Last week’s Samarth polls revealed that climbing stairs were one of the three areas where seniors wished for technological assistance. Lifts or elevators also topped the common responses for the passive technology assistance currently being used. Clearly, with age, climbing stairs is a mobility issue and many seniors would live to get help in this.
However, there could always be scenarios where you are living in an older house which no lifts and you have to make do with climbing stairs. In a duplex house, if seniors can occupy the ground floor, it’s well and good. But, if not, the solution need not be renovating or making structural changes which can be costly, time-consuming, and messy too. There is an easier option that can be checked out. Stairlifts also called chair lifts are mobility aids, that not many people in India are aware of.
What is a stairlift?
As the name suggests, the stairlift is a chair that is fitted to the staircases and acts as a lift to move people up and down the stairs easily. This is a unique solution to make everyday life easier for the aged and the differently abled population. They are comfortable and safe and come in a variety of models to suit the staircases. For example, they could be straight or curved, or indoors and outdoors. They could be for a single floor or can be fitted to a multi-floor building as well. This is rather popular in the West, but a relatively new concept in India. These are beautifully designed pieces aided by technology to make life easier for those who find it difficult or impossible to climb stairs.
How does it work?
Currently, there are various models available in India. The best way would be to reach out to a few dealers and check the models available and get them to recce your staircase. This way, you could be assured that you are purchasing the right one. Also, there are various models, and it is a good idea to discuss them with the executives to understand which is the optimum one. Many manufacturers also offer to customise the lifts to suit your needs. It takes about two to three hours to install a stairlift, and it is best to get it done through the dealers.
While most take care of comfort and safety, some come with advanced features like speed control. These days most stairlifts operate on battery (chargeable) and thus, can function even when there is no power. A stairlift is essentially a chair that runs on rails equipped to the stairs and it comes with a control panel, which is self-operatable. Hence, the person can sit in it, lock on the safety belt and operate the lift to move up or down as needed. The mechanism is smooth and not scary and people get adjusted to it quickly and start loving the independence it brings.
Depending on the model chosen, the features, etc. typically, a stairlift price starts from 1 lakh INR and above. When you look at the amount of independence you gain, and the freedom of not having to change or restructure your homes, the stairlift may well be worth it. It’s low-maintenance and durable too. They come with different colours, head, arm, and footrest options, foldup seats to flatten the lift when not in use, built-in safety sensors, electronic brakes, and are durable with low maintenance. The people who install it will also provide a complete operation demo for you to understand the various aspects of its working. Most manufacturers or dealers provide pan-India services and post-installation services also. Thus, overall, stairlifts are a convenient mobility aid for seniors who wish to avoid climbing stairs within their homes.