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A Guide To The Different
Types Of Stair Lifts

by Simon Phillips

Stair lifts are designed to make life easier, and come with a choice of features depending on your particular needs.  If you or a loved one struggle with your stairs, installing a stair lift can give you increased mobility and independence.  A representative from the stair lift supplier will need to visit your home to take measurements of your staircase and carry out an assessment of both your current situation and long term needs. 

Straight and curved stair lifts are the two main types, and as their names suggest a straight stair lift moves in a straight direction, whereas a curved one will be adapted to deal with any bends in your stairs.  Each type of stair lift can be customized to meet your individual requirements.

As it is safer to be transported up and down stairs in a seated position, most stair lifts have some kind of chair to sit in.  Swivel seats make it easier to get on and off the stair lift. 

Perching stair lifts are available for people who are unable to bend their knees and can’t straighten their legs fully.  For people who have difficulty bending their legs or sitting, stand-on stair lifts are available, but because of safety issues they can generally only be installed on straight stairs and are likely to have a weight limit.

Wheelchair stair lifts can be found in many public buildings, but most homes don’t have staircases wide enough for a wheelchair platform to be fitted. 

Outdoor stair lifts can be installed if necessary, and can help people reach their front door or give them access to their garden. 

If your stairs have a single turn, an alternative to installing a curved stair lift is to fit a wooden bridging platform to enable the stair lift to negotiate the bend.  Your stair lift provider can advise on the most suitable option for your home.

Comfort and ease of use are crucial when using a stair lift.  There are a number of options available, depending on your needs.  For instance, if you have arthritis and find it painful to operate button controls, you might consider have a joystick fitted instead.  Adjustable armrests are also useful to have, which help you feel secure when moving up or down the stairs and can be folded out of the way to improve accessibility.

elderly lady with walking frame

Whatever your mobility needs, buying a stair lift is a major investment.  You should use a reputable company, make sure you get a written quotation and are clear about the terms and conditions. 





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