Your safety around the home is one of the most important things to consider when planning to install a stairlift, so should not be compromised when it comes to purchasing a stairlift. Before you invest in a new stairlift model, especially if you’re going to be using it alone to increase your mobility around your home, discover how you can stay safe when using it.
- How does a stairlift keep me safe at the top of the stairs?
- Are stairlifts safe?
- What are good ways of making stairs safer?
- What is the maximum weight a stairlift could carry?
- How to choose a safe stairlift
How does a stairlift keep me safe at the top of the stairs?
One of the biggest factors that encourages an individual to buy a stairlift is their mobility. As you get older, you may find it increasingly difficult to manoeuvre around your home, which can have a detrimental impact on your independence. Realising that you may need a little extra help whilst at home can be a challenging time but investing in a stairlift can prove to be a great help in this regard. With this in mind, it is important to note that you should become aware of the cost of a stairlift first, or even how you can finance one if you are considering this as an option.
It is not uncommon for older people to stay in their houses for longer periods of time, and technological advances make this easier. Installing a stairlift means that you can have the flexibility to move between the floors of your house without the aid of a carer, friend or family member. In this respect, stairlifts can sometimes be daunting at first glance.
How can the features of a stairlift help prevent falls?
Standing at the top of the stairs, one of your biggest concerns may be the safety of your straight stairlift, and whether the journey from the top to the bottom of the stairs will be accompanied with any problems. However, a powered swivel seat can help minimise the chance of falls. One of the reasons for this is that the seat can move into a comfortable position for you to sit on, rather than you needing to step down onto the stairs in order to sit. This seat is at a height which should be comfortable for those who suffer from joint pain due to conditions such as arthritis, or for those who feel unstable on their feet.
Stairlift safety is imperative, so the addition of a seat belt provides you with added confidence that you’re unlikely to fall from your seat whilst descending the stairs. If you’re looking at purchasing a curved stairlift for your home, some tracks also come with an additional section of track in order to give you more space at the top of your stairs to secure yourself to your seat before travelling down the stairs.
Are stairlifts safe?
There are myriad stairlift safety features which ensure that travelling either to the top or bottom of your stairs is a smooth journey for you. The addition of a seat belt secures you in place, whilst the slow but steady speed of between 0.16-0.34 mph makes a comfortable ride. For more information about the speed of stairlifts, the essential stairlift information guide tells you all you need to know.
When it comes to operating a stairlift, safety sensors will detect any potential obstructions, preventing you from travelling. If a problem presents itself, an engineer may need to visit your home to service your stairlift, quickly amending the problem thanks to their comprehensive knowledge. Another way in which you can ensure that your stairlift is safe is by scheduling regular MOTs, where any problems can be highlighted in a shorter period of time. The stairlift aftercare guide can provide information about why these are important.
For peace of mind, the stairlifts adhere to multiple safety standards and have been rigorously tested in order to prevent any issues. As your safety is paramount, each stairlift comes with a two-year warranty, with experienced engineers on hand to offer support and administer any repairs.
What are good ways of making stairs safer?
If you’re having trouble using the stairs in your home, then the addition of a stairlift will ultimately make it safer for you to travel between floors. Stairlifts are a great option if you’re looking to regain your independence, as there is no need for someone to supervise you. Not having to worry about whether you can handle the depth of each step will make you feel more relaxed, and the seat belt will protect you from the chance of falls. If you experience aches and pains, a stairlift can help to keep these to a minimum and reduce stress on your joints that you may have previously suffered from.
What should I keep in mind before using a stairlift?
There are many stairlift regulations in the UK that can make stairs safer. When it comes to using a stairlift, it is important to ensure that nobody else is on the stairs at the same time as you, pets included. Your staircase needs to have a minimum width of 750mm in order for you to sit comfortably on the seat, as well as to allow people to safely pass in case of an emergency. For general stairlift use, handrails should be at a comfortable height and run along the steps, as they can help to provide stability whilst ascending. They are especially important if you don’t feel confident on the stairs and for night-time use in dimer light. However, if you are walking up or down the flight of stairs at night, you should make sure that you have adequate lighting for each step.
