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Old 01-26-2021, 06:21 AM   #101
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The simple fact is as people age their sense of balance deteriorates, nothing can be done about it. 12,000 people die each year from stair falls most of them elderly but in total 100K fall down the stairs each year, many getting debilitating injuries.
It is the same issue with ladders, one can think they can still do it, but balance is a funny thing and cannot be trained. If you think you can compete with a 25 year old challenge one to standing on one leg and see how that works out.
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Old 01-26-2021, 06:51 AM   #102
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When we moved in 2014 we bought a 2-story house with the master bedroom and bath on the first floor just in case. We can live entirely on the first floor if necessary. So far (me approaching 67 and DW approaching 64) it isn't an issue, but some day that time may come.
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Old 01-26-2021, 07:11 AM   #103
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I have a 2000 sq ft one level home. My parents lived in a two story home with bedrooms and bathroom all up stairs. They did fine with stairs well into their 80's and had other issues the stairs never seemed to be of any issues to them.
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Old 01-26-2021, 08:23 AM   #104
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I've heard that stairs are a good forced exercise for people who might not get any, but I exercise enough on my own and I'd rather choose when and where I exercise, and not be forced to use stairs if I'm having issues that make it unsafe. I was in my late 30s when I had my current home designed and built so I had no thought against a multi-level home, but my next home probably won't have stairs. It wouldn't bother me to have a guest room upstairs or extra space in a basement, but I'd want every day living to be on one level. No plans at all to move any time soon, just keeping it in mind for whenever I do.
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Old 01-26-2021, 10:48 AM   #105
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The simple fact is as people age their sense of balance deteriorates, nothing can be done about it. 12,000 people die each year from stair falls most of them elderly but in total 100K fall down the stairs each year, many getting debilitating injuries.

Some of the problem with stair falls is that as you get older you tend to look down when walking. The result is leaning forward to watch your feet and terrain. In addition many people as they approach 40-50 yrs begin to wear glasses and often bifocals that distort distances. Muscle control is not as refined as it used to be as well. Going upstairs is not as much of an issue as going downstairs when most of the stair falls occur. You tend to go where you are looking. Balance is a function of your eyes, your inner ear, and proprioception from muscles and joints directing information to your brain (cerebellum). All of these typically don't age well.

I find myself guilty of that and have to keep reminding myself to keep my head upright as I walk while keeping aware of my pathway. I always do better keeping balance during that time. At least that factor is one that I have the most control over.
Hang on to the handrail (two if available) and don't look down as you take a step.


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Old 01-26-2021, 11:28 AM   #106
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I searched for a reliable sounding balance test and found these CDC videos:

balance

leg strength and endurance
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:05 PM   #107
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Just to show there's nothing new.
A stair climber from a 1963 Perry Mason.
https://www.solie.org/alibrary/Perry...rdict1963.html
Attached Images
File Type: jpg stair climber.jpg (72.5 KB, 26 views)
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:25 PM   #108
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I searched for a reliable sounding balance test and found these CDC videos:

balance

leg strength and endurance
Best balance test ever. Stand on one leg. Once you feel stable, close your eyes and see how long it takes to fall over.
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:26 PM   #109
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The simple fact is as people age their sense of balance deteriorates, nothing can be done about it. 12,000 people die each year from stair falls most of them elderly but in total 100K fall down the stairs each year, many getting debilitating injuries.
But you can make yourself stronger so if you do lose your balance it's easier catch yourself or have enough strength to hold the handrail. And if you do fall anyway then the added muscle can prevent a more serious injury.
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Old 01-26-2021, 12:49 PM   #110
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Best balance test ever. Stand on one leg. Once you feel stable, close your eyes and see how long it takes to fall over.
Problem is I'd want to see reliable stats on how long is good. I took that test and I scored about my age, which is older than I wanted to score, so I was glad to see there was no information on the reliability of it. If I knew a doctor would use that test, I'd prepare by making like I was a school kid and do all kinds of lateral movements and balance beam exercises to mimic the exercise young people get. Stabilizer muscles surely play a part and they can be conditioned.
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Can I Age In Place With Stairs?
Old 01-26-2021, 01:03 PM   #111
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Can I Age In Place With Stairs?

Back on topic, I don't think it is wise to attempt to age in place with stairs. Many people cannot navigate stairs safely as they grow older, or even worse, they think they can and then find out the hard way that they are not as agile as they thought.

I cannot possibly think of an advantage to having stairs, that is good enough to balance out the crushing realization when an older person first realizes that he/she can no longer handle climbing up and down them multiple times a day.

