Sometimes, you just need to go upstairs. A friend’s house is multi-level and there’s no elevator in sight. When you just have to go, here’s a how-to on one potential way of making your upstairs goal a reality. 

Disclaimer: This pro-tip should only be attempted with assistance/a spotter in place and would only be appropriate for those who have significant upper body strength.

  1.  Untitled-design-2021-07-01T140136-407.pngInitial transfer: While still in your chair, get as close to stairs as possible and transfer out onto the second step from the bottom. This stair is not typically within transfer length and prevents you from starting at floor level.
  2. Proper positioning: Position your body across the stairs so your weight is distributed lengthwise. Make sure you are wearing shoes capable of creating some “grip” on the stairs.
  3. Hand/arm placement and “bump”: Place one hand firmly on the bannister and one hand on the step you are attempting to transfer onto. Lift and place your bottom on the next step up. It is recommended that you have a spotter in place behind you to keep you stable as you transition hand, arm, and foot placement.
  4. Reposition your feet: This step is key to avoid unnecessary drag and “dead weight.” Always lift your legs and feet to the next step up prior to attempting the next “bump.”
  5. One down, quite a few more to go: Repeat steps one through four until you reach the top of the staircase.
  6. I’m upstairs. What now?:  Ask a friend or family member to please retrieve your chair!
  7. Gravity is your friend: On the way back down, again position yourself lengthwise across the stairs to evenly distribute your weight
  8. Slow and steady: Place one hand on the step you are on and the other on the bannister. Slowly drop from one step to the next, repositioning your legs and feet with each “bump” down the stairs.
Justin Richardson, Executive Director of the Numotion Foundation


Justin Richardson, Executive Director of the Numotion Foundation

Justin Richardson is a manual wheelchair user of seventeen years and thirteen-year veteran of the seating and mobility industry. He has deep perspective and experience as a former ATP, operations manager, communications and customer experience leader. Currently Justin also serves as the Executive Director of the Numotion Foundation and sits on the Board of the North Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association.