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Has anyone used portable chair lifts? We will be moving and have ruled out remodeling to live on one floor or installing a chair lift. My 80 year old sister with Altzheimer's experiences horrific pain walking or especially going up or down stairs. There are some times this can’t be avoided like doctor appointments, or most recently, to get a Covid-19 vaccine. I have seen one portable stair lift that can be managed by one person who can get trained (though ideally two would help). It tilts back and has two motorized attached tracks that allow it to slide down the stairs or ascend with assistance. Just wondering if anyone has used these portable assistance chair lifts or can recommend one. I am trying to assess their safety.

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A little confused by your posting. You ask about a portable chair lift but you also mention your sister must go up and down stairs. There are multiple options but it looks like you are not considering most of these because of cost?
See links below for different options. We have the same problem. All bedrooms are on the 2nd floor and my brother cannot walk up and downstairs by himself but I am not able to lift him. Good luck!

https://www.stiltzlifts.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAAYASAAEgIWm_D_BwE
https://www.mckinleyelevator.com/products/home-elevators/?matchtype=p&network=g&device=c&adposition=&keyword=residential%20elevators&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAAYAiAAEgLkovD_BwE
https://symmetryelevators.com/find-a-dealer-g/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAAYAyAAEgL2YvD_BwE
https://trustram.com/residential/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAAYBCAAEgLEwfD_BwE
https://residentialelevators.com/
https://www.vacuumelevators.com/redondo-beach-residential-elevators/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqFTHNYz0oc&feature=youtu.be
https://www.acorn.com
https://www.ameriglide.com/item/ameriglide-platinum-curved-stair-lift-hd.html?utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=base&utm_source=google&matchtype=&keyword=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAYYASABEgKqsPD_BwE
https://medmartonline.com/human-floor-lift?utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs-SS1trl7gIVJRvnCh1AlwTOEAYYAyABEgIwXfD_BwE
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Reply to CarolPeaches
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Before investing, also read what consumer affairs has to say. In addition to Better Business Bureau. Do your research. But I never had one. Thankful I always live in a one-story house. Consumer affairs has its share of complaints and I suggest you read them.

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/age/acorn-stairlifts.html

https://www.bbb.org/us/fl/orlando/profile/stair-lift/acorn-stairlifts-inc-0733-22003712/complaints

With a 12-month warranty, that does not say much about the product. Just my opinion. Generally the longer the warranty, the stronger the product.

https://www.acornstairlifts.com/stairlift/stairlift-extended-warranties
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Reply to cetude
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One thing that seems to be missing here. Not every building has to be HCA due to ADA. Some older buildings, as long as they have not under gone certain types of remodeling are not required to update. Many of us are older tan the ADA laws.
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Reply to garylee
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Imho, you appear to be inquiring about a stair chair or a chair lift. Chair lifts are ideal for someone's home (typically) and one manufacturer is Acorn.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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The stair chair could be cumbersome for one person to handle. Based on some other comments here, it seems you are talking about steps when you are doing appts outside the home and need to navigate steps. ADA requires sloping walkways, lifts, or other means to get inside a building.

With that said, some of the drs/medical facilities that do have them installed didn't have someone pushing a wheelchair test the doorway floor 'bumps' (thresholds to get inside the office. Some don't even have the disability button to open the door for you. It is very aggravating when you're pushing the chair, trying to hold a door open, and pull the chair up over the hump --- and --- employee/reception looking right at you while you struggle. Most of the time a kind sole waiting in the lobby comes to my rescue. Sometimes not, but I'm pretty strong and manage eventually. Some of these same offices have very small lobbies and upon entering there are sharp turns where you have to pick up the chair and keep inching it around other seating in the lobby.

They do make portable ramps to help you with curbs or steps around your house and not a bad idea to have one in the car. However, if you actually go to a public place and cannot locate the disability ramp, ask where it is. Some very old buildings (an example is the Strand in Galveston) installed one to access everything within a building, it just doesn't happen to be at the exact front door you would want to enter. Use the covered valet areas to drive up and unload the patient, park or use valet, and then retrieve your patient to go to the drs office. If the threshold bumps are more than you can manage, step into the office and ask for help. They need to know the difficulty for a disabled person.

