Big purchases can be overwhelming sometimes. The challenge of making a big purchase decision can be even more insurmountable when the purchase has medical origins and will influence the ease or difficulty of your life or the life of a loved one. When it comes to choosing a stairlift, all of these feelings and more can begin to surface. The following will break down the different factors you need to keep in mind when making a decision that is going to have an impact on every day of someone’s life.

Give Your Emotions a Moment

Making the leap to purchasing a stairlift can feel like admitting to yourself that things aren’t going to improve. It can feel like giving up on certain ideals we’ve held on to. Because of this, deciding that now is the time to purchase a stairlift device can be emotionally difficult. This is completely okay. You’re not alone. Give yourself an hour to let your feelings out. It will make the rest of the process far more smoothly.

Thinks About the Positive Benefits

Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings about it, you can then begin to focus on the positive aspects of this decision. A stairlift is one of the most promising tools that can be used to help maintain independence and freedom in the face of aging, injury or recovering from a medical procedure. A stairlift can be the thing that allows you or your loved one to keep their home. A stairlift can provide safety, and therefore, can reduce the stress and anxiety of everyday living. You no longer need to worry constantly that an accident has occurred or is going to occur on the stairs. Reducing stress not only improves your health but improves your relationships and the emotions of those around you too.

Understand Your Needs

First and foremost, you need to take a moment to understand your needs or the needs of your loved one for whom you’re shopping. If you’re shopping for a stairlift, then at the most basic, someone needs help climbing the stairs safely. Where are the stairs? Inside a home or outside? Is the staircase standard width (106.7 cm or 3ft 6 inches) or narrower? Will you need the lift to be able to curve around the base of the stairs or will a straight path suit your needs? Are there specific elements the seat you choose needs to have? Once you have answers to these basic questions, you will have an idea of the type of stairlift you need for your home.

Learn About How Stairlifts Work

While stairlifts can accomplish big things in peoples’ lives, as mechanical devices go, they’re relatively simple. Most stairlifts are composed of a track with a textured or toothed surface and a chair with motorized gear or wheels at the base. The chair can thus propel itself up and down the stairs using the teeth or texture on the track.

Choose Your Track

Straight tracks are the most common stairlift choice. They are usually the least expensive and by far, the easiest type of stairlift to install. Typically mass-produced, they can sometimes be installed by customers themselves. Experts at recommend that you take a moment to read online reviews from other customers regarding the choice you make. In particular, if you are planning on installing the stairlift yourself, read the reviews of people who have done the same. Pay attention to how easy they found the installation process.

Curved tracks tend to be a little more expensive than straight tracks. They are designed to work with staircases that bend or have a landing at the top or bottom which requires a curved track to maneuver. These tracks tend to suit unusual or irregular staircases, and because of this, they tend to require more precise measurements. Often, to get a curved track stairlift, you’ll need to have a professional come to your home and measure for you. Likely, you will also need someone to come to your home and install it for you.

Outdoor tracks are by far the most expensive option. They are available in both straight and curved tracks as mentioned above, but the main feature is that they are weatherproof. Outdoor stairlifts will be able to handle rain, wind, and snow without sacrificing functionality.

Choose Your Stairlift Configuration

The way the track for your stairlift is configured will have an impact on its use. Horizontal tracks are the most common configuration for straight stairlifts—this involves the toothed surface in the middle and recessed slots on the sides for wheels. This being said, some people prefer the idea of a vertical system. These are similar, only turned 90 degrees so that they take up less space on the stairs.

You also have the option of folding tracks. These are sometimes called folding rails and have sections on the tips that can be folded up (either by hand or automatically). The reason some people prefer this is that folding tacks keep the ends of the track out of other people’s way when they’re not being used. In instances where a staircase is close to a door or hallway, you might need folding tracks. You don’t want anyone tripping! Sliding tracks are also another option whereby there is a mechanism that moves the entire tracks themselves out of the way when they’re not being used.

Seat and Chair Considerations

You’re also going to want to consider the practical and aesthetic options for the seat. Some might have a color preference to ensure the chair suits the decor of the rest of the home. You might also have comfort and ergonomic preferences having to do with whether the chair swivels, has an angled seat, collapses, or has armrests or footrests. Chair speed as well is something that needs to be considered. Most countries have a limit on how fast stairlifts can go. You might discover the mechanisms move slower than you were anticipating. You’re also going to want to consider how easy and comfortable the device is to operate.

With the above points kept in mind, you’re well on your way to choosing the right stairlift for you and your needs. As with any medical device, it is important that you speak to your doctor about any concerns you have.