There are a number of options available to make using a stair lift easier. An occupational therapist or an impartial sales adviser will be able to specify the ones that are suitable for the users needs.
The most obvious option is to have a swivel seat stairlift. This means that you can swivel the chair when you reach the top of the stairs, so that you are facing away from the staircase when you get off. This makes it much easier and safer to get on and off the lift. The stairlift chair then acts as a barrier so that if you were to lose balance you could not fall down the stairs. A swivel seat is a standard option on most stairlifts these days, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra. If possible try and visit a showroom to compare the different stairlifts available.
Powered swivel seats are also available if you are unable to turn the seat yourself. This will add to the cost quite significantly and the quality can vary according to the manufacturer. As always seek independent advice and get prices from more than one source. If a powered swivel isn’t necessary at the moment but could be useful in the future make sure the seat can be adapted.
A recent development is the option of a two-way powered swivel. This enables the user to get off the seat in the most convenient position at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is a costly option and isn’t necessary for most people, however it can be of great use in certain circumstances. At the time of going to press only one of the manufacturers is able to provide this option.