Stairlifts are an incredibly easy and effective way to maintain independence when physical conditions, generally due to ageing, start to become a hindrance. There versatility and variety over a wide range of products enables that the vast majority of conceivable ailments and disabilities are catered for.
If you have never known anyone who has used a stairlift, it may seem like choosing one would be a daunting experience, and having one fitted would cause havoc. However, with a little bit of helpful information and spending some time to go through your own requirements, having a stairlift can work to vastly improve quality of life and allow you to carry on with routine tasks that were starting to become a chore.
Despite popular belief, stairlifts are not normally attached directly to the wall. The norm is for the track to be securely anchored to the staircase itself, with the main drive unit attached to the track. The drive unit will house the DC motor which will provide propulsion for the lift. The lift itself will also be mounted to this housing and the whole unit will travel up and down the staircase.
A DC motor is used to provide a smoother ride, some will take the supply from the household 240V AC and then convert it to 12V DC (Typical Value), other units will charge a stand-alone 12V DC battery from the mains supply. The main advantage of the stand-alone battery types is that in the event of a power-cut, the user is not left stranded in the stair lift.
When choosing the stairlift that is best for you, it is always best to write a list of requirements that are applicable to you and your household. Considerations such as weight ranges need to be considered, the industry standard tends to be a maximum of 19 Stone (120Kg), although higher rated units are available.
Features such as a swivel chair can also add to the convenience, making getting on and off the seat easier and safer.
If a person has knee or hip problems, bending to sit down/ stand up may be a problem. In this scenario it may be better to opt for a perch/ standing lift.
The main factor in pricing will come from the type of staircase you have. A stairlift for a straight staircase will generally be cheaper than for a curved. If you are on a budget, a good reconditioned unit can be found from approximately £900 and can range up to £4000 and beyond depending on specifications and extra features.