I would like to know of any organizations that donate items such as stair lifts for those in need?

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My mother is in desperate need of a stair lift. My mother resides in Michigan and has several medical issues which don't allow much mobility. She lives in a townhouse with a second level and finds it difficult to move from level to level without difficulty or assistance. With a Stairlift she can have some mobility and dignity.

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This is Steve. Your answer was right on. We had the best intentions when we originally installed this unit. Terrified (from an earlier comment) is an excellent adjective for the less than enthusiastic reception. In fact, I did replace the expensive batteries one year after the charger was left out of the wall socket for some time. As power sources go, this was a bit too clever. After that we hardwired it. Acorn is willing to remove it at their standard rate. However, I shall remove it today myself. I admit that we undertook one or two other such well meaning projects for our tenant that I could have researched better.
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As you can see from StevePareles' post, people have these items installed, but then don't use them as much as they think they will. The problem with any kind of donation of this type of item, is that they have to be fitted to the particular staircase, and not all of them are the correct length and have the features you might need. For maximum safety they should be professionally installed. They require a power source. It is important that an elder be "accompanied" for the ascent and descent. They have to be buckled in, and able to swivel the chair at the top. Try Craigslist, someone in your area may have one to sell that will fit your staircase dimensions.
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wattsrt, I would hate to see all the work that is involved to install a stair lift only to find that your Mother is terrified to use it.

If Mom wants something like that, see if there is someplace where she can try one out. If she falls in love it with, then go forward looking to see if one could be donate.
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I did think of one organization that does chore work, but I think a stair lift might be beyond its volunteer scope. You might want to contact the Oakland-Livingston Human Services Agency.

www.olhsa.org/
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Sometime ago there was a program on the DIY network when Holmes, one of the tv contractors, spent considerable effort to correct an improperly installed and nonfunctioning stair lift (read "botched!" installation).

His efforts pointed out the need for absolute precision and competent, qualified contractor installation for a stair lift to be safely used.

In order to have one installed and be safe, I think you'd need someone who does that as a specialty, someone who specializes in assistive device retrofitting. A donated lift might or might not be functional, and given the cost of these I doubt someone is going to donate it, unless you enlisted media help (tv problem solvers, e.g.,) to find a donation source.

You'd still then be faced with proper installation.

Frankly, I wouldn't be comfortable having this done by donation or volunteer work; it's too risky. And these lifts aren't cheap; it's not as if Habitat for Humanity is coming out to paint the porch or something more generic that cold be done by someone with a modicum of skills.

This is a precision installation, too tricky, too challenging, and too risky to have it done for your mother.

What I would consider as an alternate is making the first floor more accessible, assuming it has a bathroom. Give some serious consideration to how the first floor can be rearranged. My aunt turned her dining room into a bedroom. Another friend in her 90's made similar accommodations.

I don't think your mother would lose any dignity by having a sleeping area on the first floor, but what she would gain is safety and the confidence of being able to move about more freely without the risk of falling down the stairs.

There's also the issue of exertion, stress on older limbs and muscles, and of course her older heart. Any of those can complicate the challenges of ascending and descending stairs.

It also wouldn't hurt to consider moving to a one floor townhouse in the same complex.
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I would discuss the use of one these devices before I got one for your mother with someone who actually uses it and has limited mobility. I would be concerned with a senior with limited mobility using this type of device without supervision. It seems like there are risks associated with it. I could imagine all sorts of things that could go wrong with it and she would be there alone.

Having limited mobility and living alone has a lot of risks, as Pamstegma mentions above. I would seek information of other options, like a one floor arrangement.
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Time for her to move to one floor. A good senior apartment has one floor, a walk in shower area (most falls are in bathrooms) and people who can respond immediately if she falls. She needs to check with the HOA to see if they allow stair lifts.
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