Straight Stairlift Guide
May 18th, 2010
Straight Stairlift Guide
If it becomes difficult for someone to get up and down stairs, they have limited options to chose from to overcome the problem: living downstairs, moving to a bungalow or ground floor flat or installing a domestic lift such as a stairlift or through floor lift. The first option may not be practical as issues such as providing downstairs bathroom facilities can prove difficult and costly to overcome. The second option is not only costly but may result in the loss social support. Installing a domestic lift is often the most practical and economical option.
A straight stairlift tends to be a very common solution to use in a domestic setting. The majority of users are able to walk, but find it difficult to negotiate the stairs. The person must be able to sit safely during transit and transfer independently, or with minimal assistance, on and off at the top and bottom of the stairs. A swivel seat, which can be operated both manually or automatically, and lift-up armrests should make transfers on and off the seat easier. Check that you are able to manipulate the controls for both the footrest and the swivel seat as various types of controls and switches are also available.
Walking sticks may be carried on the stairlift but, if the person uses a larger walking aid such as a walking frame then one will be required at the bottom and one at the top of the stairs as they should not be carried on the lift. If someone requires a wheelchair to assist with mobilising indoors then a stairlift would probably not be the ideal solution and an option such as a through floor lift may be more appropriate.
Before deciding on the most suitable form of lift consider the following:
- someone with a disability who has a condition that could deteriorate should consider what the best long term solution will be. Although he/she may be able to use a seated stairlift now, it may be wise to consider installing a through-floor lift so that in future the option to travel in a wheelchair is available;
- is the user able to bend his/her knees sufficiently to travel in a seated position?
- does the lift need to be operated by the user, his carer or both? Controls are available to allow users and carers to operate the lift but it will be easier to have these fitted during the initial installation;
- the environment (e.g. doors or thresholds near the staircase, bulkheads or banister rails, radiators near the staircase);
- other users of the stairs, e.g. children, pets, elderly visitors;
- it is advisable that the stairlift covers the whole staircase (e.g. curved stairlift or straight lift with platform).
Some people will attempt to save costs by installing a straight stairlift on a curved staircase and attempt to manage the first or last few steps. However, if their condition deteriorates, they will no longer be able to manage this.
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