Stairs are an architectural feature that many of us come across several times a day. If you live in a home with more than one floor, going up and down the stairs will be part of your daily routine. Out around town, you may need to use the stairs not only inside but also to access some buildings. Though we may not give much thought to how many stairs we scale a day for much of our lives, as we get older, those stairs may well start to become an issue.
Nowadays, modern technology has removed the need to use the stairs as often. Public buildings, stores and offices often have access ramps outside and moving escalators or elevators inside. And when it comes to our homes, stairlifts and homelifts are available for people with reduced mobility.
The danger of Stairs
Unfortunately, stairs can be hazardous. Think about how many times you have tripped or stumbled on the stairs. Of course, that could be down to not concentrating or taking due care on the stairs, but studies show there might be good reasons for those falls.
For example, did you know that the top and bottom steps can be slightly different sizes from the others? Or that, according to psychology, we only focus on the first and the last three steps? Sometimes even the design of the stairway may slightly sacrifice usability over being aesthetically pleasing.
What is a stairlift?
Can All Seniors Use a Stairlift?
Stairlifts are a great option for seniors who can walk on flat surfaces but find navigating stairs difficult. Anyone affected by conditions that reduce strength, balance and endurance will find a stairlift a convenient solution.
For those who use a wheelchair, however, a stairlift may not be appropriate as the user needs to be transferred into the lift at the top and bottom of the stairs. This, if not done with care, could result in injury. Instead, wheelchair users may consider getting a homelift installed. A wheelchair can be wheeled in and out of the homelift, allowing the user to safely move between floors independently.
How to choose a stairlift provider
If you decide that a stairlift is the right choice for you and your home, then you’ll find an abundance of manufacturers willing to sell and install a stairlift in your home. To make sure you choose the best manufacturer to meet your needs, you should find out about the following:
- Can the manufacturer guarantee safety, comfort and reliability?
- Do they offer warranties and certifications for their products?
- Who installs the device and do they provide after-sale servicing and maintenance?
- Are they experienced at providing these services?
Once you feel assured of a high-quality product and service, the next step is looking at the chair and lift in more detail.
Are Stairlifts Ergonomic and Comfortable to Use?
Finding a reliable provider and installation service is just the first part of getting a stairlift. Users need to think of the usability of the device as well as comfort. There are two main factors to consider. Firstly, the chair itself. Is it comfortable? Can you sit in a natural position? Are the armrests the right length and height to provide support when getting in and out of the chair?
Secondly, you’ll want to ensure that you feel confident with the controls of the stairlift. They should be intuitive and easy to operate, make you feel safe and comfortable and ensure that the stairlift runs smoothly.
As the North American population ages, and with a distinct lack of retirement and care homes, many seniors are choosing to remain in their homes and age in place. There is a growing market for lift devices which is set to increase over the coming years. Stairlifts could eventually become the next standard architectural feature in many homes, solving a logistical need and enabling more people to grow old in their own homes.