I am finding it difficult getting up my stairs but I don’t want to move, are there any options?
When you want to stay where you are living and get upstairs safely there are a few options:
It’s best to get an assessment from an Occupational Therapist as they can advise on how to remain independent with this and what equipment will be suitable. If you wish to practice your stair mobility and look at how walking aids may help then contact a physiotherapist. Sometimes advice and training in how to use a stick or crutch properly on the stairs can really help.
The easiest option is an extra handrail on the other side of the stairs and perhaps also a grab rail.
This is sometimes sufficient to keep a person safe and independent for longer.
Newel rails are designed to turn through 90 degrees around the newel post (the thick upright post of the banister on staircase landings).
They provide a continuous grip as the user reaches the bottom or top of the stairs and turns the corner.
They are available in a choice of colour and range of sizes and for left or right turning.
If it has become too much of a struggle and perhaps due to eyesight, balance or muscle strength you are unable to get up or down the stairs safely yourself then a stairlift can be a good option.
There are different types depending on the type of staircase you have. Stairs with bends are more expensive to fit to than straight stairs.
You will need a solid wall not stud walls to install one.
Check the narrowness of the staircase as to whether the user will fit when seated – need room for the knees!
Purchase or hire: This can be a good option but always check the installation, repair and removal costs are fair as well as the hire price as this can add up.
If the external wall is not solid brick or if there are windows, ledges or other obstacles there are types which can hug the internal wall.
If sitting down is a problem there are types for standing up.
Check that the user can reach the paddle control in order to be able to swivel at the top of the stairs to get off safely, if not then look at automatic swivel styles.
Be sure to have a call button installed at the top and bottom of the stairs as well as the remote control and control buttons on the seat -especially if there are tow people in the house that will use it.
Check that the battery will only operate if there is enough charge to complete the journey. It should be able to tip up easily out of the way for other stair users when not in use.
It is important that the user is safe to manoeuvre onto the chair at the top carefully – taking into account any gap next to the chair. It may be that you also need a drop down transfer platform to plug the gap or if there is an extra step up to the landing.
If the stairs is wide enough it is possible to fit a wheelchair lift.
A through-floor lift can accommodate a wheelchair and can fit in surprisingly small spaces.
It has the advantage of being able to bring things upstairs easily with you such as using a trolley.
It is best to get a size that could accommodate a wheelchair or walking aid.
A relatively new idea which is portable and therefore could be brought out and about to use on many but not all types of staircases depending on the depth of the steps and type of any bend.
A carer who has been trained to use one can operate it and they can have seats or bring a wheelchair up the stairs using a caterpillar track or wheel cluster type idea.
These will possibly become more popular once they are seen being used more often and the reputation for being safe and useful grows.
Funding can be available through the local social services department and for alterations required a disabled facilities grant. These are means tested but the initial assessment by an OT is free.
It would allow more places to be accessible where there isn’t a lift.
If the waiting list for an OT assessment is very long then a private OT may be able to help – contact via the Royal College of Occupational Therapists for a list of Independent OT’s or search for a HCPC registered reputable therapist.
If you have worked in the armed forces, hospitality or other industries you could research whether there is a benevolent fund or charity who can assist with funding.
There are reputable stair solution companies who will offer no pressure to buy assessment visits but it is a good idea to have a friend, family member, trusted neighbour or advocate with you as there can be a lot of information to take in in order to decide what to do.
Any information of a medical nature on this website is given to provide a general understanding of a medical condition or conditions.
No patient/doctor relationship is to be inferred and you should seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.
Nothing on this site should be used as a substitute for competent advice from a qualified medical practitioner.