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Active member
Dec 29, 2006
As some of you may know from some earlier posts, I live in a three story town house with two flights of stairs. There is no real option to sell this house and move to a single story one, so I have to find some way to make this work.

One possibility - not a good one though - is a stair lift --- a chair seat which runs up and down a track between floors. In my case this is complicated (of course) by the fact that there is a landing at the middle of the stair. The stair goes up straight to the landing, then turns back from the other side of the landing and continues up the rest of the way. Since there is no way to make the lifts go around corners it requires two lifts - one from the 2nd floor to the landing and another from the landing on up to the 3rd floor. Not cheap, and requires me to get out of one chair and move across the landing to the other to continue the ride. Not sure how to do that..Need a wheelchair on both floors to get around. Still its cheaper than the serious rebuilding that would be needed to put in an elevator os some such.

So anyone have any experience with these - - - AmeriGlide, others ? / ?

Any info appreciated.
Hi Justme
My experience with stairlifts is somewhat limited but I'll tell you what I've learned.

You could go for the seated stairlift which is good for people who are not very mobile. The advantages are that these can be mounted to the stairs directly, eliminating the need for a load-bearing wall. They are also aesthetically very nice.
The disadvantage is that if one requires a walker or a wheelchair, transfer becomes an issue.

The platform lift is more for people with serious mobility problems. They can take a wheelchair, walker or other device.
The advantage here is greater flexibility with equipment. They can also fold out of the way so people can use the stairs. The disadvantage is they are wall mounted so the need for the wall to be load-bearing is there.
(**Note**my lift is several years old so perhaps the manufacturers have since changed this.)

One time, I was at an office building where there was a platform lift to move wheelchairs between three floors. The lift followed the stairway including a 180 degree turn, so it can be done. What the cost is, I have no idea, but I'm sure it will be pricey. (I have a real problem with the price of medical equpment...but that's another topic for another day!)

From my own experience, I would go for a platform lift with the 'turn' capability to follow the stairs. Have the platform adjusted for straight on/straight off drive. Mine, unfortunately, is made for straight on/right turn drive. I can drive straight on at the beginning, but at the end I have to turn right to get off. It was fine with my walker, but now that I'm in a wheelchair, it's totally useless! I can't get off the platform.

Another option is an elevator. They are a little pricey, (in the $25,000 range IIRC) but definitely the best method of moving between floors. If I had known then what I know now...

Anyway, this is the brand of stairlift I have:
They are a good product, it's my installers that I had a problem with.

As a result of my experience, I always use a 'worse case scenario' when I buy major equipment now. I try to imagine that my ALS is as bad as it can get from a mobility point of view. (It's not fun to think of, but you have to be realistic when you're doling out thousands of dollars!)
Try to imagine if that setup will do in a worse case. Use that as a rule of thumb.

I hope this helps some!

I have an outside platform lift that goes from patio level to the driveway level by Savaria and am happy with it. We have had some real cold and snowy weather and it works like a charm. Inside lifts and stair chairs I don't know much about but would suggest a bath transfer seat on the landing to transfer from one lift to the other. Might that work rather than going around the corner which is going to be expensive?
Another issue that a friend with ALS ran into here in Canada was once the stair lift was in and he got so that he could not use it without assistance the home care workers could not use it for liability reasons so it became useless for hm. Just another headache to think about. Sorry but you have to think about this stuff too.
Your house design sounds a lot like mine. We had to get two lifts and do a transfer on the middle landing as well. It really wasn't as hard as it sounds. When my husband was no longer able to do the transfer himself I started doing it for him. We went with Acorn Stair Lifts. It's too bad that you live so far away from me because I'm looking to sell ours since I lost my husband in December. Good luck to you.

Hi ChrissyWho:

Sure is too bad we are almost on opposite ends of the country - I would take you up on buying your used units. I have been looking at the Acorn - nice unit. Sounds like it worked for you while you could use it. Great.

Sorry about ypur loss.

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