Wheelchair Lifts: Are They Right For You?
Wheelchair lifts have multiple potential usages. Wheelchair lifts also have a wide variety of pricing and features, so how do you know if a wheelchair lift is right for you?
Perhaps you are purchasing a handicap accessible van. Maybe your home has multiple floors and instead of selling it you want to install a lift onto your stairs. What company manufactures the best wheelchair lifts in 2021? Is installation a safe DIY process or do you need to rely on professional installers? Read ahead for important information about modern wheelchair lifts and learn if purchasing one is the right decision for you today.
Wheelchair Lifts – Maintain Independence Inside Your Home & Out
Your disability might take away some of your independence but it does not have to take away all of it. Various circumstances inside your home and out are simply better enjoyed with your ability to access different levels. Some situations are more serious and require you to either adapt to an additional level of independence or change homes. If you choose to stay in your home but need more ability to move between levels, installing a wheelchair lift might be the right decision for you.
Wheelchair lifts are not a one-size-fits-all product. Modern lifts have multiple potential usages all of which help people with disabilities maintain some degree of independence. The stairs inside your home, certain outside areas and your handicap accessible vehicle are all possible locations for a wheelchair lift installation.
Most handicap accessible vehicles capable of supporting a wheelchair lift are vans simply due to their size and weight capacity. Technology has advanced in ways allowing people with disabilities to operate motor vehicles. Wheelchair lifts are the means by which a disabled driver enters and exits his or her vehicle. Medical transportation companies, public buses and other types of handicap accessible commercial transportation are required by law to have a wheelchair lift of some type available for disabled riders.
Wheelchair lifts are used inside to help people with disabilities access different floors of a home. Selling your longtime home because your disability prevents you from accessing one or more levels is often unnecessary when a wheelchair lift is installed. An indoor/stair lift also allows you to maintain a level of privacy by transporting you from common areas on the ground floor to your personal bedroom/bathroom above.
Spending time outside on your patio or deck with friends and family does not have to be limited more than necessary because of your disability. A wheelchair lift transports you from the grass/patio to an elevated deck where you can spend time basking in the sun or sitting under shade umbrellas with your closest companions. Not all homes have first floors on ground level. If you live in a split-level home requiring you to travel stairs to reach your yard, garage, driveway or shed, a ramp fitted with an outdoor lift gives you multiple options of access to all these areas.
Types of Power
Wheelchair lifts are manufactured to operate on two primary types of power. A hydraulic lift utilizes a pneumatics-style water/oil system to create the force necessary to move the device up and down. Hydraulic lifts operate smoothly, are great for when/where electricity is unavailable and also save money on electric/energy bills each month. Electric wheelchair lifts are the most common type of lift installed in 2021. Their systems are more complex due to the additional components/features required to operate them. Electric wheelchair lifts also tend to have more user-operated features, making them more popular overall with disabled consumers.
Pricing for wheelchair lifts in 2021 varies greatly based on the type of lift purchased and the type of power on which it runs. Pricing is also impacted by whether the lift is designed for indoors or outdoors and the type of staircase onto which the lift is installed. Lift prices range from approximately $2,000 to $10,000 and more. Some wheelchair lifts carry a $15,000 price tag when all is said and done, but those situations generally include the addition of multiple features, installation/delivery fees and challenging staircase styles.
Financing and Financial Assistance
Some wheelchair lift manufacturing & installation companies offer financing to help make purchasing your lift more affordable. U.S. state and federal government grants, privately funded grants and rebate offers are also available when qualified. Additional financial assistance resources to potentially help pay for some/all of your wheelchair lift expenses include:
- U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disability tax benefits.
- The Veteran-Directed Care Program (VDC).
- Medicare (Part B).
- Medicare wheelchair/scooter benefit.
- VA Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance payments.
Top features included with certain wheelchair lifts include powered buttons, a remote control and leg elevation. A reclining chair is also a popular feature as is a secure/convenient compartment for bringing purses and other items up/down your stairs. While most wheelchair lifts are made of steel, some are made of glass, wood or a combination of some/all materials. Most lifts are also equipped with folding or retractable parts to help keep them out of the way when not in use or when in transportation.
Many lifts are customizable to suit particular needs. Platform, vertical, incline and Scalamobil lift types are all available. Some lifts are enclosed for added safety. Additional unique features on various wheelchair lifts include swiveling seats, footrests, waterproofing, seat belts, safety sensors and more.
Wheelchair Lift Installation – DIY or Professional Installation?
Most wheelchair lifts are not well-suited for DIY installation projects. DIY home projects are popular and fulfilling but a wheelchair lift requires completely proper installation to function effectively and safely. Only ADA compliant lifts installed by certified professionals are guaranteed to be the safest possible and it therefore is highly recommended to hire a professional outside service to handle installation.
Wheelchair Lift Manufacturing & Installation Companies 2021
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is a reliable resource for finding accredited wheelchair lift manufacturing and installation companies in 2021. Thomas.net also provides information on top companies as does AARP. A few of the top wheelchair lift manufacturing & installation companies for 2021 are:
- AmeriGlide. Ameriglide has multiple options for wheelchair lifts, with variable pricing. Ameriglide's vertical platform lifts start at $3,695.00 and their inclined lifts start at $11,495.00. Ameriglide boasts that they have the best prices on the market. Ameriglide also offers a monthly financing plans (over the course of 6 months) to offer their customers better solutions to affording a much needed product.
- Stannah. Stannah has similar pricing based on location, and also offers free quotes online through their website. A great option if you are still unsure of the best prices available.
- HandiCare. Handicare offers the largest variety of stair and wheelchair lifts of this list. They have options for both inside and outside, as well as fixed ceiling lifts, curved stair lifts, inclined stair lifts, and many more options. If you need to browse all your options, HandiCare is the right choice for you.
- Marc's Mobility. Marc's Mobility sells used or preowned mobility lifts. They have low priced options great for those on a budget. With options priced at or even below $2,000, Marc's Mobility may be the best option for those on a budget.