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Creating Accessibility in Your Home: Choosing the Best Stairlift

Healthy Living


“My husband has knee problems, and he’s having trouble getting up and down the stairs in our home. It’s painful for him, and I’m worried that he might hurt himself. My friend has a stairlift and we are interested in getting one, but we aren’t sure what we need or where to buy one. Can you help us?”

At 101 Mobility of Alabama we receive questions like this daily. We understand that the loss of mobility and the ability to easily climb the stairs in your home can come as a shock. If you are having trouble with your stairs and are seeking solutions that don’t involve giving up the home that you love to move to a single-story alternative, a stairlift can be a great option. We’ve put together the following information to help guide you through the process.

101 mobility Aug 2019How does it work? Stairlifts mount directly into your staircase, not the wall. This makes them extra sturdy! The chair runs along a railing, which is attached to your staircase with a mount on every few steps. Your stairlift will need to be plugged in – it requires a standard wall outlet within 6 feet of the top or bottom of the staircase.

What if I lose power? Most stairlifts are equipped with a backup battery – if you live in an area that is prone to power outages, be sure to request a unit with a backup battery! When the stairlift is not in use, and parked at the top or bottom of the stairs it will charge. Then in case of a power outage, a fully charged unit will continue to run, with the batteries, for anywhere from 40-60 round trips (that’s up AND down the stairs) before needing to be charged again.

My staircase is complicated – will a stair lift fit? For most households, the answer is yes! There are two main types of stairlifts: straight rail and curved rail. The straight rail variations are perfect for stairs that don’t have any turns, curves, or landings along the way. Custom curved stair lifts are suitable for nearly any other stair case and are custom made for your specific steps. The rail curves tight to your wall to allow for space for others who might not need it.

Is there an Outdoor model? Yes! There are Outdoor Versions of both straight and custom stairlifts. They are weatherproof, and typically come with a seat cover.

Will the stairlift get in the way of walking up? Stairlifts typically only take up about one to two feet of space, depending on the make and model. When not in use, the seat bottom, arm rests, and foot rest can all be folded up to create even more space.

What is the weight capacity? Most standard units have a weight capacity around 300 lbs. However, there are many options available with weight capacities between 400 and 600 lbs.

Derek Gann 

Locally Owned & Operated in Birmingham, Serving Residents Across Alabama


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