Stair lifts

A stair lift can support you with getting up and down stairs, either inside or outside your home. Handrails are also an option that can offer support.

 Depending on your situation, Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People may be able to help with funding for these modifications.

What is a stair lift?

A stair lift has a chair that a person can sit on as the lift travels between floors. The lift travels on a track fixed to the stairs or to the wall alongside the stairway.

Stair lifts can be used for stairs either inside your home or outside to get in or out of your home. The chair folds up against the wall when it is not being used so that other people can walk up and down the stairs.

Is a stair lift the best option for you?

For stairways into or around your home to work the best they can for you, think about how you get around, what your needs are and what your home is like.

If you need to use a wheelchair or have trouble sitting, a stair lift may not be the best option for you.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Will you be able to get on and off the stair lift by yourself? How long do you think you will be able to do so – at least a couple of years more?
  • How long do you think you might be living in your present home – will you be there for at least two more years?
  • Will you be operating the stair lift yourself or will you need someone to help you?
  • Do you have a single flight of stairs or is there more than one flight of stairs?
  • Does the stairway curve? The lift needs to travel the whole length of the staircase, not just one flight or part of a curved stairway.
  • Is there enough space on the stairs for the lift’s track to run along beside them? Generally stairs need to be at least 1 metre wide so that there is enough space beside the track for other people in your home to walk up and down the stairs safely.
  • Is there enough space at the top and bottom of the stairs for you to get on and off the lift safely?

Sometimes modifying your home may not be the best or only option for you. For example, if modifying your home is not an option, you may be able to find another home that suits your needs better.

Getting a stair lift

Contact a Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People Equipment and Modification Service (EMS) qualified housing assessor to help you work out if a stair lift best suits your needs. They will help you work out the most cost-effective option for your needs and if you can get funding help from the Ministry.

Your doctor can refer you to an EMS qualified housing assessor or you can refer yourself through local hospital community health services. 

You may also choose to organise and pay for the stair lift yourself.

Find out about what home modifications we can fund.

Repairs and maintenance

Stair lifts need regular maintenance to keep them in good working order.

The home-owner is responsible for all costs associated with maintaining a stair lift, including any repairs, replacement or removal. The stair lift becomes the home-owner’s property, even if it has been fully or partly funded by Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People.


Find out more about stair lifts if you live: