I would consider an elevator only as a last choice, both for financial and safety reasons. Acorn makes some really good stair lifts that cost a fraction of an elevator (about 5-8%), only take about 6" out of the existing stair (chair folds up when not in use), and have a battery to run during power outages. If you cannot get stuff up/down by holding a basket while you ride in the chair, consider installing a dumb waiter to move "stuff". Dumb waiters have some safety issues too, but a lot of them can be overcome by placing the waiter higher off the floor where it's more difficult for pets and children to enter the waiter at all. Some also have safety mechanism that prevent the waiter from opening when the box is not properly positioned; since waiters are not intended for live transport, they are allowed to have lock out devices elevators are not, including key locks to completely shut the system down when younger children are around. Dumb waiters cost about 10-20% as much as an elevator.

1.   I echo FreqFlyer's concerns about interior household elevators.   Periodically I watch the remedial projects undertaken by Holmes on his DIY program.   One was fixing a botched interior elevator installation.

It was a few years ago and I don't remember all the specific issues but I do remember his caution that the installation absolutely, totally has to be done by someone who's familiar with the issues of the interior elevators.   

And if I remember correctly, he also issued cautions on their use. 

2.   Be careful what advice you get, and from which agency.   I contacted one a few years ago for 2 different projects and realized that this particular group in this area was very definitely seeking projects, beyond what was necessary.

The first estimate was about 5x greater than the amount I eventually paid, and included totally unnecessary work.   The second estimate was ludicrous, and it was made by an alleged RN who didn't even know what psychotropic drugs are.   But she arrogantly had the audacity to give a verbal assessment of about $30,000 work of work needed for one room.  

Obviously neither of them got the job.    I hired REAL contractors for the work.  

3.   Segoline, thanks for sharing this article.    I think we all can benefit from our caregiving experience and plan for retrofits to our existing homes.   My first big project includes disposition of decades of valuable gardening, quilting and crafting magazines.   That's a big step for this old gardener to make!

Oh, there was an article in today's Washington-Post about those household elevators and how dangerous they could be when there are small children in the house.

These inside elevators do not have a solid door that opens like one sees in a building, instead it is a regular door similar to a closet door and there is a metal folding screen that one opens to get onto the elevator.....

Children apparently have opened the door to the elevator and have gotten caught between the folding screen and the door to the elevator and slid down between the space between the floor and the elevator. Pets can fall into that space, too.

So, just a warning if one is thinking about moving to a townhome that has an inside small elevator or thinking about installing one in their own house. Check out the style of that elevator.

Thanks for the article Segoline. I've heard of the universal design movement years ago when I was still in the housing business. It is slow to start but it is used more and more in new construction, especially in senior housing.

That is good news for us later on down the road.

Segoline, I read that article about aging in place. As I was reading that article I was thinking retiree would need to have deep pockets to use some of the suggestions.

Townhomes with elevators [elevators not the size we are use to in stores] sound great, but here in the Wash DC burbs, one would need $700k or more for such a townhouse. Let me check my wallet. One of my cats would refuse to use it, the other one would learn and probably use it couple dozen times a day :P

Thanks for the link so others can read the article :)

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