Posted on 29/07/2020

Rise to the challenge with an indoor or outdoor stair lift

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Buying a stair lift can make the world of difference to a person’s independence, but it can be a daunting task to choose the right one.

As we age, simple tasks such as walking upstairs can become more difficult, especially if a person experiences mobility issues due to aching joints, fatigue or a specific health condition. Stairlifts offer an alternative and safer way to use stairs at home, helping to reduce falls and enabling safer access to different floors.

Here we look at the main points a person should consider before buying a stairlift for their own home or for a relative or someone they care for, so they can be confident of making the right choice for their individual needs.

How does a stairlift work?

It’s good to know how a stairlift works to better understand how a person will need to operate it and determine whether the stairlift will be suitable for them. Stairlifts typically consist of a seat, arm and foot rests and the tracking rails which the lift moves along to go up and down the stairs. There are usually a few different controls that are located on a remote, on the armrest and on the wall. If the stairlift is at the other end of the stairs, a remote or wall control can be used to call it back.

When seated, a person will control the stairlift with a lever or joystick that usually features simple motions, such as left and right or up and down, to move the lift to where they want to go. Each stairlift will have different features, but some styles include seats that swivel to make it easier to get onto and off the seat and can be folded up against the wall so others can walk past the lift when using the stairs.

Modern stairlifts are usually powered by rechargeable battery but require mains power for charging. Most stairlifts have a charging spot located either at the top or bottom of the stairs, where the lift will be parked after use for it to automatically charge the batteries.

Who are stairlifts suitable for?

Although stairlifts can offer improved safety for someone who finds it difficult or painful to climb the stairs, a person will need a certain amount of mobility in order to use the lift safely. The stair lift user will need to be able to get on and off the stair lift, as well as understand the controls and know how to use the lift safely. If they are uncomfortable or unable to use the lift safely then other options may need to be considered. People with neurological conditions that affect their balance, or who experience blackouts or seizures should be advised against using a stairlift.

Using the stairs is a good way for people to stay active at home and if a person can use their staircase without it causing pain, it is beneficial to do so as it can help them to keep their muscles strong and frequently in use.

What type of staircase is in the house?

If the staircase is curved, then a curved stair lift will be required which can go smoothly around corners. Curved stair lifts are generally more expensive than their straight stair lift counterparts, but that is because detailed measurements are needed for the curved models.

If the staircase in the home is narrow, then specialist stairlifts that can fit on narrow stairs or standing lifts may need to be considered. However, in some cases, stairs may be too narrow for a lift and other changes may need to be made, such as creating a bedroom on the ground floor or considering a move if the staircase poses considerable safety concerns.

Does the person using the stairlift have good dexterity in their hands?
If the stair lift user has limited movement in their fingers or hands and may not be able to work a standard stair lift remote control, then stair lifts which have joysticks and toggles may be a better option.

Could an outdoor stairlift be beneficial?

If the person considering a stair lift is a keen gardener or uses their outdoor space frequently, but finds it more difficult to get up and down steps in the garden, then an outdoor stair lift may be the right answer. Outdoor stair lifts are very similar to indoor stair lifts, however they are weather resistant to reduce damage from outdoor conditions.

What does NRS Healthcare offer?

At NRS Healthcare we offer a bespoke stairlift service with Companion Stairlifts that includes a full range of lifts for straight, spiral and curved staircases, with the option of powered or manual seats. All stairlifts are surveyed and installed by a team of professionals and prices are inclusive of a home assessment plus preparation work prior to the stairlift installation. To find out more about the stairlift service or receive a quote, please visit our stairlifts page.

If you are interested in viewing more products that can help people to stay independent at home please visit the NRS Healthcare website.

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