Health Info & Resources for Seniors
Many aging boomers and seniors in the Lehigh Valley who live in row homes, townhouses, colonials, and other multi-level homes in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton are asking how to best fund a home stair lift. Despite having trouble “doing the stairs” they are determined to remain living in their homes and determined to find the money to install a residential stair lift.
Most seniors and others are surprised to know that Medicare does not pay for a home stair lift. In fact, only a small percentage of new stair lifts installed each year are paid for with major insurance money or other programs run by the government. Government funding stair lifts are usually done through a Medicaid program for low-income individuals and those who financially qualify. Similarly, depending on where one lives, there can be a state and/or local program available to fund or finance a home stair lift for those who qualify.
There are multiple kinds of chair lifts including straight residential stair lifts, curved stair lifts, outdoor residential stair lifts, commercial stair lifts, vertical platform or wheelchair lifts, and even aluminum ramps.
Most residential stair lifts are paid for with private funds, money out of one’s own savings or assistance from friends and family. Major medical insurance typically does not pay for residential stair lifts but all readers are advised to inquire and perform their own research for their circumstances and their geographic area. The good news is that stair lifts are categorized as “medical equipment” and therefore not subject to sales tax as long as one’s physician provides the patient with a prescription.
While a stair lift is a significantly cheaper alternative to moving and the associated moving expenses in addition to the cost of living in a new location, a stair lift can still be a financial burden for many. A straight stairlift is typically priced to start at around $3K including the price of installation. This stair lift estimate assumes that it is installed on a straight staircase and that there are no obstacles that impede the user to safely mount and dismount the stair lift, for example protruding heaters, doors, doorways, and other obstacles. Many older homes were designed with smaller spaces in mind are were built before stair lifts became popular.
A curved stair lift that travels around the curve or over an “L” shaped staircase with a landing is more expensive than a straight stair lift. The stair lift company will need to measure the stairway to create precise drawings to fabricate and customize the curve stair lifts for each application. Every person’s staircase is unique and therefore that implies an additional cost. A curved stair lift can cost around $10,000 and up depending on multiple factors including the length and complexity of the staircase.
As stated earlier, most stair lifts are paid for with one’s own private funds. That said, there are some ways to mitigate the cost. A popular program in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the PA Assistive Technology Fund which offers low-interest loans over a short period of time allowing users to have a payment plan in installments. Also, it is not uncommon for homeowners to fund a lift with a home equity loan or even put the purchase cost on a credit card with rewards to accumulate travel points or in some cases cashback. Other users have been more creative and have held fundraisers like events and other activities to raise money and many have simply launched crowdfunding campaigns, like GoFundMe, across social media to raise the needed funds.
One final consideration to decrease the financial burden of a stair lift is to seek residential stair lift rental options and even stair lift used options. These options are only available with straight stair lifts as noted above because curved lifts are custom-made for the exact dimensions for each stairwell. Lastly, some stair lift companies offer a stairlift buyback program provided that the stair lift is in good condition and that it has been serviced according to the maintenance schedule. All these ideas help seniors and others reduce the financial burden of installing a residential stair lift.
For more information about Power Stair Lifts of the Lehigh Valley visit their web site.