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Mother seems to be in the last stages of dementia. The only time she leaves the house is for a dr's appt. The last time I tried to take her for a day out by the time I got her into the car, at the mall and out of the car into the store even in a wheel chair she was exhausted. Told me to buy her something and let's go home. I haven't taken her out since and that was months ago. I wonder if it's worth the expense of a ramp for a dr's apt every few months. She can barely walk now and we move her around in the house in a w/c. Of course, I'm not sure how I'm going to get her into the car for her next appt. She has to go down about 6 steps to get into the garage and car and naturally, she has to go up those same steps when we get home. Anyone have an idea how much a ramp will cost? Thanks for any help you can offer.

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Yes, the cross pieces were at right angles to the length-wise beams. I just nailed the uprights running from garage floor to the top handrail (2x4s) into those beams, with some extra short pieces (top part cut at angle), that fit underneath the length-wise beams to bear the weight. I agree, it's hard to visualize without a drawing. I used only long nails into the wood. If I had a power drill, I would have used deck screws from the uprights into the beams, but I just used 3" nails. Since the highest point of the ramp (at the door) is only 15" from the garage floor (and there is a concrete step in between), I'm not worried it might collapse. The ramp isn't anchored to the house; the top edge of the ramp is flush with the door sill, with the closed uprights close to the wall, but not attached, since we already had 12' vertical hand grips on either side of the door frame. I was pretty much figuring out the details as I went along. I didn't think to use metal brackets, but I guess any extra support wouldn't hurt. I looked at some You Tube videos, and they were all outdoor ramps with all the extra requirements that I didn't need for indoors. My post was intended to show that this was a project that could be done by just about anyone handy with a hammer and saw. I had HD cut the uprights (they won't do angled cuts, but since I attached the top rail to the side, rather than the top of the uprights, angled cuts weren't really needed), leaving only small supports ("chocks") to cut myself.
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CatyRay, just to make sure I'm understanding your method...you had cross pieces underneath the plywood, probably at a right angles to the length of the plywood, to provide extra support? Did the vertical supports just rest on the garage floor, or did you anchor them in some way, such as with something like the right angle metal things (sorry, can't think of the right terminology) that extend from each side of support? How did you anchor the ramp to the house?

Sorry if I missed something; sometimes it's hard to visualize without sitting down and sketching out the details.
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I built an indoor ramp for my mother for about $130 in lumber/supplies from Home Depot. However, there was only one step between the sill of the door from the kitchen to the floor of the garage (15 inches total), so a 10-foot ramp was doable in a two-stall garage, though a little steeper than the 1/12 ADA-compliant ratio. I got one sheet of 4x8 1" inch plywood & had HD cut it to make 2 3'x4' and one 2'x4' sections. I used two 8' 2"x4" for the lengthwise supports and had HD cut several cross pieces. I nailed the pieces to together (looks like a ladder), then nailed the plywood pieces to the top to make a ramp 3 feet wide by 8 feet long (top end of plywood overhangs about 1" so end of support ramp fits flush under edge of door sill). Cut upright supports and nailed to side 2x4s. Nailed smaller 2'x3' piece of plywood to bottom end of ramp for transition to floor. Then made side rails of 1"x3" smooth (higher grade) lumber, with rail at bottom flush to ramp to keep wheels from sliding off and a middle rail half way between ramp and top rail. Got a few rolls of non-skid tape and affixed cross-wise on ramp about one foot apart. Put non-skid mat under bottom edge of ramp. Mom uses a walker, and now we can easily get her from the kitchen door to the end of the ramp with enough space to turn her around and get her seated in the passenger side of the garage. The construction sounds more complicated than it really was. I'd used a hammer and saw for small projects since I was about 9 years old (I'm 64 now), and got ideas from web searches. Mom's "handyman" (a retired building contractor) had said he'd build one, but after waiting 3 months, I finally did it myself, built over two afternoons/early evenings and finished the night before Mom's 95th birthday. Best gift ever. Since the ramp isn't nailed to the concrete floor, it could be easily moved and adjusted to make it longer, but the way it is now, no turn or transition platform is needed. Mom will always be using it with the help of a home care aide or family member, so I wasn't worried that the ramp might be too steep for her to use. Since it's indoors, I also didn't have to use treated lumber for weather resistant or set the upright supports in concrete. Also, no worry about rain, snow, or zoning, etc. BTW, my brother is a structural engineer, but it never occurred to him that he could build a ramp! If someone my size (5'2" and 88 lbs) could do it without help, then I think this could be easily done by 2 or 3 people in about 5 hours. It has made all the difference for Mom, because she kept cancelling appointments because she didn't have the energy that day to get up and down the steps. Now, the home care aides can easily take her for rides or along with them on errands to the grocery store, pharmacy, etc, even if she doesn't want to get out of the car. Even an outing to get an ice cream cone can brighten her day. Don't think of the cost only in terms of medical appts.. Mom doesn't have dementia now (some problems with short-term memory) and wants to stay in her home as long as possible, and with the ramp, she can get out of the house. Of course, she doesn't drive! I'd look into handman services or volunteer organizations for help if no one in the family is capable of building it. I looked into portable ramps (expensive, heavy) and don't have side rails; mostly used for loading into trucks or moving furniture, etc.
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Babalou....not sure what question you were responding to but I don't think it was mine.
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I'm so sorry
, that answer ended up in the wrong place!
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Is your mom in the dementia section of a nursing facility? If she continues to be aggressive and refuses meds, it seems to me that they could justifiably say that their facility does not provide the right level of care. I'm sure they'd help you find the right place.
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It's a personal decision, but I would figure out the ramp issue now. It's very stressful to need to get the patient out of the house and you can't due to their inability to walk. Falling is a huge risk. Once a dementia patient falls and has fractures, things go downhill fast. I would pay careful attention to her weakness and ability to stand or walk unassisted. I would also watch her balance.

