track will have to be tailor made to fit the staircase, so curved stair lifts usually cost over $10,000 more than a traditional straight stair lift. Since the track is custom fit to the stairs, it also doesn’t have a lot of resale value. This is because you would have to find someone that had an identical staircase in order for them to be able to use the stair lift.
One thing that you have to be very careful about is less than reputable curved stair lift resellers. These less than reputable individuals will take a curved stair lift track, reheat it, then bend the track to fit a different shaped staircase. This allows them to sell curved stair lifts for much less than their reputable counterparts, but as a result the integrity of the track is compromised. This almost inevitably will result in a track failure within a few years.
Often the price and the warranty that is offered on the lift is the only indication that the company is re-bending tracks. Usually a re-bender will only offer a very short warranty, because they know the track will fail, and it will cost a good deal less.
For those who have curved staircases, you are almost better off installing an elevator, which will cost comparably the same and helps to increase home value.