Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Stair Lifts - A Guide To Choosing A Stair Lift

Stair lifts make life easier for many people who find it a struggle to use the stairs in their home. If you or a loved one has limited mobility, your staircase needn't be daunting. By installing a home stair lift, you can remain independent in your own home and get rid of the daily problems that the stairs present. If you're considering purchasing a stair lift, here are some things to take into account and help make your decision clearer.

When buying a new stair lift, a representative from the supplier will need to visit your home to take measurements of your staircase and assess your needs. It can be helpful to have a friend or relative with you to ask questions and make notes. Ask for a written quotation and take time to think about any offer before making your decision. Stair lifts can be costly, so it is worth shopping around and getting quotes from a few different companies to compare their prices, terms and conditions and level of warranty. Used stair lifts are generally cheaper, but be wary of buying secondhand from a private sale as there is unlikely to be any warranty. Reconditioned stair lifts from a reputable supplier can be good value, but check the extent of the guarantee before you buy.

Stair lifts can be fitted to any staircase. Straight stair lifts are for simple straight staircases, whereas curved stair lifts can be adapted to negotiate stairs that turn or bend. Outdoor stair lifts are also available, and can be fitted to outside steps if required, to provide access to an entrance door or to a garden for example. There are various optional features that can be included depending on your needs. For instance, if you have arthritis, you may find it painful to press the control buttons, in which case you could opt to have a joystick fitted instead. A swivel seat is another useful feature, making it easier to get on and off your stair chair.

Moving up or down the stairs is safer and more comfortable in a sitting position, so the majority of stairlifts have a chair to sit in. However, variations are available for people who find it difficult to sit. Stand-on stair lifts can be fitted to straight staircases, for people who can't easily bend their legs, although for safety reasons these do tend to have a weight limit. Perching stair lifts are another type, suitable for people who find it hard to bend their knees or straighten their legs fully.

Whatever your particular needs, a representative from a stair lift manufacturer should be able to advise you on the most suitable model for you and will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Having a stair lift installed can transform your life and give you the peace of mind of knowing that your stairs are no longer an obstacle.

Caroline Smith is a contributor to 1-Stair-Lift.com, which offers impartial advice on new and used stair lifts, including straight stair lifts and curved stair lifts.

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