Is a Home Elevator the Right Mobility Option for Me?

Are you considering your home options as you look to the future?  Many seniors jump to the conclusion that they have to move to a single level home in order to maintain access to it should their future mobility be impaired. However you have other options, and a great option for you might be a home elevator.  Let’s take a closer look.

home elevator the right mobility option

One of the biggest reasons that seniors sell their family homes and relocate is the difficulty of walking up and down the stairs.  When you consider that up to half of the square footage of a two story home can be challenging or even off-limits to the mobility impaired person, you can see why so many people opt to sell and move into a single level house. Chores like carrying baskets of laundry up or down stairs can be almost impossible for one who is uncertain on his feet. Additionally, even if someone feels strong enough to navigate stairs once or twice a day, a momentary stumble on the stairs can have disastrous consequences.

Some houses are built atop a basement garage, or these homes may have important household equipment like the furnace or washing machine in the basement. This means that one who cannot easily navigate the stairs may struggle to do necessary tasks like carrying groceries in from the car, changing a fuse in the electrical panel, or just having clean clothing.

And yet, the decision to sell a home that has played such a huge role in the lives of the whole family is not a small one. The four walls of the family home may echo with the laughter of children who are now grown and have children of their own. Memories of loved ones who have passed away may be inextricably linked to particular areas of the home. However, mobility impaired individuals may feel that they have no other choice but to sell.

Or do they?

If you or a loved one are struggling with stairs in the home, you do have a choice. Instead of selling, perhaps you should install an elevator in the home.  Installing an elevator will pay off in the long run as it will allow the homeowner to stay in their home long term, will provide peace of mind for worried loved ones, and will increase the useable square footage of the home.

Even if you are not elderly, you may want to consider a home elevator installation. This option will allow you to “age in place.” When you get older, when your knees and hips become achier, when you’re just a little too tired to tackle the stairs, you won’t have to mess with updating the house, cleaning it, listing the house, selling it, paring down possessions, packing them up, and adjusting to a new home and neighborhood. You can stay put for many years longer than you might have otherwise.

Another reason to install an elevator is to give your elderly relatives the option to come live with you. If you really hope to care for your loved ones as they begin to get a little more frail, they may feel more comfortable moving into a home that doesn’t have a flight of stairs to climb on a daily basis. Those who use wheelchairs, canes, and walkers may find stairs a daunting prospect, and a home elevator can eliminate this objection to moving in with you.

Additionally, even if your home is not your “forever” home, a home elevator will open your two story home up to a wider range of buyers. Those with mobility issues will find a home with an elevator more attractive than those without one.  Even those without mobility issues will find the comfort and convenience of a home elevator attractive.

Don’t allow the presence of stairs to be the determining factor in where you live your life. Check into home elevator installation and live in safety and convenience. 

Click here to book a free in-home evaluation to learn if a home elevator is right for you.

Don’t be locked into a 1st floor master bedroom in your home buying decision.

Four Things To Help Prevent Falls In The Home For Seniors

Senior Safety – Four Things To Help Prevent Falls In The Home For Seniors

Senior safety is an important topic because when it comes to senior fall statistics, the numbers are staggering. One out of three seniors over age 65 falls every year, and more than 2.5 million seniors who fall end up in emergency departments for treatment, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Furthermore, one in five of these falls results in serious injury, such as stroke, bone fractures, or internal bleeding. Although falls remain the leading cause of injury and traumatic brain injury among older adults, falls are entirely preventable. To help protect your elderly loved ones, follow these steps today.

Senior Safety - prevent falls in the home for seniors

1. Clean up Spills and Clutter Immediately.

Spills pose serious slipping hazards. All spills should be cleaned up as soon as they occur. Furthermore, the elderly should avoid using the “foot-and-towel” method to clean up spilled liquids. Use a long-handled mop to prevent slips when cleaning up these messes. When physical things spill, such as grandchildren’s toys, puzzle pieces, or utensils, a “grabber” can be used to help pick up the pieces without the strain of bending down. Family members should also help the elderly keep walkways and floors clutter-free. This will eliminate the possibility of forgetting to clean up the mess.

2.  Help the Elderly See Well.

Vision changes with age, and these changes can be more pronounced if cataracts develop. Seniors should see an optometrist at least annually, and glasses should be used as prescribed. Additionally, motion- or clap-activated lighting and night-lights can help the elderly see easier when getting up during the night or low-light times.