The podiatrist my parent uses has two offices. One is very easy to maneuver and the other is a nightmare with many office hall turns and no way to get the wheelchair next to the exam table/chair to assist in getting into the exam chair. The employees can see you having trouble and will walk out and close the door leaving you in a bind. Even when asking for help, they have walked out saying they will return and never do. I used all my might to push the darn exam chair over to one side and managed. When dr came in she looked very surprised to see the room rearranged - and I told her why. It happened a second time - my own stupidity for forgetting - and I told the employee if they couldn't help this time, we would have to find another facility. Did help, but very little. Did find out they had another office and have used that one ever since. The strange thing is how many patients they see on walkers, those knee scooter things, and wheelchairs and when they remodeled at that one office, they made the rooms even smaller. Crazy.

My point is go to the drs who have good set ups, ask where the ramps are, ask the valet people for help if you need it. Most people will help, but some you have to ask directly. Definitely easier to ask for some help than to tote a ramp around trying to do it yourself.
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Reply to my2cents
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It doesn’t sound like the same thing although maybe it’s a perfected one for private use but we used a stair chair all the time to move patients ip and down stairs when I worked on an ambulance. They fold up but are very sturdy when unfolded, the patient is belted in and while yes it is best to have 2 people for safety it can be used by one person who is skilled with it. I’m not sure I would choose to use it on a daily basis, multiple times though for getting up and down the stairs.
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Reply to Lymie61
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Hi
One word of caution if you purchase a used stair lift from a private sale.
We did that a few years ago and did not ascertain that it was in full working condition. Turns out that the battery was dead and a new one cost $1000. In addition, the company that originally manufactured it was no longer in the stairlift business but only mfg elevators so obtaining parts became almost impossible.
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Reply to nurseMPB
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it would seem to me that it would work better if she was in a wheelchair because almost all places have handicapped entrances for those in wheelchairs and being that she has so much pain, get a portable wheelchair.  wishing you luck.
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Reply to wolflover451
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This came back around in my email. Having a little time between, giving it some thought, perhaps the references to using stairs being unavoidable means the house stairs.

"...have ruled out remodeling to live on one floor or installing a chair lift."
combined with
"...can’t be avoided like doctor appointments, or most recently, to get a Covid-19 vaccine."

So, Jenny1850, you have not been back to comment - is this what you meant, for use in the house when your sister MUST go out? As many of us have noted, most places of business are required to have handicap ramps.

Why the objection to a stair lift? Reading the post from MJ1929 regarding the stair lift they put in, getting one used and installed might be comparable in price to this brute of a thing. You could then use a transport chair for getting to/from the car and appts.

Alternatively, is there no way to put in a ramp outside? I would have a similar issue here if stairs became an issue. The front steps are partly cement, then stone and one "step up" is much larger than the others. The interior stairs are in the middle, "angled" (few steps down, landing, 45 degree turn for remainder.) The back stairs are also "angled" - worst case would be ramp that extends out into the parking area of my driveway, going straight over the landing.

The only other alternative I can think of is find doctor(s) who would come to your house for visits. They aren't available everywhere, so that might not work. For the vaccine, I should think at some point when many have been vaccinated, they might have resources to send out a van to cover those who are homebound. Yours can't be the only case!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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I do not trust stair lifts. If a person cannot walk upstairs or have problems, DO NOT GO UP. If they have any kind of dementia whatsoever, then find some way to lock the senior and prevent entry to the stairs; or move to a single-story home. Considering they are battery operated which can die in the middle of an operation and the fact they have moving parts, they can quit on the elder on the way up and be stuck and may try to get up and FALL and break their neck or whatever. Think about that. ALWAYS check Better Business Bureau and whatever you buy make certain it is ADA compliant. Just remember one single fall is the instant "game changer".

https://www.bbb.org/us/fl/orlando/profile/stair-lift/acorn-stairlifts-inc-0733-22003712/complaints
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Reply to cetude
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Shulamith Feb 8, 2021
I have to disagree with you. I installed an Acorn stair lift for my father and it has been a blessing. It is very safe and even if there is a power outage, it is very unlikely to get stuck.

