Home Elevator or Stairlift For Getting Upstairs – Which is Best?

We perform hundreds of home modifications throughout the year and a frequently asked question we get during assessments is, “What is better, a home elevator or a home stairlift for getting upstairs?

There are many factors that dictate the decision of choosing between a home elevator or a stairlift for independent living. Many people naturally assume that cost is the biggest factor, and sometimes it is an issue, but other times the cost can be pretty similar when you examine all the variables.

Home Stairlift - curved stair lift

A curved stairlift for the home

Our experience shows that it depends on the nature of the disability and how it will change in the future.

Some disabilities change very slowly and may not progress much in the next few years. Some actually get better through rehab.

Others, like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), will change dramatically over time. A stairlift may help initially when symptoms are minor, but as the symptoms change and a wheelchair is needed full-time, the stairlift becomes more of a hassle than it is useful.

Sure, installing a home elevator is more expensive than installing a home stairlift. But the extra expense of the elevator is worth it when you factor in things like wear on the user and caregiver, efficiency, and comfort.

If the user can walk and only needs some help getting up and down the stairs, a stairlift is a very good solution. But if a wheelchair is needed full-time for getting around, an elevator will start to look more appealing.

Home Elevator

Building the shaft of the home elevator

Consider the full-time wheelchair user. You roll up to the stairway at the bottom of the stairs, do a transfer to the stairlift, go up and transfer to another wheelchair upstairs. This means two wheelchairs are needed (one for each floor), possibly two transfer boards, and maybe a caregiver to help with both transfers. This can be time consuming and hard on the user and caregiver.

With a home elevator, only one wheelchair is needed, no transfers or transfer boards, and no wear and tear on the user or caregiver. Just roll into the elevator on one floor and roll out when you reach the other floor. Safe, simple, and convenient.

Considering the expense of two wheelchairs and transfer boards, the cost of a home elevator looks better. If the stairway has turns and a curved stairlift will be needed, depending on the number of turns, the home elevator may be fairly close to being the same cost as the stairlift.

Because every disability and home layout is unique, it’s important to consider all of the factors before deciding on which will work best. Whether you need a home elevator or a stairlift, it’s important to find the best solution for your needs, not only now but in the years to come.

If you’re considering a home elevator or a home stairlift, give us a call Toll-Free at (866) 902-9800.

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