What is a Stairlift? 45 Years of Redefining Standards

A Stannah stairlift is a piece of modern assistive technology, just like any other household appliance

Written by Stannah

Stannah has been a proud, family-run business for more than 150 years. We have a strong commitment to promoting independence and breaking down barriers. With our stairlifts, our customers have a product that fills them with trust and confidence. Over 45 years ago, we added stairlifts to our product range and since then, we have helped over 750,000 people make the most of their day. Managing the daily struggle of living with reduced mobility is a worldwide issue that Stannah is mindful of when developing its products.

While some still fear outdated stigmas, many people are learning to change the way they think about mobility devices, such as stairlifts. For more than 45 years, there has been a continuous effort to turn our stairlifts into a piece of modern assistive technology and not something that reinforces the notion of “disability”.

However, while there is still much fear related to the stigma associated with mobility devices, it is not a universal sentiment. After all these years, most stairlift users have come to appreciate the benefits of this assistive device and don’t feel at all self-conscious or embarrassed about having one.

According to Age UK, 81% of the people questioned believe that society has become more accepting of mobility aids. Although there’s still a long way to go, Stannah has played a fundamental role in this paradigm shift. For more than 45 years, we have combatted the stigma around the use of mobility aids, particularly among the elderly, mainly because it had a detrimental impact on their health and well-being. They would delay the decision of installing a stairlift for up to 8 years and, unfortunately, when the decision was made it was after a fall that resulted in severe injury or incapacitation.

That is why we believe that sharing positive peer models and developing visually appealing products has promoted a greater acceptance of our stairlifts and other types of assistive technology in general.

What is a stairlift?

As the very word indicates, a stairlift is a lift that takes a person up and down the stairs while sitting on a chair. That is why sometimes it is also known as a “chairlift”. However, at Stannah we believe that a stairlift transcends its literal meaning. The benefits of a stairlift for people who have difficulty getting up the stairs are way beyond its functionality. It means that as well as reducing the risk of falling and providing relief for worn-out joints, it also:

  • Enhances confidence
  • Increases autonomy
  • Provides peace of mind for family members, knowing their loved ones are safe
  • Provides the freedom of being able to use your entire home again

All in all, you’ll have more energy for the better things in life!

Stannah has redefined the stairlift typology: a stairlift is “just” another modern appliance you buy to make your day-to-day life easier, just like a dishwasher, washing machine or a vacuum cleaner. However, the main difference is that, as you age, a stairlift can eliminate the risk of falling down the stairs, which provides more peace of mind than any other appliance ever could!

Stannah wants to continue to overcome the resistance some people feel towards purchasing a stairlift because of the stigma associated with them and the fear that their home will look like a care facility.

Others may think of a stairlift as a luxury, but after witnessing many cases of serious injuries resulting from falls, we are now more convinced than ever that a stairlift is a necessity for every aging family. Simple tasks like popping upstairs to pick items up will no longer be an issue! Imagine being able to go down stairs to check on the dog or flip a load of laundry without fear or anxiety!

These other aspects of life bring the stairlift into a more personal space, away from the clinical feeling that we all want to avoid. Our focus has been all about breaking down barriers and this is not just a concern for the very elderly. Stannah products meet the requirements of demanding modern customers and will continue to do so for future generations.

Who can use a stairlift?

Stairlifts, or chair lifts, are for anyone who has any difficulty with stairs. The majority of stairlift users are able to walk, although they may suffer from a condition that causes them to experience pain when climbing the stairs (worn out knee joints, for example) or a condition that affects their balance, so they don’t feel safe taking the stairs anymore. A few years ago, people would only install stairlifts after a fall, but more than ever, we have customers installing stairlifts to prevent a fall from happening in the first place. This type of preventative measure provides more independence for its users and peace of mind for their families.

While we can understand why some people put off getting one, our customers say life is so much easier with a stairlift, and most wish they’d got one sooner!

What makes a Stannah stairlift different?


Not all people are the same, not all homes are the same. So, each customer and each stairlift is unique! We have a stairlift to suit everyone!

Our stairlifts are unique because they have been designed to blend seamlessly into your home. Whether you live in a classic or contemporary home, or if you have a straight or curved staircase, we will help find the right chair for you; along with a wide selection of upholstery choices, so our customers can get the perfect stairlift to match their home décor. We also have outdoor stairlifts that could be the perfect addition to your yard or garden.

Since we launched our stairlift line 45 years ago, we have applied our expertise to producing stairlifts that combine strict principles of design, pleasing aesthetics, safety and long-term value. From the osteoarthritis suit we use as an empathy tool for our design team, to the wood trimming, through to our ergonomic seatbelt, we continually strive to develop innovative features that keep our stairlifts at the cutting edge of technology to ensure exceptional quality. The result is the manufacturing of elegant, yet robust stairlifts that stand the test of time.

45 years breaking down the stigma

While the benefits have been genuinely life-changing, accepting that they needed a stairlift was the hardest challenge for some of our customers. In fact, a lot of people who need mobility aids are afraid to get them and get nervous about the idea of using them in front of others.

The association of mobility aid use with ageing and physical decline has contributed to stigmatizing attitudes. However, for most of our customers, the benefits of a stairlift in maintaining independence and control have led to more positive perspectives. They’ve realized that the safety their stairlift provides, also allows for greater freedom, in addition to security.

What are the signs that you need a stairlift?

  • Family members are worrying about how you get up and down the stairs
  • You find yourself using unusual ways to get up the stairs
  • Getting up and down the stairs is having a negative impact on your energy levels for the rest of the day.

By installing a stairlift, you can start making the most of every day and most importantly, improve your overall quality of life. Ultimately, considering buying a stairlift sooner rather than later means you can reap the benefits for many years to come.

As for Stannah, we will continually think of our customers as increasingly and generally more brand and design conscious, keener to assert their individuality and embrace ageing with a positive attitude, making the most of the technology at their disposal.


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