Without it, my father would not have been able to be home as we do not have bedrooms or a shower downstairs. When we are out for appointments, we use a transport wheelchair. I've never been to a medical office that does not have an elevator or ramp.
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A video so everyone can see what a "stair chair" is - - it doesn't look like it could ever be a one-person task, and it also looks like the two movers are quite able-bodied...

Watch "Ferno Model 40 Stair Chair Demonstration" on YouTube

https://youtu.be/BqFTHNYz0oc
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Reply to CarolLynn
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My advice is to purchase a stairlift.
We had one installed for my Mom 6 years ago . It was worth every Penny. It gave my Mom security and independence. We purchased from Acorn. There are other companies.
If cost is the concern, there are companies that sell used ones.
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RedVanAnnie Feb 8, 2021
The stair lift might work at home, but this question was about something that could be taken to other locations, like the doctor.
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Hospice or Lions Club/American Legion/or some such organization provided exactly this for my mother. My father didn't understand how to use it. My bil, retired military medic, showed him how. After seeing how to use it and the sheer terror on my mother's face, my father gave it back and finally installed the ramp we had asked him to put in for years.
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Reply to graygrammie
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I saw that too MJ1929. This video gives a demonstration by an actual user

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mf1EMI6EWY

I went to the company website and if you act fast it is on sale for $3K, half the regular price. 🤯
I really can't picture older people using this with confidence, the speed isn't adjustable and the only thing that keeps it from tipping forward and tumbling down the stairs is the operator's grip. I'm also not seeing any safety features, any power or mechanical failure would be disastrous. At 65 lb it isn't what I would call easily portable either.
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Reply to cwillie
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freqflyer Feb 5, 2021
All one need is a 30 something guy, who works out, to pull the stair chair :)

It couldn't be easy to put into a vehicle, unless there was one that could climb into the vehicle on its own.

Jenny1850, do you feel that your sister would even use this? I know my Mom probably wouldn't go near it. But my Dad probably would take it on a test drive.
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I just watched this video -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhBhuuoeyd4&ab_channel=MobileStairLift

If this is what you're talking about, I wouldn't ever use one of these. I guarantee you, your SIL would be terrified riding this (dementia/Alzheimer's makes this lifts just that much scarier), and the operator has to walk backward up the stairs. Not a chance would I use this for that reason alone. If the operator tripped, the chair would be unstable, or it could conceivably run over the operator. No way. If your SIL is 80, I assume you aren't spring chickens yourselves, and I wouldn't risk it.

I also noticed how this video conveniently skipped showing how they maneuvered the chair on a stairway with a landing. The chair got up to the landing, then it was magically at the top of the stairs without showing how they got around the corner.

Also, it in the time it took to take this chair up, a power stairlift would have had the person upstairs already, even a slow one.

If you're concerned about damage to the floors or walls with the installed stairlift, don't be. My parents had hardwood floors, and after we had the stairlift uninstalled, you couldn't tell it had ever been there. It isn't attached to the walls at all either. The only thing that makes it obvious that something might have been there is the electric socket we had installed at the base of the stairs. It's an odd spot for a plug to be, but otherwise no one would ever know a stairlift had been there. It could easily be removed, but my parents' walls are plaster, and the cost of re-plastering isn't worth it.

You can buy the used stairlifts for a fraction of the new price. We bought my parents' lift from a medical supply store for about $2,000. They installed it, serviced it, and then bought it back for about $500 when we got rid of it.
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Reply to MJ1929
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disgustedtoo Feb 6, 2021
"You can buy the used stairlifts for a fraction of the new price. We bought my parents' lift from a medical supply store for about $2,000. They installed it, serviced it, and then bought it back for about $500 when we got rid of it."

THAT has to be good to know, and the experience with the lift, including removal, might be of help to OP or others!

As for the outlet, IMO there are never enough in the house, or where you need them. It might seem to be in an odd place, but I'm sure it could come in handy at some point. The other option is to remove the outlet and cover plate and replace it with a blank plate. Not as nice as a plaster job, but much cheaper!
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Oh--if it's the 'power chair' that we see ads for--those things weigh a freaking TON! The one my dad had was capable of going up a fairly steep hill and around the neighborhood. He never took it out of the house, used it a couple times to move 20' from his bedroom to the kitchen. Then had it dumped in the shed, where it still resides.

