One of the main reasons why people invest in an Acorn Stairlift is to guard against the possibility of a fall on the stairs – and it would be hard to think of a better reason.
Having a fall, especially in later life, is never a good thing wherever it happens, but if it happens on the stairs the consequences can be catastrophic.
The latest official figures available from the Government’s Office for National Statistics show that in 2015 there were 787 deaths in England and Wales alone from falls on the stairs. That was a 20% increase on the same figures for 2012, which recorded 653 deaths. Since people are living longer and remaining in their own homes for longer, it is likely that the figure could have risen again by now, and remember, those figures are only for England and Wales.
As far back as 2000 the BBC was reporting that across the whole of the UK, more than 1,000 people per year died after falling down the stairs. That figure was released to coincide with a campaign to improve safety in the home. It also reported the stairs were the place where most deaths and serious injuries happen in the home and that elderly people were most at risk, with more than 100,000 treated each year for injuries sustained on the stairs.
Of those, more than half were admitted to hospital with serious injuries, the most common one being a broken hip. The BBC report added that a third of elderly people who break a hip die from the injury or complications arising from it, while another third will suffer long-term effects and never fully return to their previous level of fitness.
As well as the physical effects, a fall on the stairs can have significant psychological and social consequences, affecting confidence, independence, mobility and general wellbeing. A spokesman for Help the Aged told the BBC: “It is a tragedy that a simple fall down stairs can take the lives of over 1,000 people every year and seriously injure thousands others. A fall downstairs can take away in a second older people’s health and independence, so it is vital that simple precautions are taken to prevent such falls.”
Such precautions are often common-sense things like not leaving clutter on the stairs, making sure stairs carpets aren’t worn or loose, that staircases are well-lit and have sturdy bannister rails, and wearing suitable footwear when going up and downstairs? But what if you take all these precautions and still feel unsafe on the stairs because of your own physical abilities?
A range of health conditions can increase your risk of a fall and unfortunately most of them are age-related. Broadly speaking, they fall into two areas. First there are conditions which hamper your mobility and diminish your physical strength. For example, arthritis can make your joints stiff and painful when using the stairs, and it can be worse coming down. It isn’t just the weight-bearing joints – hips, knees and ankles – as arthritis in your hands and arms can weaken your grip on a handrail.
Then there are other health conditions, often linked to the heart, which can leave you breathless, dizzy or lightheaded on the stairs. Most falls on the stairs are caused by a loss of balance, rather than a slip or trip, and if you’re feeling woozy or lightheaded, balance is the first thing to go. If you are prone to such dizzy spells, or even blackouts, climbing the stairs becomes a high-risk operation.
When you start to feel unsafe on the stairs, whatever the reason, an Acorn Stairlift represents an investment in your future safety and continued good health. It will enable you to glide smoothly up and down the stairs in comfort and safety whenever you need to, eliminating the prospect of a potentially devastating fall. The peace of mind you will experience from knowing you are secure on the stairs also extends to the people who care about you and your wellbeing. Above all, an Acorn Stairlift helps you retain your independence and remain in the home you love, able to use all of it.
Because Acorn manufactures more than 70,000 stairlifts per year and deals direct with its customers, the cost of installing one of our award-winning stairlifts in your home could be less than you imagine. In any case, getting a comprehensive quote for your tailor-made Acorn Stairlift won’t cost you a penny. Just give us a call on 0800 016 9760 to arrange your free, no-obligation home survey and quote. The price we quote will have no hidden extras and remains valid for a year, giving you plenty of time to decide.