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Thursday, October 2, 2014

How about an elevator?

Q. We’re trying to decide many things about our home — whether to lift, move or stay put. We’re in our 70s, retired but still active, and take stairs to go to sleep each night, for now. With hip surgery looming, I’ll be staying in a small guest room on the first floor, not expecting to climb all those stairs. But it got me wondering: Is it crazy to put in an elevator, especially considering lifting the house, since we also live in a flood area and the whole first floor had to be redone? What are the pros and cons?

A. Expense is probably the biggest con, since there are many good reasons to add a “lift.” However, you should do some math. Include how many years you hope to live in the house, the approximately $30,000 price tag, expenses to outfit the upper floor to accommodate accessibility, such as wider doorways, hallways, roll-in shower, roll-under sink vanity cabinet, grab bars, and other worse-case scenarios. Also, assuming your home is paid for, imagine the taxes, historically, and what they will be, considering they’ve risen yearly, and you’re probably not paying for your own children’s schooling. Consider using a top-mounted elevator motor drive system that sits well above the potential flood level, so it can go through less costly repairs if another flood occurs. After all this thought and jotting down the numbers, divide all that by the number of years you hope you’re granted, based on health history, average longevity of parents, aunts and uncles, etc. That is your cost to put in an elevator.

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