3. Make Preventing Falls a Priority with the Primary Care Physician.

Medications and medical illnesses can increase the risk for falls. Certain medications may cause dizziness, and many medical conditions can result in fatigue. Visit with your loved one’s physician about how medications and medical conditions may affect mobility and independence. In some cases, the physician may be able to prescribe a different medication to reduce risk for falls. Physical therapy and exercise can also help to reduce the risk from an illness- or medication-related fall. 

4. Eliminate Hazards in the Home.

Steps, staircases, loose carpeting, unsecured rugs, slick surfaces, and unstable railings increase the likelihood of a fall. Family members should eliminate the following fall-hazards in the home:

  • Loose carpeting should be secured, and all rugs should have a non-slip backing. This will help keep the rug in-place on smooth surfaces.
  • Steps, staircases, and railings should be frequently checked for strength and stability. If possible, consider installing a home elevator, a stairlift, or even a wheelchair lift.
  • For places where only a few steps are present, such as a porch or atrium, consider installing a low-incline ramp.
  • In bathrooms, install hand-grips and non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.

Carefully consider the benefits and risks for each solution to these hazards as well. For example, a ramp may not be the best option if your loved one suffers from severe heart problems, but a stairlift may do the trick.

More than 700,000 seniors are admitted to hospitals annually from falls, but you can work to prevent falls and in-home injuries to your loved ones by following these four steps. To learn more about preventing in-home falls, contact Virginia Home Elevator, Stairlift, and Ramp today.

Things to Consider When Pricing a Residential Elevator Installation

A residential elevator installation provides many different benefits for the occupants of a home, including increased home value. Unfortunately, a hasty decision could decimate your investment. Before selecting a home elevator for the price alone, think about how these factors will impact the elevator’s price.

residential elevator installation considerations

What levels of the home does the elevator need to serve?

For some homes, the price of the elevator may vary based on the number of levels to be served.  Essentially, an elevator that needs to serve multiple levels will have a higher cost.

What Type of Warranty Exists?

A warranty helps to safeguard against manufacturing defects and installation issues.  There are two parts of the warranty you should be aware of: the manufacturer’s warranty and the installer’s warranty.  Most established manufacturers (in business for 10 or more years) will cover the cost of parts for one to two years. Installers will usually cover the installation and labor for six months.

How Will the Elevator Impact the Home’s Value?

An elevator installation will increase the value of your home as well as make it more attractive for future buyers. More and more families are looking for their homes to accommodate multi-generation occupants and visitors. This is a critical consideration when pricing the installation of a home elevator.

How Much Space Will Be Needed for a Residential Elevator Installation?

Homeowners must consider what and who will be using the elevator in order to know how much space will be required. For example, an individual may weigh approximately 200 pounds. However, if this individual will also be transporting a 150-pound power chair or wheelchair in the elevator, the elevator must be able to support 350 pounds. If you consider caregivers and other individuals in the elevator simultaneously, the weight capacity may need to be between 500 and 600 pounds. The average capacity for a home elevator is 750-1,000 lbs, which is usually enough for a wheelchair passenger and caregiver, or four passengers.  It’s important to have an elevator that can at least support two couples to avoid having an embarrassing situation where the elevator can’t support the combined weight. Based on these considerations, the average space needed for a home elevator is 25 square feet which will yield a maximum of 12-15 square feet interior space due to code restrictions.

What About Maintenance?

When considering the pricing of a home elevator, homeowners should think about future maintenance costs. A home elevator’s machinery requires regular servicing, and building codes could change.

Ongoing maintenance on an elevator is critical to its long term operation.  An elevator can’t be unplugged and replaced like a dishwasher, and it is meant to last 20-30 years so regular upkeep is essential. Remember that an elevator’s job is to move people between floors safely, and if it’s not maintained properly the consequence could include someone getting stuck.

We recommend that home elevators are serviced once to twice a year to ensure optimal operation.

What Are the State’s Elevator Inspection Requirements?

Depending on the state, a single-family home may not be required to pass an annual elevator inspection. However, certain states may impose specific laws for the inspection of home elevators on a biannual basis. For example, Virginia leaves elevator inspections to the governing authority of local municipalities. Yet Massachusetts requires the recertification of home elevators every other year.  It’s up to the homeowner to ensure safe maintenance of their home elevator for family and friends.  If homeowners neglect their responsibilities for proper maintenance, there could be legal ramifications of liability in the case of an accident causing personal injury.

Considering all these factors will help ensure you have an elevator that meets your needs, has the flexibility to meet your future needs, and provides you with long term satisfaction and safety.  Since a home elevator is considered an investment in a home’s value, homeowners should take time to ensure it will be a positive investment and serve them in the near and long term.

