Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

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akhilsam
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Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by akhilsam » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm

All,

My 74 year father and mother will be living with me and I am looking for a bigger home as well.
Bigger home are obviously expensive in Northern VA. I was looking one room and one full washroom on main level for my parents ease.
However it limits our home options in already low inventory market.

Is considering a railing a good idea ?any experience with stair railings?
Appreciate input!

bob60014
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by bob60014 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:33 pm

A stair railing? Or a stair lift?

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JoeRetire
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by JoeRetire » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:36 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm
I was looking one room and one full washroom on main level for my parents ease.
However it limits our home options in already low inventory market.

Is considering a railing a good idea ?any experience with stair railings?
If I were going to purchase a home in your scenario, I'd keep looking until I found a home that offered single floor living for my parents.
Anything else simply won't be as good for them.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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sport
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by sport » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:36 pm

Railings are essential on stairs, but there is no assurance they will prevent a fall. Even if they do not fall, stairs become increasingly difficult with age. When we were in our 60's, we moved to a one-floor house for this reason. We have been very happy living on one floor. No lugging laundry up the steps, etc.

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Watty
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Watty » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:45 pm

I'm not sure what you are talking about with "railings".

Handrails are required by building code for any new home and there are a lot of specifics about just how they need to be constructed. I was recently replacing some handrails and I looked up the specifications. I don't know if there might be some exceptions but I cannot remember the last time I saw stairs without handrails on at least one side.

delamer
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by delamer » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:51 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:33 pm
A stair railing? Or a stair lift?
My thought too. A stair without a railing is very unusual.

For a stair lift, look for wide stairs. The lifts are pretty bulky.

There are townhomes in my area that have elevators, as another option.

HomeStretch
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:10 pm

A first floor set-up is preferable for aging parents to a second floor bedroom even with a handrail or chairlift. My parents just installed two chair lifts which, while helpful, do not make the upstairs bedroom as easy for them (especially in case of fire) as a one-floor arrangement. Diminished mobility can happen quickly in aging parents so it’s good to plan ahead.

Perhaps you can find a house suitable for adding on a first floor bedroom, full bath and maybe a small sitting area and separate exterior door.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:13 pm

Chair lifts are very inexpensive for many sets of stairs. A couple of years ago about $4,000-$5,000. Our stairs are one landing, straight shot. Many chair lifts can be removed easily when the need is over. Not a lot of installation needed.

However, you might need to blow out a downstairs half-bath to a full bath, as usually a downstairs bathroom is pretty small, and typically doesn't include a shower.

I'm confined to downstairs in our home. We converted a very seldom used living room to a bedroom, expended a half-bath into a full bath, with a roll-in shower.

To get living space back, we enclosed screen porch, worked out great. We use the porch more than we ever used the living room. We call it our sunroom, so many windows. And the sunroom opens to the outside to our large deck. Great for entertaining.

We have another family room anyway, the one we converted was for show.

Good luck! We took care of my MIL for a few years in our home. Families do that. Good on you!

Broken Man 1999
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Mr. Rumples
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Mr. Rumples » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:23 pm

My POA has a stairlift. Truly frighting...you feel like you are going to fall off head first and go tumbling down the stairs even with the seatbelt on it. If you go that route try it out first. On the other hand, the kids enjoy riding on it.

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akhilsam
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by akhilsam » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:31 pm

Thanks all! Sorry for the incorrect word - Chair lift I was referring too :)

Thank you!

7eight9
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by 7eight9 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:45 pm

No personal opinions. My current neighbors have a stair lift. Condo with all rooms on the second floor (stairs - no elevator). That said, they bought a SFH that is single story and are in the process of moving. I think one level living is certainly more desireable. I don't know about builders in your area but where I live some advertise that they have MIL quarters. My MIL lives on the first floor of her house. The other bedrooms/bath sit vacant except when we visit. Best of luck in your decisions.
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delamer
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by delamer » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:08 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:10 pm
A first floor set-up is preferable for aging parents to a second floor bedroom even with a handrail or chairlift. My parents just installed two chair lifts which, while helpful, do not make the upstairs bedroom as easy for them (especially in case of fire) as a one-floor arrangement. Diminished mobility can happen quickly in aging parents so it’s good to plan ahead.

Perhaps you can find a house suitable for adding on a first floor bedroom, full bath and maybe a small sitting area and separate exterior door.
Yes, if you look for a home with enough ground to add on, you can create the space your parents’ need.

