Stairlifts are a life-saving option for seniors who want to live at home while aging. A stairlift makes getting up and down the stairs smooth and safe and allows users to access their entire home independently and without pain. If you’re considering a stairlift but wondering if your narrow stairs can accommodate a lift system, then you’ve come to the right place.
Stairlifts are a simple idea: a comfortable, mechanized chair travels up and down the path of the stairs on a set of smooth rails or tracks. The tracks are mounted to the treads of the stairs, which makes it possible to fit them to almost any style of stairs since they don’t rely on a wall for support. The tread mounting makes them reasonably quick and easy to install without causing significant changes to the home. Straight stairlifts feature one linear rail that connects two landings or floors. A curved stairlift uses a curved rail to connect multiple landings or travel along a spiral-shaped staircase. Because this type of lift needs to be custom-made, the curved stairlift price will be higher than a standard straight lift.
Stairlifts don’t need a lot of space. Most require a minimum clearance of 29″ for straight lifts and 33″ for curved lifts, which is pretty narrow and means most staircases will have no problem accommodating a lift.
But what if your staircase is even narrower than that? Is there a stairlift option for you?
Picture a stairlift in operation: The lift and the user need to fit comfortably when seated in the width of the staircase. The distance between your spine and your bent knees plus the distance the chair lift sits from the wall can’t exceed the width of the stairwell; else, your knees will be banging against the wall during the ride, which isn’t suitable for anyone. With this visual in mind, a few solutions are possible:
Anything that can be done to reduce the lift’s footprint will make the system easier to fit in a tight space. This includes slim rails and compact designs. Some manufacturers produce highly compact systems that will work in more closed areas.
Okay. We can’t make you smaller. But, the system’s design can reduce the spine-to-knee measurement that affects the overall space needed for the system to operate.
When you’re fully sitting, your knees are at a ninety-degree angle from your torso. However, if we raise the seat, your knees won’t stick out as far from your body. These “perch” seats have a much lower profile than standard seats and are viable to narrow stairs. However, to use one, you need to be comfortable and physically able to ride the lift the entire way up and down perched on a higher seat rather than fully sitting. Armrests and footrests help you feel secure and stable; you aren’t quite standing, but you aren’t quite sitting either.
There’s a Lift for You
Can you find a stairlift system that works with your stairs? Give your local dealer a call today to find lifts with various features and designs that will work with your space.