A stairlift can help to keep your parent safe at home and make their life easier. If you and/or your parent are thinking about buying a stairlift, then you might find it helpful to consider these tips before making your purchase.
1. Repair & Maintenance
Firstly consider the repair and maintenance package which is provided – when a stairlift breaks down, timely repairs are paramount. One of our carents’ parents was stranded mid staircase when their lift broke down. You need to be sure that there will be a prompt response in the event of any malfunction.
Prices vary and are not transparent. In our experience, £1000 upwards is a helpful ballpark figure if you are buying. A key determinant of price is the length and layout of your staircase. If there is a separate landing, a corner etc this will add to the cost. Corners can be quite complicated – you might need two separate lifts (with all the challenges of moving seats) or a continuous “corner” lift.
3. Finance options instead of buying a stairlift
You don’t have to buy - some suppliers offer rental or finance packages - which might be more appropriate for short term use.
4. Reconditioned or "secondhand"
Prices also vary according to whether you buy new or if you are happy to go with a reconditioned lift.
5. Buy back offers
Ask about “buy back” offers - many suppliers will “buy back” stairlifts if they are no longer needed – you could recoup up to 50% of the initial price.
6. Favoured suppliers
The internet is awash with possible suppliers –word of mouth from neighbours or friends is valuable. Advice from neighbours can be especially useful to track down local suppliers.
7. Manufacturers and models
There is a wide range of different manufacturers and models – you might want to compare safety. colour, style, speed, comfort, etc. Brochures can be helpful for you and your parent to consider the options and decide on your preferences.
8. Take a test drive before buying a stairlift
If possible, then visit a showroom to view and test the range on display. The practicalities of sitting down and standing up are difficult to assess from a brochure. If cognition or manual dexterity are issues then take a close look at how easy the controls and seatbelts are to use.
9. Installing extra handrails
A lot of suppliers will also be able to install additional handrails etc if you need them.
10. Don't delay!
Many older parents delay installing a stairlift but almost all are delighted with the convenience and mobility they offer, often saying that they regret not going for one sooner. Some use it to help them carry things up and down the stairs.