Building Stairs - Stair Stringer Design Calculator Spreadsheet
If you are still able to walk but need additional support, consider your ability to grip onto a grab rail. Do you have reasonable hand strength? Do you ever have pain in your hands, wrists, elbows or shoulders which would prevent you from pulling up or pushing down on a grab rail? Look through the information in this sheet about installing additional rails to assist you on the stairs. If you are very unstable when standing and you find it difficult to bear your own weight, grab rails may not be the most suitable answer for you. Please see our factsheet on .
spreadsheet calculates rise and run for stair stringers
Folding the seat up and out of the way
The seat, armrests and footrest on a stairlift can usually be lifted up and out of the way when not in use. Some people struggle with folding the footrest up manually. Some stairlift models have a link between the footrest and the seat or the arms of the lift - when you raise the arm or seat the footrest folds up as well. This avoids the need for you to bend, but does require some strength to lift. If this is too difficult then there are models with powered footrest raisers that will raise the footrest at the touch of a button, or when a little pressure is applied to raise the stairlift's arms or seat.
These can be used if you are able to walk to the stairlift and stand while travelling up and down stairs. These may be chosen in preference to seated models if the staircase is exceptionally narrow or if you have a stiff leg or legs and are unable to bend your knee/s when seated. A standing or seated stairlift would not be suitable for you if you experience severe uncontrollable body movements or dizziness, as this could cause you to fall from the lift. It may also not be suitable for someone with reduced cognitive ability, who may be made anxious and try to get off the lift whilst in use.
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A physiotherapist would be able to assess your level of mobility on the stairs and give you some advice about how to manage safely. To be referred to an NHS physiotherapist, speak to your GP or other health professional. Alternatively, to find a local private physiotherapist, visit the . If you are unable to walk, or if you need support to maintain a seated position, you may want to consider a lift that can accommodate you and a wheelchair, such as a wheelchair stairlift, or through floor lift. If you are unable to walk, but are independent in transfers from a wheelchair to another surface, you may be able to use certain stairlifts if they can be sited to enable you to transfer on/off them safely. If you cannot transfer on/off the seat independently seek as assisted transfers at the top of the stairs could be very dangerous and should be avoided.