MS and Stairlifts..Are they a good idea?

Good Morning all,

Hubby has been searching for a stairlift company that can get him from downstairs back upstairs where we have the bathroom etc. We have finally had a company that has said YES at long last but now we are thinking due to the progression of the illness. Is it a good option to install a stairlift.

What have you found since you had yours and are you still able to use it?

Thanks all your opinions count.

We had a stairlift installed and both my wife and myself use it. It’s a godsend on those days when the top of the stairs looks like Mount Everest.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the response…The reason we are questioning it is my husbands MS has progressed and OT’s are always dubious to say yes to them. We are paying for ours and not Social Services but we dont want it to be used just for a month or so and fine it is redundant.

So glad you can both use it.

A lot of OT’s think it will not be a longterm solution…What do you think?

I used to live in a house and the OTs would not consider a stairlift because they said it was not “future proof” That was about 5 years ago and I’m pretty sure I could still be using it (and I’m SP) They favour a through the floor lift because it can accommodate a wheelchair – however quite a few folk have 2 wheelchairs – one upstairs and one down. The failure of a chairlift would be if your other half was be unable to transfer from a wheelchair and sit on the stairlift and who the heck can answer that! That’s the trouble with MS, an aide that is perfect today might not be the bees knees in a year. Unfortunately this is not a walking stick that can easily be superseded by a crutch but represents a significant cash outlay. Have you got the room to consider a lift? I’m not saying that a stairlft isn’t the answer just that noone can.

Caz, When l fractured my ankle - l needed to get about in wheelchair. So with my stairlift - l could get to the bottom of the stairs in the w/chair - transfer to the stairlift - go up the stairs on it and transfer onto another w/chair l had borrowed from the Red Cross. The stairlift does have a seatbelt - and the arms lift up so you can slide across from the w/chair as the arms on this lift out. Now l use a rollator to get to the stairlift - and have another one waiting for me at the top of the stairs.

lf the OT thinks the stairlift is not practical for your hubby - then its up to them to provide you with a safer alternative - if they feel that a through the floor lift is the better option.

Have you actually had the opportunity for your hubby to try a stairlift. Ask your local mss group for help.

Some of my friends with MS have been told they should not get a stair lift because there is a danger of their muscles going into spasm and them being thrown out, down the stairs. I don’t know whether this really happens but I know two different people who were told this.

[quote=“Sewingchick”] Some of my friends with MS have been told they should not get a stair lift because there is a danger of their muscles going into spasm and them being thrown out, down the stairs. I don’t know whether this really happens but I know two different people who were told this. [/quote] I would hope the seatbelt wouldn’t allow this.

The only adverse comment I have heard concerns the loss of exercise.

Against this, I found that the effort required to climb the stairs was increasing rapidly. The last two weeks before installation were hard work indeed, and after seven months, I wonder how I ever did without it.

If the story about muscle spasm is true, then I wonder how the same people sit down to eat a meal.


Hi, Social Services will want to put in a lift as they assume you’re going to get worse. They won’t pay for a stairlift now and a lift later if you need it. They’ll only pay for one. If they pay for the stairlift, you’ll have to pay for the lift yourselves. Most people, I believe, buy a reconditioned stairlift themselves, then let Social Services fund the lift as it’s more expensive. Unfortunately, in my case, I don’t qualify for any financial help as apparently my husband earns too much. Our staircase is curved, so although I bought a reconditioned chair, the rail had to be made bespoke. In total, it cost £5,500. The OT has suggested a through-floor lift and a few structural changes upstairs. We need an accurate quote, but he’s guesstimated at around £10,000. He also suggested our front door be changed to a low threshold one when I explained our path to the front door needed to be made more wheelchair/scooter friendly. I think they can do minor works up to a value of £1,000. He’s drawing up some plans, and if it works out at more than £1,000 I think we get £1,000 to put towards it. Heather