Then there are injuries - - even when young, people break ankles and legs. Older people like me often need knee or hip replacement surgery and sometimes the need or opportunity for such surgery comes suddenly. The former Boy Scouts' motto "Be Prepared" is a good one to keep in mind while growing older.
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Old 01-26-2021, 01:57 PM   #112
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I cannot possibly think of an advantage to having stairs, that is good enough to balance out the crushing realization when an older person first realizes that he/she can no longer handle climbing up and down them multiple times a day.
The only advantage I can even fathom is having your home on a smaller footprint and thus cost savings. I have been very fortunate in that outside of living on the 3rd floor of the barracks for a few months when I was a young pup in the Air Force and about 6 months on the 2nd floor of an apartment after my divorce, I have only lived in single floor homes. I don't see that ever changing.
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Old 01-26-2021, 02:09 PM   #113
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I cannot possibly think of an advantage to having stairs, that is good enough to balance out the crushing realization when an older person first realizes that he/she can no longer handle climbing up and down them multiple times a day.
Smaller footprint, you can have a loft, you can put a floor or two between living spaces. If you have a 2 story house with a basement you will have two floor systems providing a sound barrier from people making noise in the basement.

Everyone knows that at some point stairs will be a factor as they age, but that doesn't mean that you need to live in a single story house your entire life waiting for it to happen.
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Old 01-26-2021, 02:52 PM   #114
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Back on topic, I don't think it is wise to attempt to age in place with stairs. Many people cannot navigate stairs safely as they grow older, or even worse, they think they can and then find out the hard way that they are not as agile as they thought.

I cannot possibly think of an advantage to having stairs, that is good enough to balance out the crushing realization when an older person first realizes that he/she can no longer handle climbing up and down them multiple times a day.

Then there are injuries - - even when young, people break ankles and legs. Older people like me often need knee or hip replacement surgery and sometimes the need or opportunity for such surgery comes suddenly. The former Boy Scouts' motto "Be Prepared" is a good one to keep in mind while growing older.
Totally agree! I had my first (and hopefully last) stair fall at age 55. It was in our last actual house (a tri-level - a very efficient use of land/materials in construction.) It happened so fast, I was sliding down steps on my bottom before I knew what happened. NO lasting physical effects (thank God.) The psychological effects are still with me. No more steps for us. Efficient use of space/materials be darned! YMMV
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Old 01-26-2021, 03:37 PM   #115
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MIL fell down our stairs at our snowbird condo when she was about 85. Fractured her shoulder. She recovered ok after surgery. But I know that incident was partly the reason for DW wanting to sell the condo.

One of my favorite hiking spots has a lot of staircases down to the river. Yesterday I recorded 35 flights of stairs while hiking. Great exercise. Stairs don't bother me - yet.
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Old 01-26-2021, 04:44 PM   #116
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I think the bar looks unstable, but that's me.


Another problem with stairs is that if you have high blood pressure, you can lose consciousness by going up stairs too quickly. Happened to my mother and aunt. Sadly, my aunt passed away from the fall.
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Old 01-26-2021, 04:49 PM   #117
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We were living in a 2 story house with bedrooms upstairs and 1/2 bath on first level. We decided after my husbands brother was in a really bad motorcycle accident that he was fortunate they lived in a ranch. We decided we wanted to get a home with the master on the first floor while we were still healthy. We built a townhouse where most of the living space is on the first floor. We do have an upstairs that has a loft family room, bedroom and bathroom. If the time comes where stairs are a problem, we donít need to use the upstairs.
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Old 01-26-2021, 04:49 PM   #118
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I have no problem with having multiple levels and stairs, as long as it's possible to live on the ground floor. We have 2 bedrooms and a loft upstairs, as well as a basement with storage and my shop downstairs. But our MBR w/bath is on the main floor. If something should happen we can live there just fine. The footprint is about the same as our small house in FL, about 1300 sf. Truthfully we seldom even go upstairs, although I use the basement a lot. So my argument isn't about stairs, it's about flexibility in living. I wouldn't be surprised if builders started building more units like ours as the population ages. DW is always ahead of the curve on stuff like this.

Of course, we're in an area with a lot of population growth, so there are a lot of things constantly being built. If you are in a less dynamic (and probably quieter) area there may be limited new options. But there should always be some way to manage single level living as you age. At least I'd hope so.
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:02 PM   #119
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Start yoga classes 3x per week to keep both your strength and flexibility. I started 4 years ago at 58 and it's one of the best choices I've ever made.
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Old 01-26-2021, 05:08 PM   #120
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I'm 77. House has 3 floors but garage, kitchen, master bedroom and bath are on the main level. That was what we were looking for 16 years ago when we moved to have enough space to have kids and grandkids stay with us over the holidays and have an "until they carry us out" house. Good that we did that when we did as prices wouldn't let us do it now, although finance rates are better.

I still use the stairs daily, whether checking something in the basement or getting something from a closet upstairs. I think the comments of "use the stairs today so you can use the stairs tomorrow" are correct.

In the years since we moved here, I've had spinal fusion surgery (L4-L5), rotator cuff surgery and I have surgery for the carpometacarpal joint of one thumb scheduled for next week (arthritis has the thumb turning under the palm). Having one arm in a sling will make using the stairs a bit difficult.
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