As we get older and less mobile, it’s not uncommon to find it difficult to manage the stairs. When the stairs become a challenge there’s an increased risk of a fall. Many people worry about having to move from the home they love to a bungalow, or restrict themselves to living on the ground floor because they struggle to use the stairs safely.
However, there is a solution. Getting a stairlift installed can give you the freedom to go up and down your stairs in safety and help you retain your independence.
Here we look at the things you need to consider before choosing which stairlift is right for you.
The Layout of Your Stairs
Not all staircases are the same. Some are simple flights of stairs that go directly in a straight line. Others may have any number of twists or turns. The layout of your stairs is a key factor in determining what sort of stairlift will fit.
Stairlifts can be fitted on most staircase layouts, but it is important to make sure you choose a model that is designed to work on your particular stairs.
If your stairs are straight, then a straight stairlift is the type that will be needed. For any other style of stairs with bends or corners, a curved model will be required.
The Width of Your Stairs
Another essential consideration is how wide your stairs are. You need to make sure there is adequate space for a stairlift to move along the staircase without the risk of bumping your legs on the opposite wall or bannister.
Most seated stairlifts require a minimum stair width of 26 inches, but there are perch seat models designed for narrow stairs with a minimum width of 25 inches.
In some situations, it’s possible to make slight alterations to a narrow staircase in order for a stairlift to be safely fitted. The best thing to do is to request a free home visit from a stairlift company to find out exactly what your options are.
Stairlifts are relatively inexpensive to buy, especially when compared to the cost of a home lift or moving to a bungalow, but the price is nevertheless an important consideration.
As a rule, straight stairlifts are cheaper than curved ones, because there is more work involved in building and installing a stairlift on curved stairs.
If you have a limited budget, one option to look at is purchasing a reconditioned model instead of a brand new one. Reconditioned stairlifts from reputable suppliers are recent models that have been refurbished to factory standards and come with full warranty cover.
Another option that may be suitable for you is renting instead of buying a stairlift. Whether a rental stairlift is cost-effective will depend on your circumstances. Generally speaking, rental stairlifts can work out cheaper in the short term, say 6-12 months. If you think you will need a stairlift for more than a year, buying your own usually costs less in the longer term.
Getting a stairlift can make a big difference to your daily life and take the worry out of climbing the stairs. These considerations should help you make an educated decision when choosing which stairlift is most suited to your needs.