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Are Stairlifts the Best Option for the Elderly?

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

It’s no surprise that the vast majority of seniors would rather stay in their own homes as they age. It’s natural to want to be in a familiar space full of good memories, in your own neighbourhood near to your friends.

However, physical difficulties relating to ageing can make it difficult for older people to stay safe while continuing to live in their own homes. Often, the greatest of these difficulties is the threat of falls.

Therefore, reducing the risk of falls is crucial. One hotspot for falls is the bathroom – adaptations like grab bars can reduce the risk here. And another trouble spot is the stairs. Each year, nearly 300,000 people in the UK are injured in connection with falls on stairs or steps. To reduce this risk, older people often turn to a stairlift.

But stairlifts can be quite costly. How does their pricing work, and are they a good option when an older person can no longer go up and down stairs on their own?

Read on to learn all the details.

Benefits and drawbacks of a stairlift

Put simply, a stairlift allows an older person to go up and down stairs in a seated position. That addresses the risk of an elderly person falling while walking up or down the stairs.

The major downside is, of course, the price – a stairlift is a considerable piece of equipment and is often somewhat costly. Another drawback is simply that the stairlift takes up space on the stairs and may be considered unsightly.

How does stairlift pricing work?

Stairlift prices are usually given by quote, since every set of stairs and stairlift user are different. However, they are often somewhere in the area of £3,000 to £6,000.

It’s also worth remembering that when you buy a stairlift, you’ll also need to purchase a service contract or package so that you can have the stairlift regularly serviced as needed. You might also want a warranty in case of breakages.

How much might a maintenance package cost you? Perhaps around £25 to £50 per month. However, in some cases maintenance and warranty, at least for a few years, is already included. In other words, make sure you know what comes with the stairlift you’re purchasing so that you don’t end up paying for a maintenance package twice!

Additionally, factors that can affect the cost of your stairlift include …

Straight vs curved stairs

The biggest variable that affects the cost of a stairlift is the stairwell where it should be installed. A straight stairwell means the stairlift can work more simply, so it’s cheaper. In contrast, curved stairs can be trickier – and the more curves present, the more your stairlift could cost.

Length of stairs

The length of your stairs also matters! If you have a mini staircase of five steps, that will likely cost less than a full staircase in a building with high ceilings.

New or refurbished

Did you know that you can purchase refurbished stairlifts that were used by previous owners? Well, you can – and this is an option that could certainly save you money.

Indoor or outdoor

When you think of a stairlift, you might picture one inside the home. However, it’s also very possible to install a stairlift on an outdoor staircase. That said, an outdoor stairlift is slightly different, as it needs to be rainproof in a way that other stairlifts don’t.

Standing stairlifts

For seniors who really struggle to sit down and get up, an ordinary stairlift might still feel quite difficult to manage. That’s not the case with a standing stairlift, which is exactly what it sounds like – it allows the user to remain standing while they glide up the stairs!

Special features

There are lots of other bells and whistles that you can consider adding to your stairlift. For example, a swivel seat makes it a bit easier for the rider to get in and out of the chairlift seat.

You can also simply order a more deluxe version of the stairlift that is designed to be more visually appealing.

Weighing the alternatives

Installing a stairlift is a big decision. If you’re not sure whether it’s right for you, you might ponder whether you should try an alternative option. So, what are the other options open to seniors who can’t manage stairs safely?

Moving bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs

Older people who struggle with going upstairs to bed might consider changing a ground floor room into a bedroom. That can be a simple way to remove the issue.

If the main bathroom is upstairs, you might also want to call in the builder or plumber to give you a full bathroom downstairs.

While these changes do, in a way, solve the problem of stairs, they’re not really the ideal options. Obviously, remodelling a bathroom costs money. But overall, the main issue here is that it’s not good for a person to be unable to get to half their house. Even if an older person has a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor, they should really be checking their upstairs rooms, ventilating when needed, watching out for problems like mould or frozen pipes, and so on.

Moving house

The most dramatic option here is simply moving house to a bungalow. But this could take a senior away from a beloved home they’ve owned for decades. Plus, moving house and selling a house is by no means an easy feat. A house move could end up being surprisingly expensive.

Getting funding for a stairlift

If the price of a stairlift seems a bit overwhelming, you can always consider applying for a disabled facilities grant. You can apply for up to £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales or £25,000 in Northern Ireland.

Make sure you also get a VAT exemption if you’re eligible.

Are stairlifts the best option?

So, is getting a stairlift a smart move?

Well, there is no denying that it can be a bit expensive. However, the price of a stairlift might well end up being less than the cost of moving house or of installing a new full bathroom downstairs.

How SureSafe also works to let older people remain in their own homes

Getting a stairlift is one important step you can take to help avoid falls in the home. There are lots of other things you can do as well, like improving lighting, removing loose rugs or talking to your doctor about a falls risk assessment.

But unfortunately, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of falling. That’s where SureSafe comes in.

Our elderly personal alarms are the backup plan that keeps an older person safe even after a fall happens. One-touch functionality on a wrist alarm or pendant alarm allows an elderly person to call for help with just the touch of a single button. Automatic fall detection adds another layer of protection – the alarm senses that its wearer has fallen and calls for help all on its own.

Need more advice about what type of alarm could be right for you or your elderly loved one? We’re here to help! Just give us a call on 0808 189 1671, use our live chat or request a call back.

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