Living with a chronic condition such as Parkinson's can have a dramatic impact on one's mobility and independence around the home.
And with symptoms such as muscle weakness, freezing in place, and impaired vision, the thought of staying mobile around the home can often feel impossible - leaving many asking, how can I care for Parkinson's at home?
Unfortunately, those living with Parkinson’s are at an increased risk of injury within the home - with 45-68% experiencing a fall each year.
And although this statistic can seem frightening, there is hope. With the help of modern technology there are now a variety of products that decrease the chances of a fall and ultimately can provide better safety for someone living with Parkinson's.
One such product is a stairlift which can be an effective and safe solution to help anyone navigating stairs within their home. In this article, we will explain what stairlifts are, how they reduce fall risk and what to look for before purchasing one for the home.
What is a Stairlift and How Does it Work?
A stairlift is a device that helps you ascend and descend stairs. It is typically installed in the home stairway, and it runs on electricity or batteries. Any proper stairlift will include a seat and a rail that you sit on while it takes you up and down the stairs.
By providing an automatic system to move someone up and down the stairs, this can help combat one of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's which is bradykinesia, which causes a person to shuffle or drag their feet, making their steps shorter - leading to a tripping hazard.
In addition, here are a few other ways that stairlifts can help prevent falls at home:
1. They take the strain off of your legs and feet - this can be helpful if you have difficulty walking or standing
2. They have built-in safety features such as a safety belt and harness to keep you secure, and stairlifts are designed to stop automatically if there is any obstruction on the stairway.
3. They maintain your independence. You can continue to live in your own home even if you can't climb stairs safely.
Are Stairlifts Safe?
As mentioned, stairlifts have built-in safety measures including seatbelts, harnesses, and sensors that stop the lift if something or someone gets in the way. When installed properly, stairlifts are designed to be as stable as possible while in use.
And it’s important to emphasize that a stairlift should always be installed by a trained professional who takes into account the specific layout of your stairs and areas of support in the architecture of your home.
When it comes to any safety solution in your home you always want to ensure proper installation.
Interested to learn more about how a stairlift might help you or a loved one at home? Click this link to schedule a complimentary home safety checkup with a licensed health expert. They'll work 1:1 with you.
How Much Do They Cost?
As with many home modifications, the cost of a stairlift can vary depending on the make and model that you choose. However, we tell families to expect a range from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on if the lift is new or used and the length and layout of your stairs.
And even at $5,000 this is often less than the cost of two months of assisted living.
To get a better sense of what makes the most sense for your situation, we suggest you have a licensed health professional come out to the home to properly evaluate medical history and your staircase to best determine what type of stairlift will be needed.
Are They Covered by Medicare?
Some Medicare Advantage and Long-Term Care plans will cover stairlift installation and repairs. Although the majority of MA plans hesitate to cover these modifications as they are unfortunately considered a luxury household item.
However before doing anything else, we recommend you check in with your health insurance provider to learn more about your coverage.
And if stairlifts aren't covered by your insurance, Jukebox Health is happy to offer flexible financing options up to 60 months for any product ranging from $500-$25,000 - making it easier to spread the cost out over time.
How Do I Choose Which Stairlift to Get?
There are many companies and types of stairlifts out there, so choosing the right one may take some time and research. Here are a few things to consider:
The layout of your stairs
Take notice of the layout of your staircase. Is it straight or curved? Some stairlifts will only work on straight staircases, while others can be installed on curved staircases. It is important to choose a device that will fit your specific layout.
Who will be using the stairlift
If you or a loved one will be the only one using the stairlift, then you can choose a model with extra features. These extra features can include a powered swivel or a retractable rail. However, if there will be others using the stairlift, such as children or other relatives, then you may want to choose a simpler model that is easier to operate.
Stairlifts can be expensive and it can be challenging to understand why certain brands are exponentially more expensive than others. At Jukebox Health we work with only the best retailers to provide a range of pricing options and stairlift features - tailoring the product to your needs, style and budget. We're happy to explain in detail the various features and reliability of stairlift brands.
Improve Accessibility At Home
Stairlifts are a useful tool for preventing falls at home. They take some of the strain off your feet and legs, have safety features for extra security, and maintain independence keeping you at home and out assisted care facilities.
If you are worried about you or a loved one's safety at home, Jukebox Health is here to help. We provide comprehensive home safety checkups conducted by licensed occupational therapists, as well as installation of over 800+ safety solutions, including stairlifts.