Curved Rail Stair Lifts in Wisconsin?

As my grandparents age, they’re looking to retrofit their home to make it more decripit-old-person-friendly (technical term) so that they can stay there instead of moving into some kind of assisted living facility. One of the most important pieces of equipment would be one of those motorized chairs that runs on a track along a staircase, so you can sit in it and be carried up or down, instead of climbing or descending the stairs on foot. (Not sure what it’s actually called.)

Someone has told them that in Wisconsin, you can’t get the kind that will go around a corner. Since my grandparents’ staircase has a turn in it, this would present a fairly impassible problem.

Can anybody tell me anything about this? What the device is called, what companies make/install them in Wisconsin, and whether or not you can get ones that will go around a corner here?

They are called Stair Lifts. They are ridiculously expensive. Even for a straight shot covering 5 foot rise, they run something like $4000.

Start looking on Craigslist in the tri-state area and be prepared to drive for it as you can usually find one in the $2-3000 range.

Thanks for the term (I’ve requested an update to the thread title). Can you comment on the availability of corner-turning ones in Wisconsin, though, Disheavel? That’s really the sticking point here.


I know nothing about these, but if you can’t have one that turns a corner, can you install two and have them switch seats at the landing?
are the two “premier” places, I believe you can get a free in-home demonstration/estimate by going through their web sites. I found one off of craigslist and installed myself. I see that prices are more reasonable than I remembered (maybe they’ve gone down?), but having that curve is going to still be the biggest cost.

Interesting idea, Smell, but I’m not sure it would be feasible in terms of cost, or especially space. I’m trying to picture how the layout would work, such that you could have enough space to get off of one lift and onto the other without a bad risk of falling down the stairs. Hrm, perhaps if you alternated sides… Definitely an idea to look into, though!

This is old info, but about 10-15 years ago I looked into getting a stairlift for my house in Chicago, and had the same problem; the stairway to the second floor went up a full flight to a landing that was about a three foot square, and then there were four or five steps at a right angle to the main stairs. I spoke to a salesperson from one of the companies that Disheavel linked to, and was told that installing a stair lift that would go around that corner required having a custom rail built, and it would be cheaper to buy a separate unit for each section of steps. Of course, there was enough room on the landing to be able to move from one lift to the other.

Huh. Out of curiosity, was the house a Mickelson Colonial (not sure on the spelling of that)? Because that sounds exactly like my grandparents’ staircase (and, for that matter, the staircase in the house I grew up in, which was almost identical).

I’m with Smell. My dad has MS and was going to have to deal with that issue at their old house… then they decided to build a new house with big, wide staircases and no landings.

The house had been built around 1900 (I never was able to find out the exact year) and had ten-foot ceilings on both the first and second floor. At some time before we bought it it had undergone some extensive “remuddling” - paneling and suspended ceilings in most of the rooms, fake beams in the living room, and some rather strange wiring. There was a half bath off the kitchen where I think there used to be a servant’s stairway that went up to the landing from the back of the house; the existing stairway was just inside the front entrance of the house.

Also, some real estate search sites let you indicate that you’re interested in handicap accessible houses; I think I’ve seen the term “barrier free.” If you’re looking to save some money, you might search out those houses and see if any have lifts. When those places sell, if the new owners don’t need the lift they might be happy to have someone take it off their hands.

Thanks for the help, everyone! It looks like the grandparents have decided to move into a senior apartment. My grandmother had been the big hold-out, but this whole run-around has pushed her over into being in favor of moving–apparently she felt like a big weight was off her chest when she decided, which is a great sign.

A senior complex would be nice. Most people I know that “held out” were glad for the easy living that came with the move. I hope they both like it.