When seniors who are aging in place are injured, recovering from surgery, or reach a stage where they are unable to climb stairs, they either need to be able to live strictly on the main floor of their home, or they need to get a stairlift (or elevator). But, sometimes there are reasons for not putting in a permanent stair lift (such as apartment codes), so people want a more temporary solution.
What is a mobile stairlift? A mobile stairlift is a portable, battery powered wheelchair that powers an electric dolly or caterpillar tracks, making it capable of going up and down stairs. No permanent equipment installation is necessary to use a mobile stairlift.
If you don’t want to install a traditional stair lift, a mobile stairlift might be perfect for you. They can easily be taken from one house to another if needed and they can be used virtually anywhere.
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Is There An Alternative To A Stair Lift?
There are indeed several alternatives to straight rail stair lifts, but many are more expensive options.
For instance, residential elevators are a safe method of getting from one floor to the next, but they come with a much higher cost (the average price starts around $30,000).
Their operational size is much larger and they need a lot of home modification for installation.
Other alternatives to a stair lift include a vertical platform lift / wheelchair lift. This would also take up a lot of room (similar to the elevator).
Also, in some cases, there is no room inside the house to install one that could rise between floors, so it would either need to be installed inside the garage or along the outside of the home.
The drawback to a mobile stair lift is that someone else must guide the stair lift up or down the stairs. The rider, alone, cannot operate it, the way they can with a permanently installed stair lift.
When Stairlifts Are Not A Good Idea
in some cases, there either is no room for a stairlift (older homes often have narrow flights of stairs). In other cases, something may keep the person from permanently installing a stair lift in their residence.
For example, a permanent stairlift may not be permitted in an apartment complex. Or maybe you are renting your home and the owners won’t allow a permanent fixture, such as a stair lift.
It could also be that you are having to move an elderly parent with limited mobility into your home temporarily and the only option is a basement bedroom with steep stairs that can’t accommodate a straight stairlift.
And what about using a permanent stairlift if there is a fire or other power outage? It would be useless in those cases.
Additionally, sometimes the cost of a stair lift is prohibitive.
After all, the stair lift cost for a straight staircase runs between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the number of stairs serviced, the additional options chosen, and whether the stairlift will be used indoors or outside. According to Stannah Stairlift, the average cost is $3400 – $5500.
A curved stair lift or one for spiral staircases typically has a base price of about $10,000 and increases from there.
One important factor to think about: since new stairlift prices are expensive, many people look into buying a used stair lift. Although I understand it, this may not be the best idea.
While you may be capable of completing the DIY installation process for a used one, keep in mind that used stairlifts no longer come with the lifetime warranty included by stairlift retailers. Also, how will you know if routine maintenance checks were done and the equipment is safe for your senior?
Whatever the reasons for not using a permanent stairlift, I’m happy to tell you that there is an alternative that is a cost-effective solution as well as a great option – it’s known as a mobile stairlift.
What Is The Difference Between A Mobile Stairlift And A Wheelchair?
A mobile stairlift is similar to a wheelchair in several ways.
- It is battery powered, just like an electric wheelchair / motorized chair
- To operate it, someone pushes or pulls it while the rider sits in the chair
- It is portable, so it can fit in a car trunk and be taken pretty much anywhere that a wheelchair can go
- No additional equipment, like tracks or hydraulics, are required to operate it
Check out this video to see this latest innovation in action:
A portable mobile stairlift doesn’t need permanently installed tracks in order to go up and down stairs, so you don’t need to modify your own home to use it.
Another benefit is that it is ready to go as soon as it arrives. You don’t have to wait for anything to be installed before you can use it.
How Much Does A Mobile Stairlift Cost?
While they aren’t cheap, a mobile stairlift is more affordable mobility equipment than an elevator or some types of stair lifts. For one thing, you can take it with you (impossible to do with the other options).
According to the manufacturer, the basic model of their mobile stair lift – The Mobile Stairlift Lite – costs around $3400 in early 2022. It has a powerful battery charger and can carry up to 250 pounds up a flight of stairs about 60 times on a single battery charge.
It is also capable of executing a full 360 degree turn includes a four point harness so the rider stays safely in their seat at all times.
The Genesis Mobile Stairlift is the higher-end model, so it comes with a head restraint and is capable of carrying up to 400 pounds up 120 flights of stairs on a single charge. It retails for around $3700 in early 2022
Mobile Stairlift has also created a product that can be used on a curved staircase (the Helix Mobile Stairlift). This model costs just under $4,000 in early 2022.
In addition to the other features, these mobile stairlifts come with a dust cover, handy guides for how to use them, and 7-day money back guarantee along with a warranty.
While the cost of your stairlift or other ambulation mobility equipment is important, sometimes the biggest determining factor is whether you have the space for what you need or the ability to install one. A mobile stairlift is a good alternative. They are portable, don’t take up much space in the home or car, and provide more mobility options than the tradition type of stair lift.