Stairlift experiences

ericonabike Posts: 334 Forumite
First Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 21 May 2013 at 10:47AM in Over 50s MoneySaving
My mother-in-law is 84 and living alone in her own home. She is reasonably spry and mobile, but the stairs are gradually becoming more and more of a challenge. And so we are starting to think about stairlifts - a subject of which I know nothing, save for the name Stannah!

Sshe lives in an end terrace house, with a dog leg staircase starting from the hall. right next to the front door.

I'd appreciate any experiences or advice that forumites may have, on the likely cost, feasibility and useability of these devices. She was in hospital recently to have a pacemaker fitted and they gave us a list of local suppliers, but I'd prefer to have at least some background knowledge before asking anyone to quote.



  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
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    You could get in touch with the local Occupational Therapy dept and see if they will come out and assess your MIL's needs. It may be possible to get a stair lift that way: you will also avoid high pressured sales tactics.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Thanks for that Sue - she was assessed by the OH people whilst in hospital, and they gave her a list of local chair lift suppliers. Suspect that's about the extent of their involvement!
  • wallbash
    wallbash Posts: 17,775 Forumite
    If you are thinking about it , and you can afford it , do it . I left it to late for my late father . His pride was the problem , then when he did need it , only got a very little use.

    Wish I had just done it much earlier.
  • As many stairlifts are little used it might be worth looking for companies which recondition used stairlifts. Whatever model you consider it would be worth looking at what useable width left on the stairs for able bodied visitors. My MIL had a stairlift installed and it left little room for walking on the stairs. I always felt this presented safety issues. Also if your MIL has any problems with mobility or strength in her hands make sure the controls will be easy for her to use.
  • My daughter works for a stair lift company. She would say pester the OH people some more - they might weaken.
    If you have to buy, be very wary of those that advertise nationally, they all overcharge hugely.
    Your OH people might tell you who they use.
    My daughter's company will supply any make, including Stannah (at a price !). The most common ones are from a firm in Birmingham and from another firm in Holland - neither of which sell direct to the public.
    These two makes last well, are reliable and reasonably priced - it is what they supply for all their OH work.
  • If it is a simple straight staircase, see if it is possible to get a second hand one from an executor.
    There must be thousands of little used stair lifts out there, being sold for peanuts.
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,557 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    She lives in an end terrace house, with a dog leg staircase starting from the hall. right next to the front door.

    This sounds as if it will be very expensive - curves increase the cost a lot and make it almost impossible to buy second-hand. Will the front door still open properly if the stair lift is at the bottom of the stairs?

    I think you'll need to get a couple of quotes and also ask the OTs to come and do an assessment at home. Our OTs gave me a list of things that Mum needed from a stairlift - paddle controls, swivel seat, and so on. If your MIL's house isn't suitable for a stairlift, she might have to start looking at moving.

    My parents had a Minivator stairlift, installed by a local company.

    I was shocked by the sales techniques of some of the salesmen who came to do quotes - it was just like the bad old days of double-glazing selling - very high quotes, if I phone the manager we might be able to reduce the price but only if you sign today, lies about other companies, etc.
  • How "dog's leg" is it ?
    At one extreme it could have a bend at top and bottom at the other it might be possible to have a single step up onto a platform from which a straight track runs up to a landing,
    The problem is that the salesman will want to sell something that a handyman can plug into a convenient socket.
    [The same thing applies to a gizmo called a "Bath Knight" that reels-in a length of cloth to lift a bather out of the bathwater.]
    Once it becomes a requirement to get a carpenter and an electrician on site, costs rise significantly, before even considering the need to make a special curved track.
  • I spoke to one of the local companies recommended by the hospital - after describing the layout of the stairs and house, she gave me a quote of around £3000 for a reconditioned unit. Quite impressed by their low-key approach - certainly not the double-glazing method! She could afford this, and so we'll watch and wait for a while, to see how she recuperates from her hospitalisation. If she returns to her previous form, then I think she'd be better off using the stairs while she can, but if not then we'll think again. Thanks all for your input on this - most helpful.
  • Buzby
    Buzby Posts: 8,275 Forumite
    I bought one for my Mum, it cost all of £350 and was an excellent buy. It appeared on eBay and the caveat was that I had to remove it from a house in Newport (300 miles away). This was achieved with basic tools and it gave excellent service.

    There appears to be a belief that fitting a stairlift is the exclusive domain of specialist companies - yet if you can lay laminate flooring or are moderately hand with tools, you can save a fortune.
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