Buying A Stair Lift: Key Considerations

Having an elderly relative with mobility issues is a source of concern for many people. Mobility difficulties can lead to falls that cause severe injuries. One way to help seniors with mobility problems living in multi-story homes is to install a stair lift. Although these devices are not inexpensive, they might mean the difference between an elderly person remaining in her home or having to move to a residential facility. This article looks at some crucial factors to keep in mind when considering purchasing a stair lift. 

New or Used

Buying used can save hundreds of dollars on the cost of a stair lift. Many used stair lifts have only seen a few years of use, while the average lifespan of a used stair lift is more than 10 years. This means that many used lifts still have several years of effective use left. One problem with buying used from a private individual is that you have no way of knowing how much use the lift has seen or what shape it's in. One option is to purchase a refurbished or used stair lift from a well-known dealer such as All-Star Lifts who will back the device with a warranty. 

Electrical or Battery

You will typically have the choice of stair lifts that operate under electrical power or those that are battery operated. Each of these two options has various pros and cons. The electric stair lift avoids having to replace any batteries, which can be somewhat pricey. Also, your home's electrical system gives the lift a constant source of power. Battery stair lifts have the advantage of continuing to run even if a power outage occurs. One possible alternative is to purchase an electrical model that has a battery back-up, so that the lift continues to operate in case of an outage. 

Insurance Coverage

Because of the significant cost of most stair lifts, whether or not your relative's insurance will cover the cost of the device is an important consideration. Many private insurers cover at least part of the cost. If you have health insurance through Medicare or Medicaid, then the answer depends on which one you have. Medicare does not offer coverage for stair lifts, because it only covers "durable medical equipment" and stair lifts do not meet this definition under the agency's rules. Medicaid does provide compensation as long as the purchase is made through an approved distributor.  

Purchasing a stair lift can be an important moment in the life of a senior person who has trouble negotiating the stairs in her home. Keep the above points in mind as you consider your options.