Problems of mobility are not just confined to the elderly. Accidents or illness can strike at anytime, turning your much loved and comfortable home into an obstacle course with some parts becoming no-go areas. When stairs become a problem some find the only solution is to move to a bungalow – but there are other options.
Recently there has been a proliferation in companies offering stairlifts, which is great because it means there is more choice. But it also makes it harder to make an important decision, one that you will have to live with for some years. Here the experts at Chartwell Insurance, the disabled insurance specialist, look at the key players in the UK market and see where you can go for advice.
There are a couple of questions to think about before you get started:
- What type of staircase do you have? Is it straight, curved or does it have corners? Curved staircases tend to be the most expensive as they have to be made-to-measure.
- Will you buy outright or rent? If it is just for the short-term then rental is an attractive option.
Probably the most famous stairlift company in the UK is Stannah. A British, family-run business, Stannah has been making lifts of all types since 1867 and stairlifts from 1975. There’s a video to show how easy they are to install. But note the stairs are fairly standard.
Other big players in the UK market include Companion Stairlifts, Acorn Stairlifts and Bison . It can be confusing to choose as they all seem to offer similar products. They key is to get quotes from at least three manufacturers. There are smaller companies around, such as Norfolk Stairlifts, that are regionally based. Age UK, a known and trusted source, has a specialist stairlift section offering advice but it is allied to Handicare as a supplier.
If you are really confused, or daunted by the idea of arranging to get quotes, there are a number of companies such as Stairlift Locator, Stairlift Advisor and Which Stairlift which offer buying advice. They are not aligned to one particular company but undoubtably they will have their favourites. However, they do have expertise and experience in the market and understand the problems you might come up against.