As people grow older, it's natural for mobility to start waning. You may find yourself starting to walk slower and finding it harder to get up. Stairs are one of the biggest obstacles faced by elderly people. They put added strain on the muscles and joints, require good mobility and place people at added risk of serious injury if they fall. One study shows that 140 out of 310 non-disabled elders reported difficulty climbing up stairs and 83 climbing down.

With that in mind, it's no surprise that so many older people fit their homes with stairlifts. Instead of having to struggle and put themselves in danger or think about moving to a one-level home, people can simply use the lift to take themselves up and down the stairs.

When most people think of stairlifts, they picture seated versions – these are essentially moving chairs. However, you can also find perch stairlifts. Instead of sitting right down, the user simply rests against a padded section until they need to get off.

While they aren't ideal for all users, here are just four reasons why perch stairlifts can be advantageous.

1. Work Well with Narrow Staircases

Seated stairlifts can work wonderfully, but only if the staircase itself is wide enough. Even larger properties may have quite narrow staircases, especially if they are on the older side, and that can mean there simply isn't enough space for a seated stairlift. Perch stairlifts don't protrude nearly as far from the wall, and the fact that they tend to be lighter means the railing and lifting section doesn't need to be as bulky. This means they can work well even in homes with narrow staircases.

2. Enjoy Plenty of Space

Even if your home does have staircases spacious enough to take seated stairlifts, you might want to think twice. They still protrude quite far from the wall and generally cannot be folded away, so it can be tricky for people who don't need to use the stairlift to go between floors normally. As stated above, perch stairlifts don't protrude as far from the wall. Better yet, most come with fold-up footrests, so space is maximised when the lift isn't being used.

3. No Unnecessary Standing or Sitting

While a seating stairlift can be a great way for older people with limited mobility to get up and down the stairs, they also present one major difficulty: if you find it hard to get up and down the stairs, you might find it tough to get up and down from a seat without discomfort. Perch seats are more useful if you struggle to sit up and down since you're never fully seated. You'll simply step on at the bottom and then step off at the top. Since you won't need to worry about getting stuck in the seat, you'll better preserve a sense of independence.

4. Let You Move Around Faster

Even if you don't have any real trouble getting in and out of a seat, you might find it bothersome having to do so every time you go up and down the stairs. After all, some older people who can get up and down fine enough still find it takes plenty of effort. With a seated stairlift, you're slowed down by the need to sit right down and stand right up whenever you move around your home. With a perch stairlift, you can get on and off in seconds. If you expect to be going up and down the stairs frequently, using a perch stairlift is going to feel far more convenient than using a seated model.

Learn more about how to increase mobility from an aged care professional.