If you or a loved one has a disability or issue that makes it impossible or difficult for them to safely climb stairs, you may have thought about getting a stair lift.
These carry people up and down the stairs, allowing you to access the second floor of your home or the basement level.
Before you decide to, it makes sense to do your research, since there are many different types of stair lifts, and many different companies to choose from.
If you have a straight staircase, you’ll need to get a straight stair lift, while those with curved stair cases will need to go for a curved stair case. While straight stair lifts will travel in a straight line up your stairs, many people have curved stairs and a curved lift can change direction to travel around bends and corners (although these will often be more expensive).
Stairlifts will usually have armrests, seats, and foot plates that can be moved and folded up for easy storage. They also have a number of safety features, including seat belts, footrest sensors, braking systems, and safety controls which ensure that the passenger is protected the whole time they are in the lift, and controls will send the lift up or down the stairway as necessary.
Some people have problems with sitting or bending their knees, and for this reason it may also be a good idea to look into getting a stand or perch chair lift, which has a different type of carriage that allows the passenger to either lightly perch on a higher seat (meaning less pressure on knees and hips), or travel while standing.
You can also often choose between electric and battery stair lifts. The main advantage to getting an electric lift is obviously that they can still be used even if the power goes out- and they’re also often much quieter.
Since most seats face away from the wall or the banister and towards the stairwell, it’s hugely important that the lift you choose has a swivel seat. Since users of stair lifts are typically motion-impaired or disabled, a seat that does not swivel will mean that they must get in and out onto either the top or bottom steps and are more likely to fall. Swivel seats will move away from the stairs, allowing the passenger to easily and safely sit and stand while on a flat, wide surface. The seat should also have a safety lock so that it won’t move while it’s going up and down the stairs.
If you’re now feeling a little overwhelmed by all the choices available, don’t worry! There are plenty of professionals available who can guide you through your choice, take a look at your stairs and let you know the best lift for you. You can also try out a few different lifts to see which ones are the most comfortable.