l have used a stairlift for 25yrs - never had a muscle spasm that has thrown me off it. And since having the stairlift l have not fallen down the stairs - which l did do a few times before deciding the safest thing would be to come down on my bottom - especially as l had a toddler. All the time Caz has tried to get help from OT’s to help her with the stairlift - and the different companies who have quoted her exhorbinate prices - her hubby is STILL in danger of falling down the stairs. l am fortunate in that l have a 'independant’stairlift company nearby that are so helpful. ln fact they gave me the name of a company that make very narrow rails for difficult curved stairs that l forwarded to Caz. They also said that they can always find some way around ‘awkward’ stairs. l know when my elderly neighbour was in hospital - and they would not let him come home until he had a stairlift [bathroom upstairs] l contacted this company and they came out straightaway and managed to fit a curved lift - even though there was not the ‘required’ space at the bottom of the stairs. We decided that to get the man back home to his wife was more important then some ‘health and safety’ over the top requirement. lt worked out wonderfully, and even better a ‘village charity’ offered to pay for it and fund the servicing. lts such a pity that Caz is not in this area - but l am convinced that there must be other lovely independant stairlift companies nearer to her. And other charities that would help -

Yes, l agree that playing one greedy company off against another is a good idea. We should be firm and ‘barter’ - these salesman work on such a high profit margin.

l have just done a similar bargaining - l needed to replace my double oven. l looked on line and read all the reviews and chose the one l wanted - looked to see who had the best price - then went to a local firm who undercut this price plus - free delivery/took away the old oven/ and fitted the new one free - and all done in 48hrs. Nothing to do with stairlifts l know - but just to show that this is possible. And we should all be supporting the local independants.


Am in process of trying to get funding for stair lift and hope that if it is installed it will be of benefit. I’m like your hubby in that my MS is rapidly progressing and I had same thoughts as to whether I won’t be able to use stair lift after a short time if things get much worse.

I’m still working but my husband walks me right in to my desk and again he has to bring me further every week as mobility is worsening. Not sure if I will be able to make it to work next Monday morning. Once I am sitting at my desk I can do my job no problem but getting to loo and trying to get to filing cabinet are real chores. I use my crutch but feel less and less secure each week. I actually fell inside my own front door last Saturday. Am thinking that I will have to pack in my job in the very near future and spend 7 days a week on sofa instead of 4 which I currently do.

I can’t believe that it has come to this - I’m so depressed

Marie, l know just how your are feeling - the fact that once at your desk you are quite capable of doing your job is wonderful. Now, l know how difficult it is to come to terms with needing walking aids. l found it so difficult to use a stick or crutch - but once l had tried a four-wheeled rollator my life changed. First of all l only used it to get around the house and garden. And l soon discovered how upright and well balanced l felt. The dash to the loo much quicker and safer. And getting in to the garden - picking beans etc - feeding the ducks/hens - things l had almost given up doing. Took me a while to be seen in public with it - but without it l would now not go out. Patrick aids4disabled a member of this forum advised me on what to get as l wanted a rollator that was good across rough ground. Also one with a good seat - and bag to carry lots. l can get around the house - carry my plate/mug/ telephone/remote etc. lt would certainly help you get around your office -especially to the filing cabinets. l feel safer going out on my own in the car - as l can fold it up and put it in the back of the car and just get it out to go shopping - or visits to the hospital for physio etc. ln fact it was the orthopaedic surgeon l saw who said l should have one. He told me l was not safe walking with sticks/crutch. lts also such a help when trying to stand up. l have had such a lot of people show keen interest in it - l should be on commission!! l do have two - one to take me to the stairlift - and another at the other end. Can carry the laundry basket on it and hang out the washing.

Do hope you get help with funding for the stairlift - do try an independant company. lf you have a straight set of stairs - you can get one for about £850 - new rail - reconditioned seat - if you look around. Mine is a Stannah - and l did have to replace it about 6yrs ago when we had an extension built. Prior to that the second-hand stannah l had was about 20yrs old - and still working. They can be fitted in a day. No upheaval.

I know that it might seem like the last thing on earth you want to consider but I have only one word to say:


Access to work will help with funding and believe me when you can whizz from one place to another in perfect safety you will feel a new woman.


Some very helpful comments… Thanks everyone