To learn more about home elevators and typical installation costs, book a free in-home evaluation Virginia Home Elevator, Stairlift & Ramp today or call us at 757-749-9532

ADA Compliant Business Architecture: Advantages of Integrating a Commercial Wheelchair Lift

Commercial Wheelchair Lift in Virginia Beach, VA

Is a Commercial Wheelchair Lift right for your business?  In order to comply with the American Disabilities Act (ADA), businesses must be accessible to all devices that can be categorized as wheelchairs. In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of mobile devices such as power-driven scooters, golf carts and other pieces of equipment that increase mobility. Because these devices were not originally designed to be used by those people with disabilities, their presence raises many businesses challenges. According to the ADA, your business needs to be able to accommodate them at all times. Not only will compliance with this federal mandate keep you on the right side of the law, it shows that you welcome everyone to your business. This increases goodwill within your community as well as boosting your bottom fiscal line.

Compliance Can Mean Integration

For existing businesses, compliance does not have to mean major renovations and construction. Instead, it can involve the creative use of a commercial wheelchair lift to meet your customers needs as well as comply effectively with the ADA. This type of wheelchair lift provides a number of advantages that make it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes and types.

Advantages of Adding a Commercial Wheelchair Lift

  1. Versatile

In order to accommodate the range of mobility devices as mentioned above, a commercial wheelchair lift can be chosen that is rated for a particular load capacity. With the inclusion of models such as portable wheelchair lifts, platform lifts and vertical platform lifts, numerous different types of wheelchairs can use the wheelchair lift. These include sports models as well as conventional and manual adult wheelchairs, and those designed for children.

  1. Flexible

Every business is different so the commercial wheelchair lift you choose needs to reflect that. Many different configurations are available along with different lifting mechanisms. The lifting height of a wheelchair lift can be up to 14 ft.  Many times a wheelchair lift is a better option than a stationary ramp.

Models are available for both indoor and outdoor applications.

Between the different configurations and different means of lifting there should be a wheelchair lift that provides a solution for virtually every situation.

  1. Safe and Easy to Operate and Maintain

Because a commercial wheelchair lift complies fully with ADA regulations, your customers should be able to easily operate the lift without assistance.  Many safety features are included as standard equipment such as non-skid surface, emergency stop switch, constant pressure controls, emergency lighting, and in some situations backup power, emergency power and emergency telephone communication.

Virginia Home Elevator, Stairlift & Ramp provides wheelchair services to businesses and other commercial ventures across Virginia. Their team of senior managers has more than 50 years of experience within the elevator and accessibility industry. This enables them to construct creative solutions that address your ADA compliance issues.

Check out our Commercial Wheelchair Lifts & Elevators page by clicking here.

Need help determining the right solution for your business?  Give us a call at 757-749-9532.

Aging in Place – Important Home Safety Tips For Keeping Your Independence

Home Safety Tips for Aging in Place

 

Safely Aging in Place Starts with Making Your Home Safe

As we age, our mobility naturally decreases. Hazards around the home that would normally only be a minor inconvenience may quickly become a major problem if the appropriate steps are not taken to protect the residents of that home. Here are a few home safety tips that are of the utmost importance for people who want to explore aging in place safely.

Invest in Foot Protection

One of the most important aspects of protecting aging residence in a home is protecting the feet. In many cases, a less agile person is more likely to stub his or her toe on a piece of furniture or an object on the floor. Things happen, but an aging person is more likely to sustain worse injuries because of the shock of the initial stub. Falls are much more common for elderly people, and a stubbed toe that would only mean a few seconds of pain for a normally agile person may equate to a broken bone for an aging person. Fortunately, house shoes are available for very affordable prices that protect the feet from these kinds of injuries, protecting the rest of the body as well.

Make Appropriate Changes in the Architecture

Many injuries for aging individuals occur getting into or out of the shower or bathtub. In most cases, the lip of the bathtub is too high. An aging person with less mobility may not be able to comfortably step over that lip. This is just one example of a piece of architecture around the house that will usually require substantial investment to change. As an aside, make sure that the bathroom has rugs that soak up the water from showers and tubs.

Make Sure the Entire Home is Easily Accessible

Aging in place comfortably means providing access to all resources around the home conveniently. New technologies such as a home elevator, stair lifts and wheelchair lifts provide aging residents the ability to reach every room in the home without strain. These assets are one of the best investments that a person can make in the convenience and the accessibility of the home. A single home elevator or stair lift makes the entire home usable and accessible.

To learn how a home elevator or stairlift can help you enjoy your entire home again – click here.

Did you know Virginia Home Elevator, Stairlift & Ramp offers a free in-home evaluation