What are the alternatives to stairlifts?

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Alternatives to StairliftsMost people know what a stairlift is and know that it is an ideal solution for people who are elderly or disabled.  It can allow them to stay in their own home and to continue to get up and down stairs. Many people do not, however, know of the alternatives to stairlifts. The StairSteady can help if you have some difficulty with your stairs but do not require a stairlift.

But what if you find that you cannot have a stairlift installed and need more help than a StairSteady? It may be that your stairs are two narrow or that it cannot fit because of the angle of the turns or because something is in the way. Alternatively, your home and staircase may be able to accommodate a stairlift, but it may be that you – the user – are unable to use it. It might not be possible for you to get on to a stairlift, perhaps because of your size or the nature of your injuries or disabilities. What other options are available to you?

The first option is to install a through floor lift. If you want to stay in your own home but find that a stairlift won’t fit or that you are unable to use one then a through floor lift may be a more practical option. Rather than going up and down your staircase, a through floor lift is like a one person version of the elevators that you find in shops and public buildings. As long as you have enough room in your home to accommodate one, it can be installed in the corner of one of your downstairs rooms, usually the lounge, and goes right up against the wall. A through floor lift allows the user to get up to the room above and is big enough to accommodate a wheelchair, so you can wheel yourself or be wheeled into it and don’t have to worry about getting out of your chair to use it, unlike with a stairlift. Alternatively you can walk into it using your stick or your frame if preferred and can simply stand whilst it takes you from one floor to another.

Although you might think that this is a dramatic change to your home, it is relatively minor compared to the alternatives, for if you want to stay in your home and still get upstairs then a through floor lift is the only real alternative to a stairlift. If you want to stay in your home but are not so worried about getting upstairs then an alternative solution might be to move everything that you need from upstairs to downstairs, but this is probably a bigger change than installing a through floor lift. This would involve installing a downstairs bathroom if you don’t already have one (not an issue though if you do), and converting one of the downstairs rooms (maybe a dining room, study or office if you have one) into a bedroom.

These are your key choices if you want to stay in your own home. If you don’t want to stay in your own home, then an alternative would be to move into a bungalow, perhaps near to your current home or near to friends or relatives. Many people don’t want to pursue this option unless they have to, especially if they have lived in their current home for many years, perhaps having lived with their partner or spouse and raised their children there. But by being near to your current home and therefore the local amenities that you are used to, or being near to people you know it means that the move hopefully shouldn’t be as hard and you shouldn’t feel like you’re in such a strange environment. Adaptations such as modular access ramps can still be easily added to your new home, as even without stairs you still might need some help getting around, particular up steps and over door thresholds. This of course is far more upheaval than either installing a through floor lift or moving your home around so that everything you need is downstairs, but there are occasions where there just is no other option.

Obam know that most people do not want to leave their own home if they can help it, and in particular don’t want to end up away from their family and having to move into residential care. That is why we offer a whole range of adaptations for your home, not just stairlifts, to try to find as many solutions as possible to help people stay in their own homes for as long as they can. If you are having difficulty getting upstairs and are worried about having to move out, or know someone who is, then give us a call on 01427 787532 or email info@obam.co.uk to see if we can find a solution to your problem.