If you have mobility issues that prevent you from getting up and down stairs easily, it can be especially frustrating trying to access the outdoor areas of your home.
Raised porches, a split-level garden with stairs, or a private jetty with stairs can seem completely out of bounds. Luckily, there are options available that let you enjoy the outdoor features of your home with independence and safety.
Outdoor stair lifts work under the same principles as an indoor stair
What Features Should An Outdoor Stair Lift Have?
An outdoor stairlift is one of the best investments you can make, if you want to continue moving around your property as much as possible. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind, if you’re shopping around for one of these lifts.
One of the first things that springs to mind when you think of a motorized appliance installed outdoors is probably “But what happens if it gets wet?” It’s daunting to think of sitting on a stair lift that’s been soaking outside in wet conditions. Fortunately, manufacturers have taken this into consideration.
Outdoor lift seats and rails are extremely durable. They are built to handle sub-zero temperatures, hot temperatures, rain, and UV rays.
Outdoor lifts are designed to be fully functional and safe even in poor weather conditions. The electronics and rechargeable batteries are well protected from rain and wind. Water-repellent surfaces and corrosion protection help to extend the life of your lift for as long as possible.
Stair lifts should have rigorously tested components that will last for many up and down journeys. Rechargeable batteries ensure that you’ll be able to move between the levels of your home even during a power outage.
Outdoor stair lifts should be fitted with sensors to detect any obstructions. If there’s something in the way, the lift should be able to stop straight away – but gently!
Some stair lift models can be locked with a key, so that the primary user is the only one who has access. This is vital if children live in or visit your home. It also stops curious strangers from tampering with your lift, if it’s visible from the street.
Your stair lift should incorporate a seat belt, to help you stay balanced and securely fastened into the seat.
It should be borne in mind that stair lifts are not ADA compliant, if you use your property as a guesthouse or AirBnB.
The railings of the lift often have to extend out past the bottom step, so you can access the chair easily and safely. Depending on the layout of the porch or deck, the railing might obstruct a sidewalk or walkway. This obviously has to be avoided to prevent a trip hazard, so you should consider a folding or hinged rail option.
This switch is mounted on the wall at the bottom of the staircase, and often on the top of the staircase as well. You can move the lift to a different level, so it’s out of the way when not in use. You can then use the call/send switch to bring it to your level when you need it.
Ideally, your stair lift chair should fold away neatly when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t take up too much space. This is particularly important if you want your lift to blend in with the outdoor surroundings as much as possible.
Outdoor Stair Lift Price
A customized outdoor stair lift has even more features than an indoor model, so it stands to reason that it doesn’t come at a budget price.
An outdoor stair lift installation will require a professional assessment before you know what you can expect to pay. This is because every staircase is different, and your personal requirements also need to be considered. Weight capacity of the lift, angle and height of the stairs, hinged rails – all these things need to be factored in.
Here are some questions you should consider, that will affect the price of a curved stair lift:
- How long is the staircase?
- How many landings does the staircase have?
- What weight capacity is needed?
- What style of seat and rails do you like?
- Do you want power options or other upgrades for the lift?
To give you an idea of the price range of outdoor lifts, straight outdoor lifts typically cost between $3,500 and $6,500. Outdoor curved stair lift prices start at $12,000, and the price will increase depending on how long and complicated the staircase is.
There are a number of reputable and highly-rated companies worldwide that supply outdoor stairlifts for private residences.
Stair lifts are not currently covered by Medicare. However, some organizations can help out with financing – speak to senior groups and ask for their advice. If you are a veteran, you might be able to organize assistance through the VA.
If you enjoy being outdoors at home, there’s no need for limited physical mobility to stop you. An outdoor stairlift will help you get around almost as freely as you always did.
The other side of the story is, of course, that an outdoor stair lift can be pricey to install. But what price can you put on your freedom? After all, there’s plenty of evidence that shows that aging at home in comfort and independence, for as long as possible, is highly beneficial for your wellbeing.