Straight up the Stairs

None of us are getting any younger (with the exception, perhaps, of Benjamin Button) so there will come a time when the activities we take for granted right now become an uphill struggle, literally. As we get older, our movements can restrict the places we can go, even in our own homes. However, you don’t have to be elderly to have mobility problems. As the stairs gradually become a challenge, for many, that challenge can easily be insurmountable. There is equipment available to aid your movements. One of the most common, and most helpful, is the stairlift; also known as a chair-lift or stair glider.

 

You might think stairlifts are a new invention, but evidence exists of a device going back to the 16th century. Whilst obviously not powered (other than by the poor servants), King Henry VIII’s palace in Whitehall had a mechanism fitted to lift the 30-stone king up the stairs when he was injured whilst jousting. The modern style of stairlift is credited to a Pennsylvanian investor named Mr. Crispen who, in the 1920s, invented the ‘Inclin-ator’ to help his friend up the stairs. Fast-forward to today and the modern stairlift has come of age.

 

For someone with limited mobility even around their own home, a straight stairlift can be an incredibly liberating experience. It will make your home almost instantly more accessible, giving you the freedom to move up and downstairs quickly and easily removing the risk of falling. You might think that a ‘straight stairlift’ is an elevator, but no. A straight stairlift is like any other powered-chair lift, but can only move in a straight line, i.e. it can’t go round corners or curves.  Straight stairlifts run along a straight rail, secured to your existing staircase, and are easier to install and generally cheaper than other types.

 

If you are considering buying a straight stairlift to help you move around your home, there can be a bewildering amount of choice, from a multitude of companies, offering any number of options. So which one is right for you? Keep reading, there may be an option here that you haven’t yet considered.

 

The first, and possibly only, option you may consider would be buying the lift outright. Buying it offers you, the customer, the ability to choose exactly the make and model that you want. This gives you a greater choice of models, options and features. Depending on your circumstances, it can also be the most cost effective option. If you think it’s going to be a long-term solution, then the price will become more realistic as time goes on. Providing you include for maintenance and repairs in your budget, it can be a great investment. Whilst there certainly obvious benefits of buying new, it isn’t the only option available to you.

 

If buying your stairlift isn’t a viable option, then they are also available to rent. Renting a stairlift could be a much more financially beneficial. Unlike buying the device outright, renting won’t require an large, initial financial outlay as you can pay for your stairlift on a weekly, or monthly, basis; although there may be a small installation charge. Like any mechanical device, a stairlift will require maintaining on a regular basis. Renting a stairlift will generally remove that worry as it should be included in the rental price. The other benefit with renting is that, generally, there isn’t a fixed-term or contract period. This allows you to rent the stairlift for a period of time that is as long, or as short, as you need. Ideal if your movement restriction is likely to be short-term or you have limited funds.

 

The other alternative to buying a new stairlift could get you a great device, whilst saving you a lot of money. Instead of buying a fresh-out-of-the-box stairlift, you could consider buying one that has been professionally refurbished. It is often thought that buying a refurbished lift from a reputable manufacturer is preferable to buying a new one from an inferior company; but there are pros and cons. Buying a refurbished device could save you up to 35%, compared to the same brand new stairlift, so there is an obvious cost saving. It is important to ensure that the one you’re buying has been professionally refurbished, rather than just being second-hand (if not more). A refurbished model should have had any worn parts replaced or repaired, with new rollers and cabling fitted, especially the trailing one. This will give you more piece of mind knowing you’ve bought a quality product.

 

The fact is that only you will know how your own unique set of circumstances will dictate which system will work out best for you. Being armed with this information will hopefully help you make the right decision when it’s time to choose. Whichever way you go, make sure it’s up and do so safely with a system that’s right for you.

(c) JG Publications

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