OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — A Wisconsin-based company that makes stairlifts for those with mobility issues has seen a boom in sales since the pandemic began.  

“It’s because people are realizing they’re much safer at home than anywhere else,” said Matthew Capelle with Bruno Independent Living Aids, based in Oconomowoc.

From January to September, Bruno saw a 60% increase in demand for stairlifts. After demand dropped significantly in March at the on-set of the pandemic, it skyrocketed 250% from April/May to June/July.

Capelle says more families are choosing to keep their elderly loved ones at home, instead of putting them in nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. This is because of the risk to contract COVID-19.

“That way, they’ll be able to control who comes in and out of their house and a stairlift allows them the safety of staying in their own home and the safety from climbing up and down the stairs,” Capelle said.

Suzanne Kelley installed a stairlift in her Wisconsin home, as well as her mother’s Florida condo. Suzanne’s mother, Ute, said she doesn’t know what she would do without these devices.

“My stairlift helps me stay in my apartment, which is really the most important thing to me and really I cannot say more than that,” Ute said. “It’s such a wonderful thing for me.”

“She used to basically have to get on all fours and crawl up the stairs like a bear and we said this can’t go on,” Suzanne said.

Ute could not visit Suzanne in Wisconsin this past summer, but the two are hopeful that will be able to happen again soon.

“Hopefully soon, we’ll have a vaccine and she’ll be back in Wisconsin next summer,” Suzanne said.

Bruno Independent Living Aids is the largest manufacturer of stairlifts in the country.