When you find your mobility reduced, how do you reconcile inability to deal with stairs, how to still enjoy living at home, and now, getting out and about?

Peter Wingrave, Director @ AAT the stairclimber people, offers some advice

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People are by nature creatures of habit. Therefore, if you have a healthcare professional helping assess the suitability of your home for your deterioration on health and mobility, often the suggested solution will be a stairlift or through-floor lift.

What many of us don’t realise, largely because it has not previously been on our horizon, is that we have the RIGHT of choice in any recommended equipment. Occupational Therapists do fully appreciate that, and indeed their research shows that a piece of equipment or adaptation that is not accepted/ chosen by the client can be a waste of money and effort: it won’t be used.

Another legal consideration is compliance with the Care Act 2014. Section 1 of the Act states there is a duty to promote the wellbeing of the individual, including personal dignity and domestic/ family relationships. Section 2 places a general duty to provide/ arrange resources to prevent, delay or reduce the need for care and support. Indeed, RCOT’s own guidance states “such prevention, delay or reduction in need is not only good for people – but hopefully can also save the local authority money. Spend a pound on prevention and save ten on what would otherwise have been eligible, greater needs.”

The impact of change

Inevitably, provision of a stairlift or through-floor lift takes time. There is, more often than not, the lengthy process of funding to go through. It is also a disruptive process: structural building work to install a through-floor lift, the impingement on stair access of a stairlift on other members of the household.

That is, of course, assuming the design and configuration of the home allows either piece of equipment. Many UK homes have narrow staircases, staircases with half-landings, staircases that turn.

As a nation, the UK has the smallest footprint/ square metreage in our homes than anywhere else in Europe, so is there the space- on both storeys- to fit in a through-floor lift?

Provision of such equipment is also dependant on the length of need. If it’s only short-term the default solution is to move a bed downstairs.

That impacts on the whole household’s ability to use the home, your dignity and privacy, and may even necessitate the indignity of using a commode.

Without wishing to trivialise the situation, a stairclimber ticks many of the boxes, not just for the user, but the Occupational Therapist, care givers and other household/family members- areas that are often not even thought about!

A stairclimber requires no physical adjustment to the house. It does not require (although it can be provided via) Disabled Facilities Grant funding, so can be supplied time-efficiently. Often it can be provided from equipment stores, requiring no purchase procedure, thus giving the Local Authority best value via re-issue and preventing the need for – and cost of- even a short-term admission to a care or nursing home.

AAT fully services each unit before re-issue, assesses each user and trains each care giver as part of the offering.

When the reduced mobility is perceived to be short-term, stairclimbers can be easily provided via the local authority from its equipment stored, or privately hired for a few weeks or months, then returned when no longer required without any need to “make good” to the home’s structural fabric.

Discretion and dignity

There is no hiding from reduced mobility with a stairlift or through-floor lift: as pieces of equipment, they are ever present and visible. A stairclimber folds compactly away when not in use, optimising available living space for all members of the household to still live life.

It is not a constant reminder that you, or your loved one, needs support and help.

With the diversity of options available, and range of accessories, a version that fits you or your loved on, on all levels, can be prescribed, specified and supplied.

You can’t put a stairlift in the car boot!

A stairclimber goes beyond a flight of stairs. It can just as easily accommodate a couple of steps, in and out of the home or other building. Thus it opens the doors to the ability to participate in the wider community. It means the family as a whole can still use all rooms within the home without limitation.

It means the family as a whole can go out for a meal, a day trip, a holiday without worrying about level access/ accessibility.

Thus it opens access to places one previously may not have even thought about going, because of the physical barriers of steps and stairs.

Find out more about the range of stairclimbers available, hire options and our free, no obligation assessments, by visiting: