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Guide to buying a stairlift

Guide to buying a stairlift

We read an article recently about an elderly gentleman whose life had been transformed by installing a simple adaptation to his home - namely a stairlift. His ability to live independently in his own home, despite suffering from mobility issues, was greatly improved. He could go up and down the staircase in his house to reach his bedroom without any struggle, his family were less worried that he might suffer a fall while managing his two storey house and, crucially, he removed the need for an expensive or stressful move away from his home to a bungalow or ground floor flat.

It's fair to say that the creation of stairlifts to fit a variety of staircases both in and outside the house, has made a huge difference in the way elderly or less mobile people navigate their homes.

So if you're ready to take the next step and install a stairlift, here's our guide to buying the right stairlift for your home and your needs.

Types of Stairlift

Essentially there are two types of indoor stairlifts - straight and curved - and they're designed to fit those shapes of staircases in the home.

Straight stairlifts are, as you might imagine, less expensive and easier to install as they run straight up and down a straight rail with the seat neatly attached to this.

Curved stairlifts require a more bespoke set up depending on the curves, corners and winds of your staircase. As suggested, these do take longer to install and can be more expensive due to the bespoke nature of the fitting and manufacture. However, as many homes have stairs with corners, these are common and regularly made and fitted in homes so don't let your unusually shaped staircase put you off.

Stairlift Features

The Seat:

When buying your chair you'll want to make sure the seat is correctly fitted and adjusted for you.

For optimum comfort while you're being transferred from the bottom to the top of your staircase you'll need to make sure the seat is side enough for you to sit comfortably on.

You'll also need to check that the seat can be adjusted to the correct height to ensure it's easy and you're safe when getting in and out of the chair.

A swivel seat that can pivot to allow easier access on and off is a good feature to include in your choice of chair.

The Footrest:

You'll need a well positioned footrest to hold your feet in place while you travel up and down the staircase. A powered foot rest is useful as it will fold itself away when the stairlift is not in use, leaving the staircase and landing areas clear for others to walk up and down the stairs without any trip hazards in the way.

Safety features:

You might want to consider a stairlift with built-in obstruction sensors. These can be incredibly useful if there are any hazards blocking the rails for example. In the case of an obstruction, the lift will come to a complete stop if there is anything blocking it, avoiding the scenario where there is unexpected damage and costly repairs.

A seatbelt is another vital safety feature to consider.

Is it expensive to run a stairlift?

Surprisingly, a stairlift is very economical to run and, once installed, is cheaper to run than many other household appliances. The setup is powered by batteries that automatically charge when the stair is docked. This allows the system to hold onto power in the event of an electricity outage, so it can still be used in an emergency.

What's the best make of stairlift?

There are a number of brands specialising in indoor stairlifts in the UK, but for reliability and great customer service we, at Mediworld Ltd, wouldn't hesitate to recommend both Stannah and Acorn.

Stannah has sold over 700,000 products worldwide since 1867, they are a British, family owned and run business producing stairlifts and homelifts for the UK and around the world.

Acorn have numerous awards and accreditations including the "Buy with confidence" award from Trading Standards and have the "ease of use" award from the Arthritis foundation.

Need more help?

Buying a stairlift can be a big decision so to help with this, we have a stairlift demonstration unit within our store for you to try. Due to the current pandemic we are operating by appointment only, so please call 020 8764 1806 to arrange your demonstration.

We're always here to help so get in touch today.

For all your Medical and Homecare supplies give us a call at Mediworld.

We have over 40 years experience in medical, surgical, mobility and home health supplies and we're always on hand to chat if you need support or advice. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and don't forget to read our other great health blogs!