Taking the stairs at home can be exhausting, and occasionally dangerous for people with mobility issues. Many older people wish to stay in their houses, but a frustrating impediment stands in their way: stairs. As a person’s physical condition deteriorates, the barriers to independent life become more formidable.
Fortunately, options are available to assist you or a loved one’s stay at home and being independent for extended periods. Because stairs are one of the houses most dangerous and challenging sections to maneuver, a small home modification such as adding a stair lift can be a valuable addition for many people with mobility issues. These devices allow users to ride up and down a flight of stairs while seated, whether inside or outside.
Stair chairs are commonly called stair lifts. In a multi-level environment, stair lifts are a safe solution that can improve accessibility and support independence. Various brands are famous for making stair lifts, including Acorn stairlifts, Brooks stair lifts, Bruno stairlift, and Companion stair lifts. Each one of these renowned brands has its own founding story.
Acorn Stair lifts is situated in Yorkshire and has evolved to become one of the major producers of stair lifts since its founding in 1992. Brooks Stair lifts was founded in 1973 when Frederick Brooks constructed a stair lift for his wife, Grace, who could not utilize stairs due to rheumatoid arthritis. Companion Stair lifts is one of the largest stair lift suppliers in the United Kingdom. They have been manufacturing stair lifts for over 30 years and are based in Kingswinford, West Midlands, UK.
However, because purchasing a stair lift is a substantial expenditure, it’s critical to evaluate your demands and shop wisely.
What Are Stair Chairs?
A stair lift is a mechanical device that lifts people up and down the stairs, usually individuals with impairments. A rail is attached to the stair treads for adequately wide steps. The rail is attached to a chair or a lifting platform. A person sits in the chair or platform and is lifted up or down the stairs by the chair moving along the rail.
Stair lifts go by various names, including stair lifts, stair lifts, lift chair, stair gliders, and others. This chair lift is not to be confused with the skier’s chairlift. The phrase “stair climber” can apply to both stair lifts and the fitness equipment of the same name.
The Inclinator Company of America advertised and sold some of the earliest commercially made stair lifts in the United States in the 1930s. Many of the users had polio at the time. They are now commonly used by the elderly, those prone to falling, and the disabled unable to travel steps securely.
There are a few types of rails used in stair chairs. Straight stair rails are often composed of extruded aluminum or steel and come in various cross-sectional configurations. Depending on the length, these rails can weigh up to 66 lb. In most cases, metal brackets (also known as “cleats”) are used to attach them to the steps.
If a rail crosses a doorway or causes an obstacle at the bottom of the steps, a hinge can be installed so that the rail’s end can be folded back out of the way when not in use. Curved rails can be made of steel or aluminum and come in various cross-sectional shapes, depending on the designer. Individual designs vary greatly, but the most critical criterion is probably to make the curves as tiny as possible for them to wrap closely around items like newel posts.
Curved rail pieces usually are well packaged to avoid damage during transit and then unwrapped and assembled on site. In addition to the step bolts, rails for wheelchair platform stair lifts can be mounted to walls.
Types of Stair Chairs
Straight stairlift, curved stair lift, outdoor stairlift (straight or curved), standing stairlift (straight or curved), and platform lift are the most common. Each stair lift is designed to work with a specific staircase or other situations where the consumer requires a particular level of movement.
The most basic and least expensive type of stair lift is a straight stair lift. This stair lift is put on the side of a perfectly straight staircase. Straight stair lifts have many advantages and features, including the ability to be mounted on either side of a staircase, a retractable rail, a seat, and foldable footrests and armrests when not in use. In addition, straight stair lifts frequently come with a motorized swivel chair so you can be moved to the landing at the top of the stairs automatically and safely.
Because it follows the distinctive curvature of the staircase, a curved stairlift is tailored to your specific staircase. As a result, this sort of stair lift is much more expensive. However, curved stair lifts may accommodate many requirements, including multiple-story staircases, staircases with a landing in between stories, and even intricate spiral staircases. Curved stairlifts, like straight stair lifts, usually come with a folding seat, footrest, and armrests, a power swivel option, or the ability to stop immediately on a landing. Controls that are simple to use and intuitive are likewise standard.