We have a portable ramp at my office, but it is not user friendly and it is barely functional on 3 steps. It would be way too steep for anything more. Check it out with someone who knows ramps and what will work best for your house.
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The ramp would be for the front of the house. My walkway steps down every few feet so I can't manage the w/c without a ramp. As far as how long mom will be with me.....where's that crystal ball?...I'm holding up well, I think, as a caregiver. Right now I feel mom needs a lot of personal attention I'm not sure she'd get in a facility. She needs help getting out of bed and going to the bathroom and I don't know....I want to give her all the attention I can while I still can. I do think she's slipped into the later stage of dementia but she is not bedridden and still has a good appetite and some days is with it alittle more than usual. I do miss my freedom and when I look around and see the things not done, well I feel overwhelmed but then I look at that fragile face and think I can do this awhile longer.
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Maybe should look at the bigger picture. As someone mentioned, how long will she be able to stay with you? How are you holding up as a caregiver? Even with a ramp it can be a daunting task getting her ready and loaded up for a trip to the doc. I dream about my folks getting in assited living. No more of dads driving, dragging mom through all the ridiculous dr appts where she waits for hour, doc looks at chart, you're fine. Repeat with dentist, bone doc, cardio doc etc.
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Six steps would require a LOT of ramp, I'm not sure it would even be possible to fit that in a typical garage. At 12 inches for every inch of rise that would be 42 feet to be ADA compliant and would have to include at least a couple of plateaus, making it even longer. You can increase the slope in a private home, but too steep makes it difficult to control the wheelchair. I think for your needs a lift would be more do-able but they aren't cheap, perhaps you could look for a used one?
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I have researched portable and metal ramps on the internet and have a company near by that installs them. Will contact them this wk for an estimate. As far as costs go, well Mom can afford to have a ramp put in. I'm lucky in that respect but I find it's a burden handling her finances. Don't want to spend any of her money needlessly (this is where the crystal ball would come in handy). Decisions, decisions....my goal is to keep her safe and comfortable. Decision made, I guess.
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Well, unfortunately we don't have crystal balls but perhaps this might help.

What's more important to you - her safety or the cost? If something happened and she fell and were injured, would you then wish you had installed a ramp?

Remember that you can always sell the ramp at such time as it's not needed.

But please do check out portable ramps. I'll look for the information on the one I saw; it was something my father thought very well made and workable, and he's been a woodworker, as well as a DIYer all his adult life and doesn't approve of something that he thinks doesn't meet his high standards. And he WAS impressed.

I'm not talking about something flimsy either - this was well made.

It looks something like these:

You would have to have side rails though; my father built them himself for my sister.
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Thanks for your replies. I guess I'm concerned that not long after we get a ramp put in she may have to go to a nursing home although my goal is to keep her here with me as long as I possibly can. I was hoping someone might have a crystal ball and could tell me the future......anyone?
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Are you sure she is going to stay in your home or may she go to Memory Care soon? If she's likely to stay with you, then I would build a ramp, because they can become wheelchair bound pretty quickly. Relying on her being able to walk down the steps is risky. And having others lift a chair with her in it, down stairs is risky too. She or the helpers could become injured.

If you visit Memory Care facilities, you will see that most everyone there is in a wheelchair. At least, the ones I have seen do.

I don't know the costs, but you might check with your church, community center or someone who might work with the families of seniors or the disabled that would give you a discount.

If I may offer this bit of information too. Once she is wheelchair bound, you will be fortunate if she is able to maintain the ability to stand up from the WC and get into the car. As long as she can do that, you can still transport her to and from her doctor appointments. However, if she cannot do that, then you will have to rely on vans that have a lift that can load and unload her wheelchair. I would look into that costs as well. It might help you in evaluating her future needs and your plans.
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If she's so tired of going out, I think I'd skip the mall visit - there's far too much walking for you and pushing the wheelchair at the same time.

Are you or is someone else a stay-at-home caregiver? If not, how would she get out if there's an emergency? This would be one of the prime considerations for a ramp, ahead of that of ingress and egress for trips.

Given her limited mobility, 6 steps might just be too much for her older heart. Even if she's in the last stages of dementia, she might live long enough to need a ramp to get in and out.

When my sister was in the last stages of cancer, she had difficulty getting up the one step from the garage into the house. Her physical therapist suggested a temporary ramp. It would essentially eliminate a parking space, but it's at least inside the garage and would protect against the winter cold.

I don't know how much a ramp would cost, especially since you'd be getting one for inside the garage rather than outside the garage and wouldn't need to address a lot of other issues. If you're in an area where there are a lot of assistive retrofits, there might be more companies and the cost might be less because of the competition. So it does pay to research for your own area.

I would measure the height of the steps in the garage, research to find companies that deal with assistive devices and ramps in your area, and call to get estimates. With a six step ramp, the height to the interior of the house will be higher so you'll need a longer ramp to meet slope specifications. That likely will cost more.

We saw a great device recently at Home Depot when a woman was removing it from her van. It folded up to fit inside the owner's trunk, then she unfolded it and attached it to the rear of her van to roll out the wheelchair for her daughter. I got information on it but don't have it handy. If you're interested, I'll see if I can find it.

I don't recall how she fixed it to the van but I remember thinking it appeared to be quite safe.
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