What is the maximum weight a stairlift could carry?
Due to the nature of a stairlift, there is a maximum weight limit to operate the stairlift. With most models being attached to the walls, installing a stairlift requires brackets to be attached to your stair’s treads. If you are wondering 'how much weight can a stairlift hold?', as standard, the average maximum limit for a UK stairlift is 25 stone or 160kg. In order to adhere to the weight guidelines, it is vital that the stairlift is used by only one person at a time in order to keep the stairlift safe.
What happens in the case of a fire?
There are stairlifts that have been specifically created for narrow stairs, but it is important that these meet stairlift fire safety regulations. If you feel as though this will cause an obstruction in the event of a fire, and prevent the emergency services from reaching the upper levels of your home, you will need to consult with an expert whilst making your choice to assess your options.
How to choose a safe stairlift
A stairlift is a fantastic device to have in the home to help those with mobility difficulties, but many may be understandably concerned about how safe they are to use. Rest assured, however, that stairlifts today have a number of excellent safety features.
When choosing a safe stairlift, it is important to consider the setting first - your home. Whether you have straight or curved stairs, there will be a mobility aid out there to suit your own personal preferences and your property.
Straight stairlifts can help the user travel up a standard stairway with ease and their soft-start functions ensure that the user is not jolted on the ascent or descent of the stairs. Perch seats are safe and comfortable for those with limited knee or hip movement, and there are plenty of high-quality stairlifts on the market which are developed especially with these needs in mind.
Some stairlift users with particular mobility issues such as arthritis can find an operating toggle to be particularly useful. This feature minimises mobility difficulty, as the user only has to apply the smallest amount of force and movement to operate the stairlift; simply press and hold the toggle and the stairlift will be under the user’s control.
Stairlift safety features
Alongside features to make stairlift use compatible within your home and with individual disabilities, there are a number of important safety features that will contribute towards your choice of stairlift model.
- Power cuts: Power cuts can be particularly dangerous for stairlift users and all others with mobility difficulties, especially if the stairlift user is already halfway up the stairs and the power cuts out, leaving the individual stranded; this is something that many who are looking to purchase a stairlift for their home often don’t take into consideration. Thankfully, stairlifts have come a long way since their first examples, and many now come with battery back-up so that, in the event of a power cut, your stairlift can safely transport you to either the top or the bottom of the stairs.
- Elderly falls: The primary purpose of the stairlift is to prevent elderly falls that can occur when the user is trying to either mount or climb downstairs. There are a number of features on contemporary stairlifts to further guarantee the safety of users, however, such as a seatbelt to ensure the passenger is kept in position should they experience a loss of balance. Some of the best models also include a powered swivel seat and a powered folding footplate which can offer that extra bit of comfort with minimal effort exerted.
- Multiple users: For situations where there are multiple people living in the same home who are in need of the use of a stairlift, safety has also been taken into consideration. The best models include a clever control to return the stairlift upstairs or downstairs if there are two users, ensuring that no-one who needs it is ever without the use of the mobility aid.
- Obstructions: In addition to these safety features, another primary feature that has to come with stairlifts - under British and European safety guidelines - are safety sensors that can detect if anything might be in the way of the aid as it travels. These sensors are highly effective, so all stairlift users should rest assured that their device will be equipped to the highest safety standards.
Make a safe investment soon
So, be sure not to bypass vital safety features when it comes to buying your stairlift, as these are a hugely important part of the chair’s design. Not only should stairlifts help those with mobility difficulties to continue living an independent and safe lifestyle, they should also help to prevent avoidable falls. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our expert teams here at Handicare.
When using a stairlift, your safety comes first. Discover how a stairlift can make you more comfortable on the stairs and reduce the chance of falls.
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