By Anna Hazard
Introduction - Elevators vs Other Lifts
When it comes to modifying a home to properly age-in-place, residential elevators are the most accessible and easiest lift style to navigate, but come at a premium price in cost and installation time. Unlike with normal and far less expensive chair lifts, bulky mobility aids such as wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers can be taken along from level to level when using an elevator which also makes them a good option for those who expect to be moving furniture or simply carrying packages and other items between multiple storys.
In particular, elevators may also be required for use on inclines that exceed 14 feet or otherwise hit the safety threshold for chair lifts.
As compared to other accessibility options, residential elevators tend to be the most expensive choice with one-time installation costs that tend to exceed $30,000+ (with the average typically being between $25,000 - $125,000 depending upon the exact style of elevator being installed). However, considering that assisted living can cost between $25,000 - $50,000 a year depending upon location, if the inability to climb stairs with mobility aids is the main sticking point for remaining in one's current house, then installing a residential elevator may prove to be the less costly option that can pay itself off within 1 - 2 years as compared to moving to an assisted living facility.
In addition, home elevators add to the value of one's home (especially if they have been built to complement the existing decor & space function) and thus can be considered a future investment.
The cost of a residential elevator will depend upon many different factors including the style of elevator being installed (including the drive or engine that is powering it, whether it's cable, chain, or hydraulic operated, if it requires the further installation of a machine room or closet, and any additional extra features such as power doors etc), the size and square footage of the elevator cabin & its weight capacity, the number of floors being serviced by the elevator, as well as the current configuration of the home and if room for a proper elevator shaft is already present within the household.
Other drawbacks for installing a residential elevator over a chair lift or vertical platform lift would include an extended installation time (which can take up to several weeks instead of the matter of hours or days for a normal lift) as well as the tighter tolerance & requirement of an elevator being installed by a licensed professional with all the required permits and inspections.
By Anna Hazard
Chair lifts (also known as stair lifts or lift chairs) are a popular solution for those seniors who live in multi-level homes whose health or mobility has deteriorated to the point that they can no longer safely maneuver common stairwells. These contraptions glide along rails that have been installed on the stair treads alongside the wall side of a staircase. Since they are not attached to the walls themselves, less remodeling is required with less traces left behind if the installation ever needs to be removed. In general, chair lifts can be set-up within 1 day which is a far quicker installation turnaround time than any type of residential elevator which can often take weeks to complete.
Although they are less accessible than residential elevators, stair lifts are often the most practical choice due to space and budget restrictions. They tend to be less expensive than the cheapest elevator option, particularly if the stairs being navigated are straight up and down (which usually starts at a couple thousand for installation of new unit). Costs go up for more complex layouts such as curving staircases or multiple level stairs with extra landings which can reach $10,000 depending upon the exact design. Stair lifts can also be temporarily rented for a couple hundred per month for those who only need their use for a limited amount of time (such as users recovering from surgery).
By Anna Hazard
In general, as one ages, eyesight tends to have less visual acuity for details, reduced contrast and color discrimination (which makes it more difficult to distinguish the sharpness between different colors, between light & dark shades, and in general makes the eye take longer to properly adjust between different levels of light), as well as an increased sensitivity to glare (due to the eye lenses naturally becoming more opaque with age). This is before even taking into account eyesight health issues such as glaucoma, cataracts, increased floaters, or presbyopia (natural loss of near focusing ability with age which causes blurriness in viewing nearby objects) that tend to be more numerous among the elderly.
Due to many factors such as the eye's lenses growing thicker and more opaque with age along with increasing protein deposits which can cause more and more dark spots known as "floaters" to appear in one's vision, in general a senior citizen of age 75+ will require nearly twice as much light to properly see compared to the normal recommended standard (ie the normal minimum illuminance of 50 lux with 100 lux for paths & stairways, and up to 500 lux for normal work areas such as counters & desks) which ends up being nearly 4x the minimum required for a 20 year old. In addition to these requirements, elderly eyes take longer to adjust to light levels (and can be outright painful during large adjustments) which will require more uniform lighting with gradual illumination changes.
By Anna Hazard
Here are a selection of spring-themed recipes suitable for various Mother's Day meals from morning to evening with a focus on those that include no refined sugars, are low sodium, and include healthy & in-season produce and other ingredients (particularly those that have anti-inflammatory or stress relieving properties or are known for extended heart & brain health benefits suitable for more senior mothers).
Most recipes are vegan and dairy-free with a selection of gluten-free offerings as well. Meals & drinks are blended or otherwise on the softer side for easier chewing and swallowing.
By Karen Weeks
When you think about life insurance, you may just think about the accompanying death benefit. Thinking about death is never easy, but the truth is that life insurance can offer much more than final-expense and funeral coverage, and it’s an important consideration for seniors and their caregivers. While it’s an extra expense to your monthly budget, you can work with an agent to help you find a plan that works best for you or use web-based resources to shop around.
For example, this handy online tool shows that if you’re a healthy, non-smoking, 62-year-old female, you can expect to pay around $69.75 per month for a 10-year policy, but it allows you to customize your criteria to get a better idea of what your premiums will look like.
Once you’ve found a policy that meets your needs and budget, you can use life insurance in a few different ways while you are still alive. Here’s how life insurance can benefit you now, provide perks for your family, and of course, help out in the event of your death.
By Anna Hazard
Introduction to Home Levels
In general, single story rancher style homes that have all rooms on the same level are preferable to multi-floor homes as navigating steps is often one of the greatest difficulties when it comes to aging-in-place in the location of one's choice. Having all the main living quarters on the ground level for easy entrance and exit can bypass many complications that come with failing health & physical ability in the elderly. This would include having access to a full bathroom and kitchen, a minimum of a 5 x 5 foot clearance space for turning in all landings and rooms, as well as the ability to move between all areas of the house on the same level without the use of steps or threshold bumps.
The ability to maintain or regain access to the upper floors of a house is a great concern for accessibility and universal design, particularly as most older homes have all their bedrooms on the second floor or above. This is particularly true for those homes with multiple bedrooms or a large quantity of rooms. In addition, the laundry room with washer & dryer is often located within the basement of a household. However, it is often not feasible to live in a single level home as a greater amount of multiple level houses exist (and a greater amount continue to be built) as opposed to single-story ones.
Many people end up compromising by re-purposing a downstairs room as a new bedroom and moving all other necessary facilities to the ground floor. Another option would be to keep the upper floors as a separate living space for any potential future caregivers.
News updates, tips, and guides on senior care, senior health, stress relief and a host of other caregiving related topics from the professionals at Ella Stewart Care.