In-Home Elevators and Lifts Boost Independence and Safety for Older Adults

Chair lifts and elevators provide essential support for older adults facing aging and mobility challenges, enabling them to navigate their homes safely and comfortably. These solutions empower seniors to maintain independence and continue living in their familiar environment despite physical limitations.

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In-Home Elevators and Lifts Boost Independence and Safety for Older Adults
6 Min Read February 20th, 2024 Updated:April 6th, 2024

If you haven't personally encountered this situation, you know someone who has. Adult children find themselves grappling with anxiety as they head to work, leaving their 80-year-old parents to fend for themselves at home. While it's great news that many seniors retire and can live independently, aging affects their mobility. 

They may only have minor health conditions, but their reflexes and range of motion are likely reduced, elevating their likelihood of accidents. This decline can make everyday tasks more challenging and increase the risk of accidents within the home, causing concern for the safety and well-being of family members. As such, it becomes essential to consider measures supporting their independence while ensuring their safety, such as home modifications, emergency alert systems, or part-time caregiving assistance.

One home modification many families consider for their older loved ones is home lifts. A home elevator has many benefits in ensuring loved ones can safely move through their private spaces unassisted.

Types of Home Lifts

Functional mobility is a crucial skill to do everyday tasks. However, it decreases with age, like any other ability. Mobile limitations affect 35% of seniors aged 70 and most of those over 85. Lack of mobility restricts independence and requires the person to need help with daily tasks most of us take for granted.

To mitigate these mobility challenges, family members adopt various strategies. Among the common approaches are hiring caregivers, utilizing assistive devices, and installing residential lifts or home elevators. Opting for home elevators or lifts, in particular, provides significant benefits for older adults, enhancing their ability to move freely within their homes and greatly improving their overall quality of life. This solution fosters independence and ensures a safer living environment for older adults.

Here are some of the choices. 

1. Traditional Lifts

These are what you typically see in residential high-rise buildings that are highly convenient. The cab offers ample space for both your loved one and the caregiver for mobility. However, they're also expensive, with a home elevator starting at several thousand dollars. 

However, it's a worthy investment since you can use it for decades. It can last approximately 20 years, depending on how you care for it. Plus, you only need to schedule maintenance at least once a year. 

Installing an elevator in a larger home not only enhances accessibility for older adults but also significantly increases the property's market value when it comes time to sell. An elevator is a feature that sets a home apart, appealing to a broader range of buyers, including those looking for luxury amenities or those planning for their own future accessibility needs.

2. Stairlifts

Stairlifts, which are battery-operated chairs mounted on rails, offer seniors a convenient and safe way to navigate stairs. Users simply sit on these chairs to ascend or descend stairs with ease, controlling the movement via a remote. 

These devices boast comfortable seats for a smooth ride and are designed with versatility in mind, accommodating both indoor and outdoor installations. They can be fitted on various stairwell configurations, including straight or curved designs. 

Beyond their functional benefits, stairlifts present a more cost-effective solution compared to traditional lifts, making them an accessible option for enhancing mobility and independence in the home. This adaptability and affordability make stairlifts an attractive choice for seniors looking to maintain their autonomy while ensuring their safety.

3. Through Floor Lifts

Through-floor lifts offer a practical solution for homes that require the immediate addition of an elevator. Their easy installation process and compact design make them an attractive option for many homeowners. 

These lifts come equipped with both full and half-height doors to accommodate different space and accessibility needs. Versatile by design, they can be installed both outdoors and indoors, catering to various architectural layouts. 

Available in both hydraulic and electric operating systems, through-floor lifts provide a range of options to suit different preferences and requirements. This flexibility, combined with their space-saving footprint, makes through-floor lifts a convenient and efficient way to enhance mobility within the home, improving accessibility while also potentially increasing the property's value.

4. Platform Lifts

Platform lifts are the ideal solution for homes with limited space that cannot accommodate traditional elevator installations. Designed specifically to facilitate easy movement between floors, platform lifts are particularly beneficial for individuals who use wheelchairs. They feature a sturdy, protective cage around the platform, ensuring the safety of the user during transit. 

This type of lift offers a seamless and stress-free way for loved ones to navigate different levels of the home and can be customized to fit various architectural designs, making it a versatile addition to any property. The incorporation of platform lifts enhances accessibility significantly, enabling individuals with mobility challenges to enjoy greater independence and quality of life within their own homes.

Benefits of a Home Elevator

Home elevators and lifts play a pivotal role in enabling older adults to maintain a higher degree of independence within their homes. By facilitating easy access to different floors, these devices reduce the need for constant assistance from caregivers or family members, allowing seniors to move around their living spaces freely and safely. 

This autonomy is crucial for older individuals' mental and physical well-being, as it promotes self-reliance and confidence in their daily activities. Moreover, installing home elevators or lifts that adhere to residential elevator dimensions is a proactive measure that can preemptively address mobility challenges, potentially delaying or even eliminating the need for more intensive caregiving solutions.

As a result, these innovations not only enhance the quality of life for older adults but also provide peace of mind for their families, knowing that their loved ones can enjoy their homes comfortably and securely.

There are three significant benefits to consider when considering if your older loved one should consider installing a lift and remaining in their home.

Improve Safety

Every year, millions of seniors age 65 and older fall. One out of five cases leads to broken bones or head injury. It's also the most common cause of long-term care and traumatic brain injuries.

