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Old 01-22-2021, 05:29 PM   #61
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Our washer/dryer are the only critical things downstairs, so we could go maybe 3-4 weeks wearing all the clothes we still have, flipping underwear in/out, etc.,

Then one of our sons could come and do laundry all day for a day every few months....
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:55 PM   #62
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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.
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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.
Wow! I guess things are different in other places. Or maybe it's dependent on the age of the home. Anywhere I ever lived fire code has required basements to have exits.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:45 AM   #63
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Wow! I guess things are different in other places. Or maybe it's dependent on the age of the home. Anywhere I ever lived fire code has required basements to have exits.
Not sure about anywhere else but in Michigan, unless the basement has living space, it doesn’t need and typically doesn’t have an exit unless you call climbing out of a very small window, egress. This typically comes up when someone wants to put a bedroom in the basement. In that case, code requires egress. Not sure about something like a sitting area (tv watching).
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:30 AM   #64
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FWIW:
Mom is now 91 and lives in a three story home. Bed rooms and bath on the third floor, bath on the first. She climbs the stairs up and down about 5 or 6 times a day with an arthritic knee.

I told her we could 1) get her a stair lift or 2) modify her first floor for her to spend more time there.

Her response: "It's the only exercise I get! (leave me alone!!")
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Old 01-23-2021, 07:53 AM   #65
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Not sure about anywhere else but in Michigan, unless the basement has living space, it doesn’t need and typically doesn’t have an exit unless you call climbing out of a very small window, egress. This typically comes up when someone wants to put a bedroom in the basement. In that case, code requires egress. Not sure about something like a sitting area (tv watching).
Almost every house around here has a basement, they're already digging 6' for the foundation to get below the frost line so it's fairly inexpensive to go another 2-3' to double the living space. Also, the land is mostly flat and although walk-out basements exist, they are rare.

The same egress rules apply, a bedroom must have a legal egress window but a rec room or TV room doesn't need one. A legal egress window here must be at least 3.77 sq ft with no side less than 15". So 15" x 36.xx" is okay but not 15" x 15".
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:18 AM   #66
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Almost every house around here has a basement, they're already digging 6' for the foundation to get below the frost line so it's fairly inexpensive to go another 2-3' to double the living space. Also, the land is mostly flat and although walk-out basements exist, they are rare.

The same egress rules apply, a bedroom must have a legal egress window but a rec room or TV room doesn't need one. A legal egress window here must be at least 3.77 sq ft with no side less than 15". So 15" x 36.xx" is okay but not 15" x 15".
Around here, I'm pretty sure that at least one egress window is required, whether there is any living space or not (we have one). A separate room may require an egress as well, pretty sure that is a requirement for a bedroom.

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Old 01-23-2021, 08:39 AM   #67
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The StairSteady thing looks ok, unless you have to carry something up or down. What then? Maybe you could figure out some kind of a pulley system for laundry, unless that's on the upper level.

As you age, I think it becomes more likely that you'll have at least temporary conditions that will make stairs hard. I've had a knee surgery, back issues, and groin pulls that really made stairs hard. I'd either move into my main floor bedroom or try to limit the stairs to once or twice per day until better. There's probably also a better chance of falling as you age. Other than that, climbing stairs is probably good exercise.

All that said, I wouldn't live in a house where I needed to climb stairs every time I needed to use the bathroom. Figure out what's best (stairsteady, stair chair, elevator, etc), put in a bathroom downstairs, or start making plans to move elsewhere. That's my opinion.
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Old 01-23-2021, 09:29 AM   #68
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As a number of posters have said, it works until it doesn't.

If we choose a "forever" home, if it is two stories, it will need to have complete living on the first floor including a first floor master and first floor handicap accessible bathroom.

The bathroom needs to be wide enough so that someone using a walker can get in there comfortably. There will need to be a seat in the shower, and wheelchair access also would need to be considered.
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In addition, you need to be able to roll into the house.

One grandmother was able to walk up and down the stairs until the day she died - she preferred to use the first floor bathroom; but my father gradually became paralyzed.

We were able to set up "home living" for him on the first floor. We had to have him taken to the hospital from time to time, and he needed to be taken out and brought home by stretcher which they were able to roll into the house. (He was transported by ambulance - not ambulette - because at that point he was unable to sit.)

I am not a great fan of home elevators (unless you are living in a mansion, have round the clock staff, the elevator is maintained with by a service company on a monthly basis, you have an emergency response system in place, and of course it is not so small that it's claustrophobic if you get stuck in it). I do not have the same concerns for a nice condo or apartment building, CCRC, where the elevators are (presumably), larger, monitored, maintained under a service contract w/ emergency response and inspections built in. (There is more involved, but I'll stop there.)

So, you are young and fit, and have plenty of time to decide exactly what you want in a "forever" home. You can take your time to pick out the perfect place. Perhaps you will be able to live in this home and navigate those stairs without issue into your late 90s - but one doesn't necessarily know.

As an aside, I became sick in early March (some type of mysterious virus which was not the flu - long story). My side effects included dizziness, and I temporarily lived on one floor and needed support going up and down the stairs (when I went for medical visits and subsequently to the hospital) so that I wouldn't fall . . .
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Old 01-23-2021, 10:53 AM   #69
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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.







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.


And a bidet can always be installed very easily on the toilet.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:25 AM   #70
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I'm against an all-or-nothing approach. I think a temporary last minute solution (staying with a relative or using a portable toilet) is reasonable while waiting for a stair lift to be installed, and waiting would allow you to have the latest technology (the latest battery technology for backup power, for example). At a few thousand dollars, it may be worth getting the stair lift even if you intend to move shortly thereafter.

Even if you sacrifice your dining room and build a bathroom in the near future, that doesn't mean you're done preparing. I have a pee bottle (that I forgot about when my back went out so I used a bucket in the morning), a battery operated fan, a plastic barrel for emergency water, and I dream of a vehicle with enough interior height for a portable toilet. My building doesn't have an emergency generator and I'd love to have one for myself but a gas generator on my terrace probably wouldn't be acceptable to the neighbors. A home owner probably should have one though.
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Old 01-23-2021, 11:30 AM   #71
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My mom had a lift chair in both homes she and dad lived in since their middle age. Dad put one in the big custom house they had built in their late 50s because mom already had arthritis, so he was future-proofing. But, yeah, the thing was slow so she used it only for groceries. It wasn't too much in the way because the stairway was pretty wide, but their next house had a narrower stairway. Dad again had a chair installed, and it was kind of in the way. He ended up breaking a hip on the steps outside, and used the chair more than mom, who, in spite of arthritis, again used it mainly for groceries.

Watching dad get into the chair in the second house with the narrower, steeper stairs gave me the chills. Looked like it'd be just a easy to fall down the stairs trying to turn and sit down in the thing as walking down.
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Old 01-23-2021, 12:31 PM   #72
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Almost every house around here has a basement, they're already digging 6' for the foundation to get below the frost line so it's fairly inexpensive to go another 2-3' to double the living space. Also, the land is mostly flat and although walk-out basements exist, they are rare.

The same egress rules apply, a bedroom must have a legal egress window but a rec room or TV room doesn't need one. A legal egress window here must be at least 3.77 sq ft with no side less than 15". So 15" x 36.xx" is okay but not 15" x 15".
The building code is similar in Ontario and in my experience in most of the rest of Canada. Almost all homes have basements (I can't recall ever being in one that didn't) and virtually none have exit doors unless built on a slope and have a walkout. Many older homes don't meet the current code that says there must be an egress window of an appropriate size.
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:12 PM   #73
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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.
If you are healthy with no mobility problems then 10 years may be possible. As far as moving to an apartment or other condo there may be other options:

1. Move to an area with more single story homes. That may not be possible due to wanting to be close to family or friends but it is an option.

2. Look for patio or garden homes or zero lot homes. In some areas there are single story houses that basically have little yard. There is often a small back yard for pets or a small garden or sitting area, etc. Often the front yard maintenance is handled by the HOA if there is one. Personally I would go for that before doing a condo.

3. If there are truly no single story houses look for 2 store houses that have all needed stuff on the first floor. It is fairly common where I like that the master bedroom, bath, kitchen, living room, den are on the first floor and the second floor is only secondary bedrooms. That might be an option. The second floor rooms could be used as guest rooms or for other lesser used rooms. Also some places have 1 1/2 story houses where basically everything is on the first flood except maybe one gameroom or one bedroom/bath upstairs. That would also work.

Oh -- if you have osteoporosis or are likely to develop it I recommend against stairs. In that situation you really want to avoid broken bones.

Given the description of your house -- to me it would be so long term unacceptable that I would not go to the expense and aggravation of remodeling if possible. We did a major remodel of our house that finished about a year ago. That 6 months was such a major disruption. It was worth it to us as we had bought a house that met our criteria for a long term home. But in many instances if a house is just not majorly perfect it truly is easier and less expensive in the long run.

Oh -- for people who hate to move -- moving when you are younger is likely to be easier. I don't hate to move and am fine with it. DH hates to move and as he gets older he hates it more and finds it harder to deal with. You will likely dislike moving less sooner rather than later.....
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Old 01-23-2021, 06:21 PM   #74
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Since you have stairs now, use them to your advantage and come up with a workout program that involves climbing the stairs. Some people buy stepping machines...you don't need to. The stronger your legs are the easier it is to climb stairs (among other things).
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Old 01-24-2021, 01:17 PM   #75
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Can you modify your existing home to live on one level?

My two-story townhouse has the laundry room downstairs, but these models also have a large master bathroom with a "garden tub" plus free-standing shower.

So some of my older neighbors have removed the tub for a walk-in, curb-less shower & removed the freestanding shower to use that space for a washer & dryer...presto, no need to go downstairs.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:23 PM   #76
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Delaney, The owner before us got to the point where she couldn't climb the stairs. She insisted on living in her home. Her son had a plumber install a toilet on the landing to go down to the basement. The entrance to the basement was off the kitchen. She took baths and washed her hair in the kitchen sink. Think her son told us that she'd go upstairs once a week for a shower/bath.

Compact wet rooms don't take up much space if well designed. Look at converting your dining room into a bed/bath room. We had the room and money to add on a master suite addition when we bought the house, she did not.

To all the people that keep talking about what great exercise it is having stairs, it isn't. FOR SOME PEOPLE, as you age, stairs can be a problem. Why would you keep encouraging someone to keep going up and down stairs which could add to the risk of falling. If you want exercise, stairs aren't the only option.
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:55 PM   #77
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DH and I are 70 and we have live in a house with no stairs. We had owned houses with stairs in the past but as we saw what was happening with older friends who could not longer navigate steps we decided to sell the last house we owned with stairs. When we were looking for a replacement we only considered houses without stairs. It has been the right decision for us.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:00 PM   #78
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To all the people that keep talking about what great exercise it is having stairs, it isn't. FOR SOME PEOPLE, as you age, stairs can be a problem. Why would you keep encouraging someone to keep going up and down stairs which could add to the risk of falling. If you want exercise, stairs aren't the only option.
Of course stairs are not for some people or the only option but the OP said they had no problem with stairs. I was one who suggested that they take advantage of them to strengthen their legs....they already have stairs and they are a great way to get stronger. If they don't want to use the stairs to workout that's fine, it's just one of many options.

You can get stronger now and help delay problems that will arise later in life or you can do nothing and and be forced to move earlier or risk injury because it's harder to prevent a fall if you're weak.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:40 PM   #79
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Music Lover, Don't you know anyone that took care of themselves and still had an accident/illness that took them out. As you age those muscles you developed disappear pretty quickly if you are sidelined for any illness. Even getting the flu can sideline your exercise and it takes time to recover. If you aren't sure about stairs as you age you can either modify your home or move. It doesn't make sense to me, the older adults I know, that insist on staying in a house that's not elder friendly. I understand that some people are stuck financially but not most of the people on this forum.
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Old 01-24-2021, 03:43 PM   #80
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Accidents still happen to very fit and strong people. Chances are they will do better, and recover better, but being fit is no assurance you won't end up needing crutches for even a brief period.

The lack of a bathroom on the ground floor is the main challenge it seems. OP if moving is a non-starter, would a small addition for a half-bath be too much cost to make it worthwhile? I think that would make your home have a better resale value as well.
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