Claire Hamilton from Stairlifts Reviews discusses what you need to think about if you’re considering buying a stairlift for yourself or a loved one.
For a person with limited mobility who is struggling with the stairs in their home, getting a stairlift installed can make a huge difference to their life. A stairlift can help someone remain living independently in their own home, without being restricted to just one floor. Having a stairlift can take away the worry of using the stairs and give users the freedom to go safely up and down the stairs without the danger of falling.
Although there are lots of benefits of buying a stairlift, there are a number of things to consider before parting with your cash. Read on to find out what you need to take into account if you’re thinking of purchasing a stairlift.
Type of Stairs
A key consideration is what type of staircase you have. This will determine whether you can get a stairlift with a readymade rail or whether you will need to have a rail custom made. Straight stairlifts are designed to be fitted to straight stairs that go in one direction without any turns. They can be fitted to a standard premade rail, which costs less than a bespoke one. A straight stairlift can be installed very quickly as there is no need to wait for the rail to be made especially. Some companies even offer a same day or next day installation service.
If your stairs have bends or turn corners then you will need a curved stairlift with a rail made specifically to fit the exact contours of your staircase. Curved stairlifts are more expensive because there is more work involved in building a rail to fit curved stairs. There will also be a longer wait of several days or weeks between having your stairs surveyed and the rail being built.
In the UK there are a lot of older houses with narrow staircases. You may be concerned that your stairs aren’t wide enough for a stairlift to fit. It is always worth seeking advice from a stairlift supplier, as there are models that can be fitted to narrow stairs. For example, if a standard seated model is too wide, a perching or standing model may fit instead.
The User’s Needs
Another crucial factor to consider is the needs of the person who will be using the stairlift. There are different models that are suited to different needs, as well as optional extras that can be added if required. Someone with arthritis in their hands may find an ergonomic control easier to use. A powered swivel seat can be useful for someone who finds it difficult to use a manual seat. Someone who has difficulty bending their knees or hips may find a perch seat is more comfortable than a standard seat that requires the user to sit down. A stairlift supplier will be able to assess your requirements and advise on the most suitable model.
One of the first things people want to know is how much a stairlift will cost. Prices of stairlifts vary and depend on the exact requirements of each individual, but a stairlift can be a significant financial outlay. In some situations it can work out cheaper to rent a stairlift rather than buy one. However, rental generally is only cost effective in the short term, perhaps if the user only needs help with the stairs while they recover from an operation. For people who are likely to use a stairlift for a long time, buying is probably more economical.
Some stairlift companies sell reconditioned stairlifts. These are second hand models that have been fully safety checked and come with a warranty. They cost less than brand new ones, but will be older and will have been used by someone else previously. If you’re looking at saving money by getting a second hand stairlift, buying a reconditioned one from a reputable supplier is preferable to buying from a private seller. You won’t get any guarantee from a private seller and may have an expensive repair bill if the lift breaks down.
If money is tight you may be able to get free financial aid to help with your purchase. Disabled Facilities Grants are available from local authorities. These are means-tested and your income and savings will be taken into account. If you don’t quality for this type of grant, you may be able to get help with funding from a charity.
After Sales Support
One other important thing to consider is what support you’ll get if your stairlift breaks down after you’ve bought it. Be sure to ask about this before you make your purchase. Reputable companies will offer at least a 12 month warranty on parts and labour. They should give you a phone number you can ring in the event of a fault or breakdown. This gives you the peace of mind that an engineer will come to fix your stairlift as soon as possible.
Get More Information
Getting a stairlift can improve your quality of life by helping you maintain your independence and taking the daily struggle out of using your stairs. The first step is to have your stairs assessed and get a quotation. Visit www.stairliftsreviews.co.uk if you have further questions or want to arrange a home visit.