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I have been sole caregiver for my husband for 2.5 yrs. He's bedridden, incontinent, vascular dementia, on a feeding tube. We can still have great times and he would like to go out. The local fire department bills us $250 to take his chair up and down, even for a doctor visit.

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Wow, I am overwhelmed by the kindness! I'm in Chicago, and everything is so expensive. It will take a it to read and note the suggestions but thank you all so much. There are very good ideas here and I guess I've just been too tired to hunt as hard for resources as I should. When I found out I needed 42 feet of ramp, it took my heart. My husband deserves better. Thank you.
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Reply to MrsHoover
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Check out your local Lions Club. The ones in WI have a team of volunteers that build the ramp for free, you only need to pay for supplies.
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Reply to kbuser
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I would contact local charities like catholic charities and ask them if they offer construction services at a discount. Google community charities or social charities and start calling.

Where I live we have an organization called Interfaith Community Services and they have volunteers that will come build something like that and you buy all the materials.

You would probably need a switch back ramp and handrails, that does get expensive.

Especially in this economy, everyone is so busy that they are charging an arm and a leg.

Do you have another exit that would be easier to install a ramp of some length?

Have you checked with your local transportation department to see if they have any transportation available that offers assistance getting him in and out of the house? That might be better than a construction project.

One thing to think about, 5k is only 20 doctors visits having to pay the fire department. I would ask the firefighters if they know how you could get a ramp, maybe they would be willing to do it for you.

Best of luck getting this sorted out.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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if he is bedridden, even with a ramp are you talking about just going out I the yard? Can he stand to get out of wheelchair into the car?
you may be able to rent a hydraulic platform that could be used to move him to ground level. A safe ramp would require one foot of ramp for every inch of vertical rise so 5 8 inch stairs needs 40 feet of ramp. So the lift might be more practical.
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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MrsHoover Feb 22, 2020
Thank you. I never thought about rental and will look into places on Monday. For two years I've expected him to be gone every morning when I wake up but happily he is not! I take extraordinary care of him and he is the love of my life. However, I'm worn out and the quality of our lives revolves around tv and his watching me walk back and forth to the kitchen for his meds and tube food. Until his thrid bout of pneumonia at New Year's, he was able to stand up to get in and out of the car but that $250 discouraged outings. I know his mental state improves with stimulation but I can only read aloud so long. He needs to get out, for both our sakes.
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Where I live (in MI), the local Senior Services organization has a "Waiver Program" that provides a variety of services, including "environmental modifications". Some of these services do charge a modest fee. A nice wooden wheelchair ramp was added to the front porch a few years ago for my LO, and I'm pretty sure that there was no cost at all.

This program is part of Medicaid's Home and Community-based Services for the Elderly and Disabled (HCBS/ED), and you must qualify for Medicaid to receive the services. Though you likely do not reside in Michigan, here's a link, for information. I would think that there are similar programs in most/all states.

https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/michigan/medicaid-waivers/choice-waiver-program
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Reply to Hope2009
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worriedinCali Feb 22, 2020
There aren’t similar programs in most states. Michigan is way more generous than other states.
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My husband and a friend put one in for a friend of ours who's mom lived with her. Do you have any handy friends or relatives who might do it for the cost of supplies. I know its a long shot but worth asking around?
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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A wheelchair or porch lift might be more affordable and work better than a ramp since costs for lifting < 5 ft is about $2,500 although they may some additional installation costs. In addition to all those contacts GardenArtist listed, I would suggest finding out if your area has a home builders association or a building trades school or even a technical school or department in your high schools. In my area, high school students are required to work a number of community service hours for graduation. The teacher at the high school or technical school can arrange for the students to do a lot of the installation work and often coordinates getting materials donated (our local home builders association often donates materials needed for the high school projects).
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Reply to TNtechie
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I had small ramp put on front step...portable but I had contractor nail it down. Not free & don’t remember company I bought from...you can research “Ramps” on google...you have to take measurements so it fits good to your step. Hugs 🤗
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Reply to CaregiverL
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Mrs.Hoover, is your husband a Veteran?  If so, have you registered him with the VA for health care?   I don't recall for certain w/o checking specific VA sites but I do remember that there are some services that provide adaptive facilities, which might include a ramp.

Otherwise, the only organizations I know of that provide free services are:

1.  Habitat for Humanity

2.  Christmas in April or Christmas in Action.    I haven't checked those organizations recently so I don't have information on whether there are two organizations or if the name has changed.   That's something you could research if you think that might be an option for you.

3.  Contact your local county and ask

      a.     If it has a list of organizations and senior resources.   You would be looking for an "adaptive" contractor, i.e., they make adaptations for senior living.    I doubt it they would do free work, but they might discount it. 

      b.    If it offers low interest home improvement loans to adaptive upgrading.    A neighbor got a new roof and some other areas of the home fixed, and from what the heirs told me, the loan was never paid back.

A county rep also told me that when someone died, the loan was forgiven.   The county never made an effort to collect on the loan.    And it was a low interest loan.

4.    The local Alzheimer's Assn. maintains similar lists, for specific categories.  I've found them far more helpful than the AAA, and far quicker.  

5.   In my area communities hold "health care expos" or "senior expos" at which vendors appear and try to offer their services.   I've seen and collected information from adaptive contractors.

Contact local senior centers throughout your area and ask about these kinds of expos.    You can get free information, although I don't think you could get free work.  But you might get discounted work if the company isn't very busy.

6.    Contact your local community, probably the Building Department, and ask if they get HUD funds for emergency repairs.   Mine gets HUD grants, on a fiscal year basis.

7.    The local Alzheimer's Assn. maintains similar lists, for specific categories.   I've found them far more helpful than the AAA, and far quicker.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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5 steps means 35" in height, an ADA compliant ramp would need to be 35' long, could your home even accommodate that? I think the wisest solution for the long term would be to look at moving to a more accessible environment; good for him now and for you in the future.
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Reply to cwillie
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Agree, doubtful anyone will pay, but cant you get a movable metal ramp?  They wont as nice as the wood ones, but here is a link.

https://www.lowes.com/pl/Wheelchair-ramps-Wheelchair-ramps-components-Wheelchairs-mobility-aids-Accessible-home/4294642675
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Reply to FloridaDD
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Highly doubt you you will get anything like that for free.
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Reply to HelloImMinsu
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