Stair Lift Alternatives: Stair Climbers, Wheelchair Lifts and Elevators

Ian George
Ian George
Writer at Seniors Bulletin

In Canada, a Senior Citizen is defined as an elderly person, especially over the age of sixty-five. With age comes change. These changes include the difficulties of physical mobility. Some individuals are affected more than others. Some only need some human assistance, while others have to use a wheelchair to assist their daily living. Although most seniors may face mobility issues, many choose to remain in their own home. To make this aging in place process easier for Seniors at home, there are a number of products that can help with physical mobility.


  • Stair lifts are a common solution for seniors facing mobility challenges, offering a safe way to navigate stairs in their own homes, though they can be expensive.
  • Alternatives to stair lifts include stair walkers, stair climbing lifts, platform or wheelchair lifts, and residential elevators, catering to different needs and budgets.
  • Choosing the right aid depends on the individual’s mobility level: stair walkers for minimal assistance, wheelchair lifts for wheelchair users, and residential elevators for high-end, versatile use.

One of the problems that seniors face is the issue of climbing up and down the stairs.

Fortunately, some companies understand the accessibility requirements of Seniors who age at home and have worked on making mobility-friendly products for them.

How Do Seniors Go Up And Down Stairs?

Many seniors go up and down the stairs by relying on the support of their family members or relatives. Assisted living is also something that many seniors utilize, but the cost of this can be quite hefty.

Senior who are aging in place, example in their own home, may chose a stair lift. Stair lifts are the most common mobility aid for seniors to get up and down the staircase. However, it can get expensive. The cost varies by style and model of the stair lift, as well as the installation. Installation costs may vary based on the complexity of the current home.

A stair lift is not the only option for seniors to go up and down stairs. Other alternatives to stair lifts listed below. Jump to Stair Lift Alternatives.

Is Stair Climbing Good For Seniors?

Yes, there are benefits to stair climbing for an older adult. There are many advantages to climbing stairs:

  • While it would require leg power, this leg power can be an important priority to reduce the risk of injury for older adults who fall.
  • Climbing stairs can help a person maintain healthy body weight. To climb stairs is a form of exercise that can help one build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints. So for someone who is able to climb a staircase, it is recommended to activate these muscles.

There are stair assist devices that can help you on your journey up the stairs. These can be a great solution if you are struggling only slightly to climb a staircase.

What Is The Smallest Stair Lift?

If you have a small staircase, there are small stair lifts that are made for narrow staircases. Stannah, Acorn, and Bruno all have options for this.

You can compare the benefits here:

How Do You Make Stairs Easier To Climb For The Elderly?

Depending on a seniors needs, Stair Lifts, Stair Walkers, Stair Climbing Lifts, Platform Lifts or Wheelchair lifts, and Residential Elevators are all options for the elderly to climb stairs much more easily. Whether they have their own home or they are living on rent, investing in a stair lift or any of its alternatives, can make the stair climb a lot easier.

If they can already climb the stairs, it may be a better idea to continue climbing them, with perhaps the support of a stair climber, something like the Assistep — a stair walker which will help them build their muscles — may be more suitable. It is a more affordable stair lift alterative that can easily be installed and removed.

Is There An Alternative To A Stair Lift?

There are a few options that can function as a stair lift alternative. The options are below such as:

  1. Stair Walkers
  2. Stair Climbing Lifts
  3. Platform Lifts or Wheelchair Lifts
  4. Residential Elevators

List Of Stair Lift Alternatives

There are stair lift alternatives if your needs require something different than a traditional stair lift. Traditional stair lifts come in options of straight stair lifts which takes a user up straight staircases, and a curved stair lift variant which takes a user up a set of curved stairs.

Let’s explore the various options for seniors to help them in their stair climbing experience.

Stair Walkers

One stair lift alternative, that we alluded to earlier would be a stair walker. This is a device that you can attach to stair railings, and hold on to as you walk up and down the staircase. It provides added support to anyone and everyone with mobility issues.

Some examples of this are those who have injured themselves, those who have suffered health conditions such as strokes, and even seniors who are losing the strength in their limbs or are suffering from any diseases or conditions.

AssiStep is one of the most well-known brands that offer this stair walker, as a stair lift alternative. It is a much cheaper alternative than a stair lift.

Stair Climbing Wheelchair Lifts

Although more expensive than a stair walker, there are also stair-climbing wheelchairs. These include electric and battery-powered options. Although the battery-powered options require someone to assist the rider, there are a few electric options available that allow the user to independently climb and descend the stairs.

Platform Lifts or Wheelchair Lifts

A wheelchair lift is also known as a chair lift. It is different from a stair lift in the sense that this tool is designed to lift the whole wheelchair up the stairs, instead of just an individual. It is usually in a vertical platform lift format, which carries both a passenger and the wheelchair up to the next level without the user getting off their wheelchair.

Wheelchair lifts can start anywhere from $4000 to over $30,000 depending on the type that you require. Wheelchair lifts are a great stair lift alternative for those who already have a wheelchair so that they can independently go up and down stairs without requiring assistance.

Residential Elevator

Another stair lift alternative is getting a home elevator. Getting a home elevator can be useful not only for the senior who is using it but it would also be useful to other family members to transport items up and down. It provide a safe route for seniors to travel up and down the different floors. It is also wheelchair safe. However, this is an expensive option.

Installing a home elevator can be significantly more costly than even a wheelchair lift. However, it is a convenient option if you have the funds, and can be multi-purpose as well, for example, when you need to get heavy items to different levels of the home. Home elevators are often built alongside the home itself. It can be retrofitted but it will cost a lot more in renovation fees. Some retrofitted elevators must be built outside the home in order to meet the spacial requirement needed for the installation.

Which Option Is Best For Me?

Overall, there are quite a few options to go up and down stairs for those with mobility issues. Depending on the individual, one may be more suited for a particular individual than the other.

Keeping price in mind, the cheapest option would be the stair walker. This would be more suitable for those who have the ability to walk up and down the stairs but just need some added assistance.

However, for someone who requires the use of a wheelchair, a wheelchair lift may be the best option. The good thing about a wheelchair lift is that the user would not need to get in and out of their wheelchair to use it. Whereas for a stair lift, one would need to physically get on and off the stair lift. Therefore to save time and effort, for those who are already using a wheelchair, then the wheelchair lift may be the most suitable choice.

Another option for those who are already using wheelchairs is a home elevator, depending on your budget and additional needs. For example, you could choose a home elevator, if you feel like you would use it for more than accessibility, or if you just prefer the design of one.

A stair lift and stair climber would be recommended for those with minor mobility issues but may still have trouble climbing stairs. These are more for those who have the ability to walk but would require just a little bit of extra assistance while doing so.

If you are thinking about getting assistance to help you climb and descend stairs, then these are some of the available options in the market that you can consider.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the providers being reviewed. The providers and SeniorsBulletin assume no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness and without any warranties of any kind whatsoever, express or implied.

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