It was HUGE and HEAVY. It didn't recline, but some models do.

You would also need a special van to lift and transport this, or a hitch on the rear of a fairly substantial vehicle. IDK if this is helpful for you. Depends on how much your LO wants to get out and how independent they 'want' to feel. It actually probably does take 2 able bodied individuals to move it.
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Reply to Midkid58
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I just saw a TV ad last night for the portable chair you are talking about. No it is not one of the sliding chairlifts. It was shown being used outdoors. It looks like a wheelchair, that has rails or tracks as the OP described. Haven't seen one in person but my first impression was that it would be next to impossible to maneuver it up or down the stairs for the average caretaker. It looked quite heavy and then with the weight of the person in it it must weigh a lot. Going up the stairs the care giver is above the chair going backwards up the steps. It looked like the person assisting was pulling it, but maybe was only guiding it. Need to watch the commercial more carefully next time. I would be very cautious about this, and it is no doubt a big investment. I would guess that with track motors it would be heavy and hard to transport with the car you travel in.
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Reply to vegaslady
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What kind of doctor's offices and pharmacies are you visiting that don't have handicapped entrances? The only places I've heard of that use devices like this are facilities or corporations that keep them on hand as part of their emergency evacuation plans, given the price tag I have a hard time imagining a way that they would ever be practical in a home environment. - you can build a lot of ramp or make other home renovations if you are willing to spend that kind of money.
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disgustedtoo Feb 6, 2021
"...that don't have handicapped entrances?"

I wondered the same thing! Rules to have handicap access have been around a LONG time!

Looking at the image Frebrowser linked to, EEEK, I wouldn't want to be mucking with that in the house. Pretty pricey too.
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I had not heard of these before.

Like this, right?

https://www.mobilestairlift.com/products/mobile-stairlift-battery-powered-portable

I'm also confused as to why you are moving someone who can't do stairs to a place with stairs. Maybe I missed something.
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Reply to Frebrowser
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I'm a little confused. You want a chair lift that is permanently attached to the wall next to the stairs in your home, right? Not something that's portable to use when you have to see the dr?

My MIL had a stairlift installed (super expensive) and she uses it to move her laundry down and up and she still takes the stairs. SMH! Her stairs are long--about 15 of them and the carpet she chose is so slippery. She's fallen/slid many times. I know she has some dementia and the stair lift for her is for her LAUNDRY and that's it. So weird.

Dh has explained it many times but she is stubborn and does what she wants.

I personally have ridden the lift and while it is very, very slow, I do feel it is a very safe way to move her up and down. It hardly requires 'training'--and honestly, if someone cannot maneuver it, they should not be living alone. It's helpful and probably would help your sister. MIL's doesn't require 'help' at all, but perhaps your sister would, due to her problems.

We thought this would be a game changer for MIL, but it really isn't. If you don't USE it, it's pointless. Maybe you can find someone who has one of these and you can try using it with sister to see if she likes it.
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Reply to Midkid58
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disgustedtoo Feb 6, 2021
OP specifically said not the chairlift, such as you described. She needs it more for going to appts, etc outside the home. I am a little surprised that a doctor office would have stairs and no handicap ramp. Thought those were required long ago!

The people who bought my mother's condo were having one installed. We still had the cameras in the place and there was one couple who were so animated when looking at the place, I had hoped it was them who would buy it. They were a bit younger than others, so they'd likely have many good years there.

There were actually two couples who bid on it and when I saw who it was that "won", I was dismayed! The woman was already using a walker and had great difficulty getting into the place (two steps up then a step up into the entrance!) The stairs in the place scared me, I can't even imagine why a 55+ condo building would have stairs like that! Fairly steep and smallish treads. The entrance to the stairs was just outside the main bedroom, so if one is unsteady, coming or going out of the BR would be somewhat hazardous! Mom had installed a baby gate when dad wasn't steady, but really all that would do if he fell is tumble him over so he'd go head first! The realtor wanted me to remove it for showing, but I was concerned about others not noticing it, backing out from the BR door and falling.

Anyway, the couple overpaid for the place to begin with and then were going to install the lift! There is a finished area, but everything else one would need was on the main floor. I'm sure they'll never get their money back on that place when they sell!
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