Most of these are due to health conditions and a loved one's limited physical mobility. For example, some seniors get arthritis on only one leg, resulting in balance issues and potential slips as they climb the steps. 

A lift is a practical solution to reduce — and even eliminate — the risk of falls and slips among older people, contributing to their declining health. It makes the home senior-friendly and navigating the top floors easy and less risky, especially for those who live alone. Family members can have peace of mind knowing their loved ones can move through the stairs safely.

Increase Mobility and Independence

One of the positive effects of a residential elevator is it promotes independence. Seniors love their freedom, so they'll insist on doing some tasks. For instance, they may want to push their wheelchair down to the dining area instead of calling their caregiver for assistance. 

Families may find their parents' situation stressful, especially those living with physical disabilities, and walk around the home without support.

A lift can enhance seniors' mobility to roam between home areas unassisted. When they need to go from the bedroom to the kitchen, they can do so on their own safely. An installed home elevator gives them the freedom to climb up to their bedroom when they feel sleepy, reducing their reliance on the caregiver and increasing their self-sufficiency.

For some individuals, installing home elevators or lifts can diminish the necessity for full-time caregiver assistance. For the majority, it can extend the period they can live in their own homes, thereby postponing or even circumventing the need for a long-term care facility.

Enhance Convenience and Comfort

Finally, having a lift at home makes carrying things to the next floor easier. Suppose your loved one wants to bring their packages, luggage, or groceries upstairs. In that case, they can do so without struggling and compromising their safety. Seniors who drag heavy things using the stairs have an increased risk of severe accidents. An elevator will make lifting tasks manageable, especially for those with eyesight or reflexes concerns, balance issues, and age-related loss of muscle mass. 

Is a Home Lift Worth It?

Older people experience many age-related health challenges, deteriorating their overall physical ability. The benefits of a home elevator can mitigate the risk of falling or slipping in their own space. Installing one is an investment in your loved one's health and safety. 

It's more cost-effective than expensive long-term care facilities like assisted living or a nursing home. Most older adults wish to remain home, and full-time caregivers are costly. While a lift may not eliminate the need for caregivers, it can substantially increase independence and mobility and consistent reliance on caregivers.

However, don't wait until a fall creates a crisis. If an older parent is beginning to have aging and mobility issues, discuss their options and their need for help with daily living activities.

For those who own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, many of these policies offer benefits that cover the costs of chair lifts and other assistive technologies, aiding policyholders in continuing to live independently at home.

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About the Author

Beth Rush writes about various health and wellness topics, helping readers learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices and better enjoy their lives.

LTC News Contributor Beth Rush

Beth Rush

Contributor since August 9th, 2023

Editor's Note

Various factors can lead to a need for long-term care as you age, including chronic health conditions that may diminish your ability to independently carry out daily living activities. Additionally, issues with mobility and increased frailty will lead you to need help with personal care tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and managing medications.

Given the rising costs associated with long-term care, integrating Long-Term Care Insurance into your retirement strategy is crucial. An LTC policy offers guaranteed, tax-free funds that ensure access to a range of quality care options, including in-home services, thereby preserving your financial assets and easing the burden on your family. 

With LTC Insurance, your loved ones can remain focused on emotional support and sustaining family relationships rather than taking on caregiving roles for you.

Proactively planning for long-term care is a critical step in safeguarding your future and retaining your independence as you age. By preparing for aging and health issues and their care implications, you ensure you have the support needed while protecting your finances and easing family stress and anxiety. 

Long-Term Care Insurance, more affordable when purchased at a younger age, particularly in your 40s or 50s, due to premiums being influenced by age and health, still offers viable options for those in their 60s or older, depending on their health status. An LTC policy enables you to confidently address the challenges of aging with the assurance of having resources for quality care tailored to your needs.

Consult a Professional When Exploring LTC Insurance Options

Numerous financial professionals can sell you Long-Term Care Insurance. However, only a select few possess the expertise, experience, and in-depth product knowledge required to provide truly professional guidance.

An LTC Insurance specialist representing the leading insurance brands providing long-term care solutions will possess a deep understanding of the products, pricing, underwriting, and features and benefits offered by these products.

Just as important, an LTC specialist understands the federal and state regulations and tax benefits these products can offer, including the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program.

The LTC specialist will show you accurate quotes from all the top companies, allowing you to shop easily and conveniently. 

Find Quality Caregivers and Facilities

Finding the right caregivers or long-term care facilities that offer quality care services for your older family members is simpler than ever with the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory. With over 80,000 listings nationwide, this comprehensive tool provides a vast array of options for long-term care services. Whether you're searching for caregivers or facilities nearby, the directory makes it effortless to explore qualifications and choices. Best of all, it's completely free to use!

If you're a care provider, you can claim your free listing or upgrade to enhance visibility through the LTC News Directory Business Portal.  

Additionally, the door to quality long-term care is wide open for those with an LTC policy. LTC NEWS offers assistance in processing claims from any Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Partnering with Amada Senior Care, a renowned in-home health care agency, LTC NEWS ensures that you and your loved ones receive the benefits from the LTC policy to pay for quality care. There is no cost or obligation for this service.

Experience peace of mind knowing you can access quality care services when you need them most - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term services for a loved one:

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