Guide To Buying Stairlifts
Do you need a stairlift?
The first thing you need to do is be sure that having a stairlift can make life easier for you.
If getting up and down the stairs has become too much of a daily struggle, then you may wish to consider living downstairs, or moving into a bungalow or ground floor flat. If you are thinking about changing to a ground floor living space, then one major concern to take into account is the availability of bathroom facilities: we also provide an extensive easy bathing range of walk in baths and showers. However, installing a stairlift is often a more practical and cost-effective option, and it means less of a change to your lifestyle, allowing you to carry on living independently in your own home.
Once you have decided that a stairlift is the right option for you, it is important to choose the stairlift that will best suit your requirements.
Before you buy a stairlift
As with all major home improvement purchases, there are options to think and talk about with friends, family and professionals before you buy a stairlift:
- It is useful to contact an Occupational Therapist (OT), who will be able to offer you guidance on the best solution for your individual requirements.
- If you know someone who owns a stairlift, have a chat with them. That way you can get an honest and unbiased opinion about the advantages of having a stairlift, as well as some suggestions about what questions to ask the stairlift company.
- There are a number of companies with good reputations across the county, get in touch with them to compare products, prices and services they offer to help you access your options.
- Reliability and safety are the main factors to consider. Don’t let cold callers rush you into making a purchase, take your time.
- Requesting a free stairlift brochure and information pack is a great way to compare products that you may consider for your home.
Which is the best stairlift for you?
There are various types of stairlift and it is important that you choose the one which best suits your current needs, as well as consider how your health and home may change in the future.
Before the installation of your stairlift, your stairs will be accessed by an expert for recommendations not only for the product, but your individual safety too.
These are the most popular model of stairlift, where the user can sit comfortably on a seat that swivels at the top of the stairs to make it easier to go from sitting to standing. It is recommended that if you are in need of a mobility aid that is bigger than a walking stick, then make sure you have two of each at the top and bottom of the stairs, as it is not possible to carry anything bigger on a seated stairlift.
Perch stairlifts are better suited to those who find sitting difficult, or uncomfortable. These are very similar to standing stairlifts, but support the user underneath the buttocks, meaning that there is less of a need to move hip or knee joints. The stairlift also include a retractable seatbelt to ensure that the users feel safe and secure.
Straight stairlifts will only travel up a straight staircase, and they tend to be the cheaper option, with installation usually complete in just a few hours. Straight stairlifts are fitted to the stair tread rather than the wall of the staircase, so you needn't worry about having to sort out painting and decorating work. Straight stairlifts are powered from the mains, and are available with a battery backup option in case of power failures, for your peace of mind.
Curved stairlifts are able to go round bends in the staircase, as well as glide across landings or half landings. All Handicare curved stairlift tracks are made to order, to fit each individual staircase. Curved stairlifts operate on a rail that fits very closely to the wall, even on tight bends, freeing up more space on the staircase. Most curved stairlifts run from rechargeable batteries, which are constantly topped up from charging points at the top and bottom of the stairs. The seat needs to be in the right place to charge, and there is a warning beep if it is in the wrong place.
Outdoor stairlifts provide easy access to exposed sites such as the steps leading up to your front door. They are provided with a waterproof cover, so they are ready to use at any time, and are designed to withstand the elements in a number of other ways.
Transfer Platform Straight Stairlifts
Transfer Platform Straight Stairlifts are ideal for homes that have straight staircases with half landings. However, this is only a suitable solution if you are mobile enough to make the transfer from one stairlift to another. If it is unlikely you will be able to do so in the future, then a curved stairlift may be more appropriate.
Should you buy a new or reconditioned stairlift?
Stairlifts are available both brand new and reconditioned, and your decision of which to purchase will be dependent on your budget and requirements.
New stairlifts will come straight from the manufacturer, will be easy to repair and can provide extra peace of mind, although they will also be more costly and could have initial teething problems.
A reconditioned stairlift will cost less, installation will be quicker and initial problems are less likely to occur. However, parts may be more difficult to get hold of, there could be less choice, and it may not last as long as a new stairlift.
What to expect from a home visit
Once you’ve booked your home visit, a surveyor will come to your home to help you decide which stairlift is best for you. It will be useful to have answers ready to the following questions to inform your decision:
- Are you able to bend your knees and travel in a seated position?
- Will it be best for you to travel in a seated or standing position?
- If you prefer a standing stairlift, will there be enough headroom?
- How wide is your staircase?
- Do you have the dexterity in your hands to operate a standard stairlift remote control, or is an alternative method required, such as a joystick or toggle?
- Are there doors, thresholds, banister rails, radiators, or any other potential obstructions near the staircase? If this is the case, you may require a hinged track.
If you don't know the answers to these questions, the surveyor will be able to help you. You may wish to have somebody with you so that they can ask questions as well.
The surveyor will make a thorough assessment of your personal requirements and the dimensions of your staircase. They will also assess the ease with which you get on and off the stairlift.
A written quotation will be provided for the entire cost of the stairlift, including installation. You may be exempt from paying VAT, so ask the representative if you are eligible.
After-care stairlift services will also be explained to you, such as stairlift warranty and repairs, and information on how to maintain your stairlift will be given. After that, you will be left to make your decision independently.
Stairlifts from Age UK Mobility
Our stairlift consultations are free and there is no obligation to buy - you can feel free to make the decision in your own time. To get started, simply call us, request a free stairlift DVD information pack, or browse our full stairlift range online.
How your purchase assists Age UK
Handicare Accessibility Ltd (HAL) provides stairlifts, chairs and bathing products and works in association with Age UK Trading Ltd, which donates its net profits to Age UK (registered charity number:1128267). ‘Age UK Stairlifts’, ‘Age UK Chairs’, ‘Age UK Bathing’, ‘Age UK Walking Aids’ are product names of Age UK Trading CIC. HAL will raise a minimum of £1 Million during 2015/2016 for Age UK via the promotion and sale of independent living products. For further details please ask an advisor, or read more about how your purchase assists Age UK.
Buying these products supports Age UK's charitable work.
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