If you’re living with limited mobility, then having stairs in your house is likely to be the bane of your home life. But it doesn’t have to be.
Stairlifts are one of the simplest ways to keep living independently in your own home and choosing the right model for you is crucial to fully exploiting the benefits.
At Karma Mobility, we want to make this process easier.
1/ Size and Shape of Your Staircase
Straight stairs are by far the easiest and most cost-effective to fit stairlifts for. Straight stairlifts can be fitted to most traditional straight staircases without much hassle and can be manually adjusted to suit your needs.
Curved staircases require a curved stairlift. These are made bespoke to your home and needs, but this does mean they come at a greater expense. They are, however, more adaptable.
Platform staircases may require either a curved stairlift or transfer platform stairlift depending on their shape.
If the staircase has one continuous railing that a stairlift can be attached to, then you should be able to fit a singular curved stairlift. However, if there is a landing between staircases, then you may need to consider installing two straight stairlifts with a transfer in between.
If your home has narrow stairs then a perch stairlift, compact stairlift (folding stairlift) or narrow stairlift would be your best option.
A perch stairlift is a standing stairlift with a perch for your buttocks; it will be fitted with a belt for your safety.
Narrow stairlifts are generally thin seated stairlifts that curve around the end of the staircase so they don’t block access when they’re stationary.
If you have a narrow staircase, always take your mobility needs into consideration when deciding which of these options is better for you.
2/ Layout of Your House
The size and layout of your home can greatly impact which stairlift you can get installed. For example, if you have doorways at the top and bottom of your stairs, then you may need a stairlift that doesn’t cause an obstruction.
Similarly, if you have radiators or outlying window sills that are likely to block the route of your stairlift, you may need to choose a bespoke stairlift design that accommodates this.
3/ Your Mobility Needs
Alongside choosing a stairlift to suit your house, you also need to choose a stairlift that suits you.
Make sure it is comfortable. Stairlifts move slowly to make sure the user is safe, which means you’ll need to be comfortable for the ride. Investing in a stairlift that you don’t feel stable in can cause you ongoing grief.
Consider the mobility of your hands. Stairlifts are installed with manual joysticks; if you’re unable to handle a manual stick, you should request a powered stairlift instead.
You should also consider getting a stairlift with a lower seat if you have ongoing knee or leg problems, or need to transfer to the stairlift from your wheelchair. This will prevent any further injuries from occurring when using your stairlift.
4/ Your Budget
Stairlifts can be expensive so you may need to work around a tight budget to get them installed. Luckily, there are plenty of charities and organisations that will provide financial assistance to those installing a stairlift in their home.
These include Disabled Facilities Grants, a grant issued by the government that aims to provide disabled people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with funds to make adjustments to their homes.
You could access:
- £30,000 if you live in England
- £36,000 if you live in Wales
- £25,000 if you live in Northern Ireland
When looking for stairlifts, be sure to check warranties, as this will give you the opportunity to replace or repair your stairlift if it breaks or doesn’t meet your needs.
5/ Professional and Personal Advice
Before making any decisions, you should talk to a GP or health professional to discuss your options. They will be able to give you the most practical advice about which stairlift will work for your needs.
If you have someone in your life already who uses a stairlift, asking for their advice could be just as helpful. They may have tips about the process of installation, recommendations of companies and things to avoid.
Be sure to double check reviews and make sure that the stairlift you buy is fully equipped with safety equipment such as locks and a belt – if you need it.
For more information, advice and guidance from the Karma community, follow Karma Mobility on social media.