Case study - how equipment helped Cyril


Cyril decided a stairlift would be better than moving house but was unsure which one to buy.

Cyril's challenge

Cyril is 69 and lives with his wife Alice in their two storey house. Cyril experiences pain from rheumatoid arthritis in his hips, ankles and wrists and becomes short of breath when walking more than a few feet. Cyril and Alice's bedroom, toilet and bathroom are on the first floor. Cyril's stairs have two 90 degree bends, one near the bottom and one near the top. The stairs have a wooden banister, as well as mopstick and newel rails which were installed five years ago following an occupational therapist's visit. At the immediate bottom of the stairs there is a doorway through to Cyril and Alice's lounge.

Although climbing the stairs has been good exercise for him, Cyril no longer has the strength to use them safely. The last time he tried he got to the first bend, but then sank to his knees exhausted. Alice had to phone their son to ask him to come round and help Cyril back down to the livingroom. Since then Cyril has been sleeping in an armchair downstairs. Cyril's son contacted his local borough social services department requesting an assessment for Cyril.

Possible solutions:

An occupational therapist visited and recommended the reception room be converted into a bedroom or that they consider a stairlift or moving house. Cyril and Alice discussed their options and decided to investigate the possibility of having a stairlift installed as Cyril preferred to carry on sleeping in his existing bedroom if possible. Cyril and Alice invited reps from two stairlift companies to visit and quote a price. they made sure both companies were members of the BHTA so that they would not have high pressure salesmen to deal with. Both companies quoted a price for:

  • A curved rail seated stairlift to take Cyril all the way up or down his stairs. The stairlifts quoted had:
  • A powered hinged rail so the track could be folded out of the way of the lounge door when not in use.
  • A powered foot rest so Cyril and Alice can easily fold the foot rest out of the way when not in use, and back down when in use, without having to bend down.
  • A powered swivel seat to turn the seat to face the hall when it reaches the top of the stairs. Cyril preferred this option to a stairlift with a manual swivel seat as these require the user to operate a lever and he thought this may be painful with the arthritis in his wrists.

The outcome:

Cyril and Alice chose the first of the two stairlift companies to install their stairlift as they felt the company's aftersales service and maintenance package was more comprehensive. Cyril is happy with the stairlift. He travels up and down his stairs independently. Alice still walks up and down the stairs as this is good exercise but uses the stairlift herself occasionally when she is tired or to take laundry upstairs.

Use these links to read about stairlift features, stairlift questions and answers or tips when buying a stairlift privately. To view seated stairlifts for curved stairs click on the picture below: