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Old 01-22-2021, 10:49 AM   #41
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A few thoughts on this.

Our previous next door neighbors were in their late 80's with a 2 story house. Her hip joint disintegrated (literally just fell apart). They put in the stair chair. Stairs weren't an issue.... until they were. They moved to assisted living less than a year later. (He had dementia, she had the hip issue.)

My dad, when he downsized in his early 70's, bought a two story townhome. Bedrooms up. He ended up needing ankle surgery/reconstruction and would not be able to navigate stairs. Fortunately, he'd met/fallen in love with my stepmom and she had a single level house... He moved in with her and sold the townhome.

20 years ago my MIL sent my FIL out to pick up some coldcuts from a neighborhood deli. He stepped off a curb a block from the 3 level row house... broke his hip. Due to a variety of circumstances was wheelchair bound from that point forward. Steps to get to the main level. Basement (which could be entered without steps from the alley) wasn't finished and pretty icky. His hospital bed and toilet chair were set up in the dining room until they could move to a single level house.

All 3 cases, stairs worked well... until they didn't.

We plan to downsize to a 'lock and go' condo (to reduce maintenance and provide freedom to travel). One of our prime requirements is 1 level living. We will consider places that have a guest room or loft space... but master has to be on the main living level and that level must be ground floor or the floor must be reachable by elevator. We have other requirements - but that is the one we feel is non-negotiable. DH is 69, I'm 59... both in decent shape. If it's in a multilevel building, we'll use the stairs (rather than elevator) till we can't... just to stay in shape.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:49 AM   #42
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Thank you so much for the feedback.

I completely agree a home without stairs would be MUCH better. I WISH I would have bought a single story house, but I wasn't even thinking about the issues of aging when I bought years ago. Also, now that I am looking for single story homes, I am finding very few of them in Western PA.

Eventually, mowing the lawn and shoveling snow will become an issue too. I've concluded that my next home will probably be a maintenance-free apartment or condo, but I HATE the idea of moving until I have no choice and my dog will really miss my backyard, so I'd like to do what I can to stay where I am even for say 10 years.

I see that NOBODY is impressed by the stairsteady device. I agree that the single image of this device is confusing. Watching the video on the stairsteady site made me think this MIGHT work to help specifically with balance issues. The fact that this is not available in the USA makes me think it isn't truly safe so I hoped there might be something else similar that is available.

One person said, "there are plenty of solutions to address the situation. Why is there such a focus on this one product in the original post?"

I would love to hear about ANY other solutions to the stairs. The only solutions I came up with were this product, a house remodel (which won't work), or an expensive option like adding an elevator or a stair chair which doesn't work for me since moving seems easier..
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:21 AM   #43
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Eventually, mowing the lawn and shoveling snow will become an issue too. I've concluded that my next home will probably be a maintenance-free apartment or condo, but I HATE the idea of moving until I have no choice and my dog will really miss my backyard, so I'd like to do what I can to stay where I am even for say 10 years.
Why not hire out snow clearing and lawn care? Someone else does the work and you and your dog get to enjoy the yard.

Quote:
I would love to hear about ANY other solutions to the stairs. The only solutions I came up with were this product, a house remodel (which won't work), or an expensive option like adding an elevator or a stair chair which doesn't work for me since moving seems easier..
A quick search shows that stair chairs run from $2000 - $9000 installed, but I admit to knowing nothing about them. But if that's accurate then it's less than the cost of a real estate agent and moving costs.
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:23 AM   #44
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Age 56 seems to be exceptionally early to be worried about this - barring current health concerns, of course.

If a remodel is not in the cards ( and I would be interested to know why that is not possible) then moving might well be your only choice. If the concern is pending fraility, I am not sure how the device that was shown addresses that - at best it would seem to be a stopgap measure. If this issue is simply balance I guess it might buy you some time, but at that point the handwriting is on the wall and you are unlikely to be satisfied and safe for an extended time period using such a device.

My wife and I are currently on a two story house, and the plan is to seek single level accommodations when either the home maintenance or medical conditions are on the horizon. In health terms, nothing is predictable so I hope we will move due to maintenance fatigue.
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:34 AM   #45
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If you are worried about this now, that tells me you are having second thoughts on aging in place where you are.
At 56, if you are in relative good health and no problem with the stairs now, you have time to continue to look and plan where you might end up.
Not having a bathroom on the first floor would be an issue for me. If needed, a living room or open area could always be changed into a bedroom, but no bathroom wouldn't work.
If you really like your house, would it be less expensive to look at a remodel to add a bathroom to the first floor rather than sell and move?
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:39 AM   #46
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The device makes me think of the times my bar clamp and zip ties slipped. Stick with the tried and true stair lift or elevator. Have a plan for bathroom use ready in case you can't climb the stairs, like a portable toilet and maybe a septic hookup for it outside, like a trailer park (I never heard of this for a private house but I don't see why not). Or know where else you can stay during recovery until they can install a chair lift.

Not that the moving handle gadget is a bad idea. After all, they make grab bars with suction cups. I just wouldn't feel that comfortable with it.
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Old 01-22-2021, 11:56 AM   #47
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+1@Rodi, stairs works until they don’t.

+1@ Music Lover, the cost of moving may be greater than the cost of a chair. Outdoor upkeep and maintenance can be contracted.

+1@ pacergal, look at remodel cost for bathroom downstairs. With limited mobility the downstairs can always be rearranged temporarily to acomódate a bed but not a bathroom.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:01 PM   #48
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I will add this: seems to me just like with moving to nursing homes, the problems appear when people let things go on too long, bit it denial, being cheap or whatever the reason. Dont wait to remodel a bathroom to be easier and safer until youre so broken you will only use it for 6 mos until you have to move to assisted living. Same with stairs. Dont wait until after you need it to drop 10k on a stair chair to delay moving by only a little bit, when moving is what you wanted to avoid all along and now you get to pay for the stair chair and ALSO move in a short period of time. It seem to me its much easier to househunt and move when youre well enough to go out and househunt and walk the permieter of houses and neighborhoods.

No we dont have stairs but (precovid when we were out) we took them all the time in public buildings/hospitals etc bc they are less crowded, seem cleaner and give us some exercise. Our health doesnt suffer from having a 1 level house vice a 2.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:10 PM   #49
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If moving is not an option I would at least look into adding a bathroom downstairs. We have a half bath downstairs and could potentially put in a shower by moving the washer and dryer to the garage. All of our bedrooms are upstairs.

The elderly woman that lived down the street in same model lived her remaining years in the downstairs living room, but at least she had a bathroom.

I'm hopeful we will be a manage our flight of stairs into our early 80's. Then we'll figure something else out.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:12 PM   #50
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Mother is 87 and does well in a split level house with no bathroom on the kitchen/living room floor. My MIL was overweight and managed well into her 80s in a 2-storey house with no bathroom on the main floor. We think about single floor living but at the end of the day it's probably more of a luxury until one is very near the end unless they have other conditions which are limiting.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:16 PM   #51
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+1@Rodi, stairs works until they don’t.

+1@ Music Lover, the cost of moving may be greater than the cost of a chair. Outdoor upkeep and maintenance can be contracted.

+1@ pacergal, look at remodel cost for bathroom downstairs. With limited mobility the downstairs can always be rearranged temporarily to acomódate a bed but not a bathroom.
Regarding a main floor bathroom, quite often there is enough space under the stairs for a small half bath, of course that being dependent on layout and access to plumbing, etc. But you really only need 3' x 5' for a sink and toilet.

A hide-a-bed or Murphy bed can easily be added to a living room and not take up space, and not only is useful for overnight guests but in the event of an injury that puts you on crutches for a while you won't be inconvenienced.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:24 PM   #52
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I like 2 stories but twice within the last 2 years we have had situations where 85+ parents could have benefitted from a short stay for medical issues if we had one bedroom and a full bath on the main floor. Something could happen to one of us to make the stairs a problem at least temporarily. I don't know what OP should do. If I had perfect foresight a couple of decades ago I might have opted for a different configuration.
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Old 01-22-2021, 12:41 PM   #53
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I agree that a bathroom on the main floor would be ideal. The only location on my main floor would be to put it where my dining room is currently located. That is a possibility because I rarely use my dining room. Doing more than a half bathroom would be difficult, but perhaps a wet room would fit. I need to think if this is a possibility.

Perhaps a small room like this one with a sliding barn door:
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Old 01-22-2021, 01:02 PM   #54
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We looked into the chair lift thing for my Mom. But her stairs were pretty narrow, and getting past the chair when you weren't using it would be difficult. Also, another frined of hers had gotten one, but said it was so slow that all she used it for was to carry up the groceries. She would rather struggle up the stairs on foot than wait that long. I guess if you were truly unable to go up it would be a solution.

It might be possible to add an elevator to your home. We were looking into that for my Mom before it became obvious she wasn't going back. It's not cheap, and it takes up space, but it was a better option for her than the chair. We were going to bring it up into one of the spare bedrooms.

Keep looking, as far as moving goes. You have time now, so maybe find a real estate agent out that way, give them your requirements, and wait for the perfect fit. If they bombard you with obviously unacceptable properties, dump them and try someone else. There are agents that are willing to just keep an ear out for the right place for a potential customer.

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I agree that a bathroom on the main floor would be ideal. The only location on my main floor would be to put it where my dining room is currently located. That is a possibility because I rarely use my dining room. Doing more than a half bathroom would be difficult, but perhaps a wet room would fit. I need to think if this is a possibility.

Perhaps a small room like this one:
That would be a great option too. I think dining rooms are a waste of space, personally. But even a half bath would be OK in an emergency. Sponge baths work, better than nothing.
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Old 01-22-2021, 01:03 PM   #55
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We are doing some house shopping, and will be buying a ranch, or consider a 2 story/split if it is set up for one floor living.

I need a basement for hobbies, so there will be stairs. I'm thinking about having a chair lift put in, not so much for me, I can still handle stairs just fine, but for heavy things I might need to carry up/down those stairs. Some heavy things are also awkward, and holding something in one hand and grabbing a railing with the other throws me off balance and could trigger a back episode. I can see using the chair lift to do the object lifting, while I guide it.

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Old 01-22-2021, 01:09 PM   #56
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We are doing some house shopping, and will be buying a ranch, or consider a 2 story/split if it is set up for one floor living.

I need a basement for hobbies, so there will be stairs. I'm thinking about having a chair lift put in, not so much for me, I can still handle stairs just fine, but for heavy things I might need to carry up/down those stairs. Some heavy things are also awkward, and holding something in one hand and grabbing a railing with the other throws me off balance and could trigger a back episode. I can see using the chair lift to do the object lifting, while I guide it.
Basements have to have doors. If you get a walk out it would usually be easier to bring heavy stuff in the back way. If it's a walk up, forget it. Making that tight turn through the door with a 12' 2x4 would be pretty ridiculous.
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Old 01-22-2021, 01:59 PM   #57
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A stair chair does work well with a straight staircase. (My mother used one for several years )Note that the chair may fold up, and it is possible to park it at the bottom when not in use to give more space to walk around it. Now in addition you do need to consider the door widths to bathrooms and bedrooms so that if you are confined to a wheel chair you can get in. (36 inch wide doors and if remodeling make the doors pocket or barn door style doors so the full width of the opening is available.
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Old 01-22-2021, 02:51 PM   #58
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I have a lot of experience with the OP's situation with the main exception being that my parents were together in the home. Same deal; all bedrooms and only bathroom on the second floor and no place to install a main floor bathroom. The house was built in ~1890 and still had the gas light fixtures and the knob and tube wiring that replaced it (disconnected.)

My parents stayed in our family home until they were 89. Mom finally made the decision to move to a 3 BDRM apartment in a building with an elevator, onsite laundry, and underground parking. She was familiar with the building from visiting friends. The move was really hard on Dad, but other than their new apartment not being handicap accessible, which became an issue when Dad's arthritis put him into a wheelchair, it was a very good move for them.

When they finally moved, there were many comments about how having to climb those stairs everyday may have helped keep them mobile. There's no way to know the answer to that of course, but for the OP I think that there is no need to hurry this decision. The key lesson learned from my parent's situation is that we should move to a place that is, or can be made, handicap accessible. Things like wider doorways, no-step showers etc. I do subscribe to the notion that having to move around daily to take care of the house and go to the market does contribute to a higher quality, and possibly longer life.

Fun fact: Due to 24 years of the senior freeze, their property tax bill in 2011 was only $250! The current bill for their home is $1,400.
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Old 01-22-2021, 03:03 PM   #59
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Basements have to have doors. If you get a walk out it would usually be easier to bring heavy stuff in the back way. If it's a walk up, forget it. Making that tight turn through the door with a 12' 2x4 would be pretty ridiculous.
Most basements around here are below grade, no doors or walkouts.

When I renovated my basement several years ago I added two 54" wide windows. One of them was next to the driveway so it was very easy to get 12' drywall sheets into the basement.
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Old 01-22-2021, 05:11 PM   #60
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Most basements around here are below grade, no doors or walkouts.

When I renovated my basement several years ago I added two 54" wide windows. One of them was next to the driveway so it was very easy to get 12' drywall sheets into the basement.
Yes, but a few homes are built on enough of a slope to allow an "English Basement", which in Chicago-land means a part of the basement has windows about half-way down, but no walk out. If you have an outside door, that's a walk-out basement.

Big windows would help.

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