Outdoor Stair lift
Depending on the dimensions of your outdoor staircase, an outdoor stair lift might be straight or curved. This type of stair lift is made to withstand harsh weather and temperature variations, and it’s most commonly used to get to and from a porch, deck, driveway, or attached garage or shed. Outdoor stair lifts typically come with a foldable seat, a seat belt, and a power swivel option, as well as unique outdoor features like a lock and key to keep them secure and a cover to keep them clean and protected from the elements.
Standing Stair lift
People with trouble sitting and standing due to pain or inflexibility in their lower extremities, whether due to aging, disease, or disability, might consider using a standing stair lift. This style of a stair lift may have an elevated seat, a slanted seat, or a “barstool” design that allows you to rise from a semi-seated posture more easily. In addition, some stair lifts are designed to enable you to stand up. A standing stair lift is often equipped with features such as a seat belt, straightforward controls, and the ability to park on a landing and can be customized for a straight or curved staircase.
Platform Stair lift
A platform stair lift is designed for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility equipment to help with their limited mobility, such as walkers, and can be installed on straight or curved staircases. An open or enclosed platform is available with this style of the stair lift. Open platform stair lifts have doors, sides, or guardrails, whereas enclosed platform stair lifts seem like a home elevator; yet, both varieties may transport two persons.
How to Know If You Require Stair Chairs
There are several reasons why you might need to utilize a stair chair to improve your mobility. If you live in a multi-story home and find it challenging to move around, stair lifts will help you reclaim your space. A stair lift could provide crucial reassurance if you are concerned that a trip or fall on the stairs could harm your health.
If you’re concerned about becoming a burden to your family, a stair lift could alleviate the need for them to be on call 24 hours a day. It may be time to install a stair lift if you are tired of feeling fragile and hesitant. A residential stair elevator can boost your self-esteem significantly.
In an emergency, how would you react? Stair lifts in the home are battery-operated. Like other battery backup devices in the house – such as a burglar alarm system – will continue to function regularly even if the power goes out. In addition, a chair lift installation will also significantly ease the terrible aches and pains that commonly accompany aging, especially while performing activities like climbing stairs.
You may believe that your home is insufficiently accessible for a stair lift. If the only thing stopping you is a curved staircase, rest confident that a stair lift will be available to meet your needs. In addition, users will not trip over potentially harmful objects left on the stairs by visitors after installing a home stair lift.
Buying the Best Stair Chair Lift
A stair chair lift can solve many disabled or older adults’ problems. They are not cheap, but they are affordable to most people. If you’re considering obtaining a stair lift chair for yourself or a loved one, you should extensively research the alternatives. It is time well spent conducting research. There are a few typical factors to consider when buying a stair lift chair.
First, you must ensure that the staircase where you intend to install the stair chair has suitable space for installation. Most staircases will be appropriate for stairlift installation. However, while many installation difficulties can be addressed, there are some instances where a stairlift will not function. For example, if the steps are too small for a person to sit comfortably on a lift, or if there isn’t enough space for the user to get on and off the chair leading to an impediment, a stairlift isn’t the best solution.
The Right Fit
Take out your scales and measuring tape to determine which chair best fits you. First, select a stairlift with a suitable weight capability. Next, sit in a standard dining chair to determine how much width you may require fitting perfectly on the seat, or look for one with adjustable arm width to provide the space you need. You can also assure a good fit by trying on chairs at a retailer with a showroom.
The importance of purchasing a stairlift from a reputable firm is that they provide a variety of models from leading manufacturers, allowing you to select the ideal model for your needs. Because these items are safe, dependable, and high quality, they don’t require regular repairs or maintenance. These companies frequently provide operating stairlift examples in their showrooms so you can see how they work. They may also custom design your project and install it professionally.
You should also consider the weight capability of your stairlift. If you buy a stairlift for a heavy user, you must select a device with the highest load capacity. Weight capacities typically range from 250 to 600 lbs. A stair chair lift with a low maximum weight capacity ascends too slowly and is problematic for heavier users.
New or Used Product
Before purchasing a stairlift, you must determine if you require a new or used one. An authorized dealer can custom construct a straight or curved pre-owned stairlift that can be used indoors or outdoors. Furthermore, these used models are approved and supplied after a complete inspection and stringent tests; their expert specialists will oversee the refurbishment process to ensure that the gadgets satisfy all relevant safety regulations.
