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Stairlifts financial support

Elderly Man and Woman using a Stairlift - Stairlifts, Stairlift repairs, stairlift rentals in Cirencester, Newbury, Malmesbury,

A study during the Covid pandemic by Age UK showed that 1 in 4 older people’s ability to do everyday tasks had worsened, including going up and down stairs. 

The study, based on a poll of 1487 over 60s found that 27% felt they couldn’t walk as far, 17% said they were less steady on their feet, and 10% who had previously been able to get up and down the stairs were now finding it difficult. 

Being told to stay at home and isolate, particularly the elderly, put real limits on possible exercise. And there does seem evidence this culd have a longer term effect. 

But aside from Covid, as people age mobility will reduce. Yet, from our experience, many hold off looking in to stairlifts, believing that using the stairs is useful exercise. That may be true, but the problem is the increased risk of falling and possible injury and hospitalisation that could result.

The risk of falling on the stairs dramatically increases when mobility is impaired, and an injury on the stairs could be far more detrimental to one’s health than the loss of exercise.

So let’s take a look at the tell tale signs that buying a stairlift may be a sensible decision:

  1.  Fear of falling – you are constantly nervous going up and down the stairs, and quite rightly. A fall could lead to fractures or broken bones, even weeks in hospital in rehabilitation.
  2.  You are adopting unusual habits to go up and down stairs – you may be dragging your self up the bannister, and sitting on your bottom to slide across the stairs.  These techniques could be straining other parts of your body and creating potential long term issues.
  3. You’re out of breath or dizzy after climbing the stairs – again you may be able to cope in this way but you are creating risks of injury or health issues
  4. You have issues knowing where to place your feet – with conditions like Partkinsons and Alzheimers this can be an issue.  Again you may be getting exercise but at the same time you are taking big risks of damaging yourself in other ways.
  5. Somebody has told you – you may not have noticed yourself but others around you can see you are struggling, and now it’s time to listen

What to do next?

One thing you could do as a first step is to apply for a home assessment on GOV.UK.
An occupational therapist will pay you a visit at home, ask a series of questions and watch as you move about rooms and up and down the stairs.
Ask someone to be with you during the meeting so you can be sure nothing is missed.

What financial support?

You could look at applying for a grant: 
  • The Disabled Facilities Grant – this grant is to help those who need to make alterations to their home and has a value of up to £30,000 in England, £36,000 in Wales, and £25,000 in Northern Ireland
  • If you are successful with the above DFG you could also apply for a grant with the ACT foundation
  • Check this AgeUK page out for more opportunities

You may also qualify for VAT relief, potentially paying zero VAT. To be eligible, the applicant would need to be  ‘chronically sick or disabled’ and the stairlift must be for personal or domestic use.

Finally you could apply to social services.

Aside from the above DFG there is also the Margaret’s Fund, a charity helping women in the UK. For this you will need to apply though social services like a care professional.

There is also the charity Independence at Home, which offers grants of up to £2000.