Affordable Stairlift Alternative – StairSteady
Throughout the western world, the tendency is to provide the necessary means to enable elderly people or people with disabilities to remain self-sufficient, allowing them to live at home longer. One problem that many of those people face, however, are the stairs. The classic solution to that problem is to install a stairlift. But a cheaper alternative that seems to make sense is the StairSteady.
Stairlifts are available all over the world in various colors and shapes and are compatible with many types of stairs. They consist of a rail mounted to the side of the stairs, with a collapsible chair attached to the rail. The user can sit on the chair, push a button, and an electric motor drives the chair on the rail up or down the stairs. Stairlifts come cheap, though. If no funding is available from your country’s social security system, they’re beyond the budget of many elderly people.
Ruth Amos, a 16-year-old U.K. student, developed an original and low-cost alternative approach to a stairlift. The StairSteady consists of a metal stair rail mounted next to the stairs and a bar that glides over the rail. Users still have to walk up and down the stairs, pushing the bar in front of them. When no pressure is exerted on the bar, it glides over the rail. When it’s pushed down, it locks. This way, the user can use the bar to pull himself up to the next step when mounting the stairs and to stabilize himself when descending. This means that the user still needs to have the strength to walk up and down the stairs, making the StairSteady unsuitable for completely immobilized persons, but, on the other hand, providing some extra exercise for those who can still walk. Its stabilizing function almost eliminates the risk of falling down the stairs.
When not in use, the handle can be pushed flat against the wall.
See the StairSteady at work here:
- Affordable stairlift alternative
- Ideal for elderly people or people with disabilities
- Helps people to live in their own homes (for longer)
- Useful exercise for people who can still walk
- Extra stabilizing function when walking up and down the stairs.
Standard stairlifts are available for all kinds of stairs. It’s not clear whether the StairSteady is suitable for spiral or square staircases. It looks as if it is, but better check than assume.
Where to buy
At the time of writing the StairSteady is only available in the U.K., for installation by qualified professionals. Possible introduction overseas is being considered.
Approx. price: $450 (January 2010)