Do you need to go up and downstairs?
You could reduce the number of times you use the stairs by using a urinal or commode and/or bringing your bed downstairs
Can you get on and off a stair lift safely both at the bottom and the top of the stairs?
If you have poor balance, fall frequently, have frequent dizzy spells, have epilepsy or are wheelchair dependent for example, you may wish to consider alternatives
Can you bend your knees well?
Remember it is safer to travel up/downstairs seated.
If you have stiff or fixed joints it is likely you will need a wide stairway to accommodate you on a stair lift. Perch on stair lifts for people whose legs don’t bend easily are an alternative that can be fitted but only to straight stairs.
Can the seat height of your stair lift be set to allow you to travel comfortably up and down the stairs with your feet supported on the footplate?
You should not have to sit with your feet unsupported
Will your stairs accommodate a stair lift?
You should not have to sit sideways on the seat in order to travel up and down your stairs and check there is sufficient headroom.
Will a stair lift meet your future needs?
Remember to use a stair lift you need to be able to get on and off safely – is you mobility likely to degenerate quickly.
Have you used, seen and tried a stair lift?
It should have been a comfortable experience and you must want to use it again
Did you manage easily? Were the controls right for you?
You may require a different joystick or buttons to make using the stair lift easier.
Can you fold up the stair lift – What about the foot rest?
Access to the stairs may still be essential for others in your house
Straight or curved?
A straight stair lift only travels in a straight line and will not turn corners on your stairs. Perhaps you can manage a step or two at the bottom or top of your stairs. A curved stair lift will turn the corners of your stairs but it is likely to cost more than double the price of a straight stair lift.
It is not advisable to fit two stair lifts to the same ½ landing
Obtaining Your Stair lift
1. Private purchase
You should expect to pay from about £1200 for a new straight stair lift or £3,000 for a curved stair lift. This will not include additions like hinged rails, platforms or powered seats and expect to pay extra for removing a hand rail, window sill or repositioning a radiator should this be necessary
Second hand/reconditioned stair lifts are also available. Reconditioned units are usually only available for straight stairs and prices will vary so shop around.
If you are buying second hand – has the lift been reconditioned?
Are spare parts readily available? – Check with the manufacturer
Is a warranty available and how long is the service/maintenance contract available for? What is the guarantee ?
Is the rail new or has it been constructed from other rails welded together? – This may be an issue particularly with curved stair lifts
Be sure you have what you want before you sign any agreement to buy. Remember if you sign an agreement with a sales representative you have invited to your house in law you do not get a cooling off period to change your mind.
Sometimes available and may be worth considering when the expected use of a stair lift is likely to be short term or where you need to consider paying on a fixed budget basis. Most rental companies charge an initial setup/removal fee then a monthly amount to cover 24/7 maintenance and replacement of unit when it is no longer serviceable. Check what is being offered and shop around as initial cost varies from about £249 – £450
3. Charitable Funding
Financial help may be available from a charity – police, fire service, nursing, civil service, local government and charities like SSAFA, or the Royal British Legion all have a benevolent funds for ex-employees or ex-services and their families.
4. Local Authority
Available only if the Authority agree it is “appropriate and necessary” in meeting your assessed needs because of your disability. If it is agreed through assessment process then it could be funded through a Disabled Facilities Grant.
Contact your local social services in the first instance but you should be aware this grant is means tested and the grant process is slow, it could be year(s) rather than months between your initial approach to the Local Authority and installation
Stair lift Manufacturers – Members of the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA)
Lift Able Ltd
Stannah Stair lifts
Acorn – who also manufacture Bison Bede and Brooks Stair lifts