GmanJeff
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by GmanJeff » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:22 pm

Keep in mind that people with reduced mobility, of any age, can also find it difficult to negotiate the steps often found in garages and leading into home front doors, shower stalls often have a lip which one has to step over, and so on. A truly handicap-friendly environment also has doorways which allow for wheelchair passage, and may have extra grab bars in the shower, higher sinks and toilets, levers instead of doorknobs, and other features. It may be worth researching this topic further so as to allow you to better understand the nature and extent of potential modifications you may wish to consider to any home which does not already have those attributes.

There are several new elevator townhome communities in NoVa, e.g., https://vanmetrehomes.com/our-communiti ... /birchwood, and
https://www.craftmarkhomes.com/communit ... Alexandria

Trader Joe
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Trader Joe » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:46 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm
All,

My 74 year father and mother will be living with me and I am looking for a bigger home as well.
Bigger home are obviously expensive in Northern VA. I was looking one room and one full washroom on main level for my parents ease.
However it limits our home options in already low inventory market.

Is considering a railing a good idea ?any experience with stair railings?
Appreciate input!
No, I can tell you from experience that any stairs/steps are not optimal and will not work.

A ranch style house (no stairs or steps) is the best option for someone 74 years old and older.

Dottie57
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:58 pm

Trader Joe wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:46 pm
akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm
All,

My 74 year father and mother will be living with me and I am looking for a bigger home as well.
Bigger home are obviously expensive in Northern VA. I was looking one room and one full washroom on main level for my parents ease.
However it limits our home options in already low inventory market.

Is considering a railing a good idea ?any experience with stair railings?
Appreciate input!
No, I can tell you from experience that any stairs/steps are not optimal and will not work.

A ranch style house (no stairs or steps) is the best option for someone 74 years old and older.
+1. My mom has trouble navigating my brother’s split level. Mom has a ranch and it is best for her.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:09 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:31 pm
Thanks all! Sorry for the incorrect word - Chair lift I was referring too :)

Thank you!
Perhaps you could edit the main Subject Header to read "Chair lift" or such, rather than just "Railing", so those posting new will understand what you are asking.

We are now starting to deal with "stair issues".
I'm starting to feel that we should move to a place without stairs, so in the not too distant future, we'll be dealing with the task of major downsizing, and then moving.

RM
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Gnirk
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Gnirk » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:26 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm
All,

My 74 year father and mother will be living with me and I am looking for a bigger home as well.
Bigger home are obviously expensive in Northern VA. I was looking one room and one full washroom on main level for my parents ease.
However it limits our home options in already low inventory market.

Is considering a railing a good idea ?any experience with stair railings?
Appreciate input!
75 yo with 80 yo DH here. Definitely a main floor bed/bath for them. Why is it so important?

The older we get, the more difficult it is to climb stairs even when we are healthy. And if one were to injure a knee, hip, or have a stroke that impairs mobility the only way you can get up and down stairs is on your butt! (I speak from experience....and it wasn't a good one). And balance becomes another issue as we age. Main floor for them if they will be living with you.

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Watty
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by Watty » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:21 pm

akhilsam wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:26 pm
Appreciate input!
Even if you find a one story house with a great layout one thing to consider is that a typical suburban home can be very socially isolating for an older person especially if they have to give up driving.

My Mom outlived my Dad and she insisted on staying in the suburban home that I was raised in and that she had lived in for around 40 years. I can understand that, and it was her choice, but as she got into her upper 70s most of her friends had died, moved away, or had to give up driving. My siblings and I lived in different cities so that meant that she often went for long periods when the only person that she saw was her housekeeper. Being isolated like that also meant that she kept driving way longer than she should have because she did not really have any alternatives.

We tried to talk with her about moving to a senior community where she could have an apartment and be around other people but she was not open to even talking about that. Ideally she could have moved someplace where she could have moved into an apartment then had different levels of assisted living or nursing if she ever needed it.

There can be cultural reasons where they might be expected to live with you but if that is not a factor I would really suggest that they at least look at what sort of senior communities are available.

Another possible alternative would be to buy two condos in the same building if you are open to living in a condo.

MathWizard
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Re: Railing Vs Room on living area for Old Parents

Post by MathWizard » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:34 pm

If you look for a different place, consider handicap accessibilty

Beside stairs, our house is not really bulit for a wheelchair.

I have considered this even for us if one of us would get badly hurt.

We had a good friend come over, and needed to entertain in the 3 season porch to be wheelchair accessible.

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