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How to choose a stairlift

shutterstock_333261950If your mobility is impaired and you struggle to navigate your way up or down your stairs, a stairlift can make a great addition to your home. Not only do they make your life much easier, they can also help you to maintain your independence for longer and reduce the likelihood of any accidents happening.

They are however a major investment so you shouldn’t make any hasty decisions when choosing a stairlift. Below is a quick guide to choosing the right product for you and your home.

Seek advice from an occupational therapist 

If you’re thinking of installing a stairlift into your home, your first step should be to seek advice from a qualified occupational therapist. They will be able to provide a better insight into your needs, what would be the most appropriate option for you and crucially, how your condition is likely to change and impact you in the future.

Get honest opinions 

It’s always a good idea to speak to people who already own a stairlift to get an honest and unbiased opinion. They will also be able to offer advice about the buying process and which option might be the most suitable for your needs.

Speak to stairlift companies 

Get in touch with some companies who sell and install stairlifts. As well as being able to offer you some expert advice, they will also be able to advise you on their products, prices and services so you can get an idea of what to expect.

Choosing a stairlift that suits your needs 

There are many different types of stairlifts so it’s important to consider each option and make a decision on which is best suited to your needs. Stairlift options include:

Seated stairlifts – this is the most common type because it allows you to sit comfortably and securely whist navigating your way between the different levels of your house. It is possible to carry a walking stick on a seated stairlift but they’re not appropriate for larger items. This means that if you use a zimmer frame or a rollator, you will need to keep one upstairs and another one downstairs.

Standing or perching stairlifts – if you have difficulty bending your knees or your staircase is particularly narrow, this might be the right solution for you. Perching stairlifts are similar to standing stairlifts but they offer a bit more support because they have an area for you to rest on. shutterstock_291669131

Straight stairlift – as the name suggests, this type of stairlift is only suitable for straight staircases. Installation is quick and easy which makes it the cheapest option available and as they’re normally powered from the mains, they come with a battery backup in case of a power failure.

Curved stairlifts – a lot of people assume that they can only have a stairlift if their staircase is perfectly straight. Nothing could be further from the truth however because curved stairlifts follow any bends and can even glide across landings and/or half landings. Another benefit of this type of stairlift is because they operate on a rail which is fitted very closely to the wall, it frees up more space on the actual staircase. This is ideal if you have other people living in the house who do not rely on the stairlift.

Outdoor stairlifts – whilst people are quick to consider how they can navigate their way around the inside of their home, they often forget about how they can get into or out of their front or back door. Outdoor stairlifts provide a convenient and easy way to access steps leading up to your door so this is something you never have to worry about again. Visit the Age UK website for further details.

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