The stairlift should include certain safety features to provide a comfortable and safe trip. These include a retractable seat belt, seat swivels, and locks to ensure safety on and off seating. Furthermore, an over-speed governor, obstruction sensors, and rail extension brackets to prevent intrusion at the top landing, an anti-slip footrest, an emergency stop button, footrest safety switches, and continuous charge battery operation.
Common Misconceptions About Stair Lifts
People have several misconceptions about stair lifts, their cost, size, and operation. Some of these difficulties, usually incorrect notions, have been explained here, providing new and present consumers with a more profound knowledge of these misconceptions.
Stair Lift Cost
It is typical to believe that stairlifts are expensive. Therefore, stairlift prices must have risen yearly, especially in today’s economic context, right? All you have to do is look at your gas bills to see this. Surprisingly, stairlift expenses were higher 5–10 years ago than now, in contrast to your fuel bill.
Expensive to Operate
Many people believe that stairlifts are expensive, which is untrue thanks to advances in power-saving technology. Stairlifts have gone a long way and are now given the same, if not higher, prestige as other household appliances. Generally, a stair lift travels up and down the staircase almost 14 times a day. As a result, some consider a stairlift one of the cheapest equipment to run in the ordinary home.
Stair Lift Size
Most individuals believe that their staircase is not wide for a stairlift to travel up, down, or around bends. Contrary to popular belief, the width of the stairs is not the most significant consideration. The most important consideration is the overall measurement measured when sitting on the stairlift seat from the user’s spine to their knees or toes.
Walls Not Strong
A widespread myth is that stair lifts are permanently attached to the wall. Stairlifts are usually always connected to the treads of the staircase. The support feet that hold the rail/s along which the stairlift moves are attached to specific treads of the stairs. The stairlift and the user’s weight are supported along the entire length of the stairs.
Useless During Power-cuts
Many years ago, most manufacturers produced stair lifts that were only powered by mains AC electricity. When there was a power outage or the power was turned off, they immediately stopped working. Things have changed dramatically since then. Now, the mains AC electricity is only required to trickle charge rechargeable batteries that are often buried within the stairlift carriage. So if the mains AC power goes out today, your stairlift will still run safely using power from the rechargeable battery.
Stair Lifts for Narrow Stairs
Surprisingly, many countries have no minimum width for household staircases under general building standards. So, unless your home was built with disabled access in mind, there’s no assurance your staircase will be broad enough for a stair lift. As a rule of thumb, a straight staircase should be at least 29 inches wide.
Since stairlift manufacturers became aware of the issue, they have devised inventive designs. Folding parts and compact designs maximize space and efficiency. In addition, if you can sit on a higher seat, sitting somewhat on edge, your knees will not protrude as much, allowing the stair lift to cross narrow stair cases. This is an excellent solution for narrow stairs.
Following is the best stair chair you should buy if you are looking for one for yourself or your loved ones.
Patient Lift Stair Slide Board Transfer Emergency Evacuation Chair Wheelchair Belt Safety Full Body Medical Lifting Sling Sliding Transferring Disc Use for Seniors, Handicap (Blue – 4 Handles)
The Patient Lift Stair Slide Board Transfer Emergency Evacuation Chair is excellent for shifting from one bed to another, assisting the disabled in going upstairs or downstairs and in, helping patients get into or out of cars, and so on.
The Patient Lift Stair Slide Board Transfer Emergency Evacuation Chair is sturdy polyester fabric. The reinforced stitching at the four handles helps distribute the patient’s weight evenly for easier placement and transfer safety. The lightweight transfer belt can sustain weights of up to 220 pounds. Furthermore, the different fixed bands tighten around the waist and thighs to keep the patient safe. The robust transport board belt is primarily developed for Healthcare Bed Transferring, Medical Transport, Daily Living, and Home Care Mobility. In addition, it is perfect for Wheelchair Users, Seniors, Bariatric Patients, and Disabled People.
Maintaining mobility and the ability to live in the comfort of your own home is an essential priority as you age. Stair lifts allow you to navigate several floors of your home safely. You can work with a stair lift business to select a stair lift that meets your needs, whether your staircase is straight or custom-made.
Purchasing a stair lift can be intimidating and thrilling, as numerous alternatives exist. If you are still unsure about stair chairs, you can schedule a consultation with any reputable company to find the best stair chairs you should buy.