Instead of asking, “How much does a home elevator cost?” you should be asking, “Can I afford not to install a home elevator?”
An elevator in the personal home has long been viewed as a luxury. However, more buyers, ranging from older adults or families with young children to those with temporary or permanent disabilities, now want an easy way to move people and things from one level of a home to another, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But home elevators are no longer just for the super-rich. Baby boomers looking to “age in place” are installing them to ease the burden of bad knees and bad backs. So are families juggling children, pets, and groceries—both groups can greatly benefit. Builders say lifts are increasingly showing up in home renovations, custom-build homes, and high-end speculative properties.
Falls: The #1 Concern
Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at Northwell Health, recently told CBS News that seniors who fall alone at home often don’t tell anyone. When that happens, family is not aware that safety has become an issue and that their loved one is now at risk for an additional fall—one that could lead to serious injury.
“Elderly patients tend to not report falls to their families, or even doctors. A fall is a very frightening thing that you keep quiet about. They think if they mention it that it’ll start the ball rolling—the move to a nursing home or the need for aides to help out in the house—and that they’ll lose their independence,” she says.
When a fall occurs, especially if the loved one ends up in the hospital or requires surgery, life at home will never be the same. Wolf-Klein explains those who fall often develop chronic problems and can end up in a wheelchair. They may now need assistance with everything they do—bathing, going to the bathroom, cleaning the house, preparing meals, or simply getting from one room to another.
Falls also lead to higher health care costs, say experts at the CDC.
A Fall Will Cost Much More than an Elevator
Almost three million older Americans end up in emergency rooms after falling every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of it, likely due to a broken hip or head injury.
Falling injuries are on the top 20 list of most expensive medical conditions, costing Americans at least $34 billion in direct medical bills in 2013. This number does not include long-term effects such as disability, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties, and reduced quality of life, according to a 2015 CDC report. For each individual, the National Council on Aging estimates the price of a fall is approximately $35,000.
In addition to the tremendous cost, falls are quite serious medical issues—greatly affecting quality of life after the fall. Consider these additional facts from the CDC:
- One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
- More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually by falling sideways.
- The chances of breaking your hip go up as you get older.
- Women are more likely to fall than men and more often have osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- Each year, more than 27,000 falls lead to death.
Such serious injuries make it hard for a person to perform everyday activities, live on their own, or simply get around. Even when not injured, many people become afraid of falling again. This fear can cause a once active older adult to limit their daily activities. When less active, the body becomes weaker—actually increasing the risk of a fall.
The CDC researched the main conditions that can cause a fall; one of the top risk factors is home hazards, such as stairs.
Yes, Home Elevators are Affordable
When you realize your car is no longer safe to transport you and your family, you don’t hesitate to purchase a new one. When your refrigerator quits working, you replace it for the health and convenience of your family. The same could be said for installing a home elevator: When your home’s design no longer works for you and your physical needs, an elevator is the obvious choice to make daily life easier.
“Residential elevators can be entirely within a homeowner’s budget, and, as a mobility solution, there’s no better way to equip your home for the comfort of seniors and individuals with disabilities that limit their movement,” says Ryan Penn, Medium. “Elevators provide greater independence by allowing those who have difficulty climbing stairs to continue to complete their chores and self-care as usual—whether it’s maintaining a bedroom on the third floor or transporting laundry to the first floor.”
The bottom line: Home elevators eliminate what can become a dangerous obstacle of climbing and descending stairs with few renovations to your home.
The thought of adding an elevator to the home seems quite impossible to most people. This may have once been true, but the addition of an elevator is accessible and affordable today. Plus, innovations in design and construction have made it possible for an elevator to be easily incorporated to the design of an existing home or a new build.
Liftavator, the number-one source for residential, limited use/limited application (LU/LA) in North Carolina, designs, builds, and installs only the highest quality elevators and platform lifts. In addition to the company’s revolutionary designs and ideas, it offers a 90-day guarantee on all labor and materials. Liftavator doesn’t consider a job complete until the customer is 100% satisfied.
For more information on residential and commercial elevators, stairlifts, vertilifts, ramps, and more, visit www.liftavator.com or call (252) 634-1717 today.
(Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CBS News; National Association of Realtors; Los Angeles Times; National Council on Aging; Medium; and The Globe and Mail.)