The benefits of a stairlift are obvious. Extended freedom of movement, independence and the ability to stay in your own home rather than have to move into sheltered or residential care, are all powerful factors in their appeal.
But cost is an undoubted downside. Stairlifts are not cheap, leaving many families caring for a loved one with dementia with the nagging question of whether it's really worth the cost....
This is something I know about from personal experience. When my Dad first raised the idea of a stairlift, I was sceptical. Although he relied on a walking stick to get about, he was more than capable of managing the stairs independently and I was worried that by the time he really needed the stairlift, he would be ready to move into other accommodation anyway. My concern was that the cost simply be wouldn't be worth it.
9 years on and I'm happy to admit my concerns were unfounded. Now living with dementia, and facing ever increasing mobility problems, the stairlift has, quite simply, allowed him to achieve his biggest wish...to stay put, living independently in his own home.
He now relies on carers for support, but installing the stairlift early on in his dementia journey meant he got accustomed to using it before his dementia symptoms got worse. Unlike other gadgets and equipment bought more recently that he simply cant get the hang of, the stairlift is now so familiar its become a natural, unthinking part of his daily routine.
And it's enabled him to stay in the comforting surrounding of his own home rather than having the upheaval and, for him, the upset of having to move into residential care.
The saving in care home fees has more than paid for the stairlift several times over, but more than that its enabled him to stay where he wants to be. Money well spent in my eyes!
By Clare Rice
Editor, Local Dementia Guide
Tips on buying a stairlift
If you decide to invest in a stairlift for your home, its important that you seek specialist, independent advice to make sure you get a model that suits your needs without paying more than you have to.
UK based independent experts, Stairlift Guru, make 3 basic recommendations before making a purchase...
Test before you buy
Its important that you actually try out the stairlift before you commit. Not all starilifts are the same so do try them out. Most showrooms will have working models that you can try out to check they are comfortable for you.
Purchase only from a reputable company
As well as the initial price for the stairlift, it's important to consider future maintenance and repairs arrangements before you commit to buy. Always ask about the ongoing maintenance costs, and how quickly an engineer would come out in the event of a breakdown, as these are essential to keep your stairlift in good condition.
Get several quotes
Its important you speak to several companies and do plenty of research before you make any decisions. Only then can you be sure that what you're buying is the best option for you, and is competitively priced. Remember, asking for a quote puts you under no obligation to buy, and a reputable company will NEVER put you under pressure to make a speedy decision. If they start offering time limited discounts, alarm bells should ring!
For further buying guidance, and comprehensive stiarlift reviews visit Stairlift Guru at www.stairliftguru.co.uk