The Value and Cost of a Home Elevator

The value and cost of a home elevator are two related yet distinct concepts. Cost reimburss to how much money you'll actually need to spend on it. Value returns to getting the most benefit you can for the money space.

Many elderly veterans find themselves stranded on the ground floor of their homes, cut off from upstairs bedrooms or downstairs garages. Unable to manage steps, wheelchair bound vets often feel isolated when they miss bedtime stories, bath time and a large part of family life that takes place on the upper floors. Restriction to a single-level could mean having to sell the family home or a premature move to a nursing facility. The introduction of residential elevators, added to an existing or as part of new building plans, removes these problems. Instead of going to a nursing home, the senior can instead retire in comfort to Florida or Mississippi – and remain safe yet independent.

Once a symbol of the rich and decadent, an elevator in the home is now more feasible for infirm or wounded veterans. Home elevators are grouped loosely into four categories based on the number of stops, the entry and exit directions, whether a self-propelled chair is used, the location of load-bearing walls and other factors. A trained professional will evaluate your home and recommend the style of elevator that best suits your needs, budget and structure.

Most residential elevator installations require less space than you might think. The size of a decent closet, they use a drywall enclosure with glass or metal doors. Some models automatically return to their up or down positions, opening floor space when the unit disappears into its parked position. Permanently installed elevators can increase resale value, but vacuum elevators do not require permanence. Freestanding units that operate even when the power is interrupted, vacuum elevators can be disassembled and moved with the family.

The cost of a home elevator varies according to model. Prices for most in-home elevators are comparable to a new mid-sized car, a media room or an updated kitchen with high-end appliances. Recycled units are available, but demand outstrips the supply so having a good, local contact for information and installation is vital. Contact your local veterans office for assistance in finding a residential elevator supplier.

Home elevators are not commonplace (yet!), So finding help for the expense may be necessary. As with most things, preparation is important. Follow these few procedures to get started:

1. Determine the correct model – have a home evaluation by a professional and be frank about budgetary restrictions. Consult your doctor or physical therapist for a qualification of your needs.

2. Ask what information you need – this will depend on where the fund comes from. Gather and organize the information required.

3. Prepare your statement of need – this will typically mean having written statements from your medical team and from the company supplying and installing the elevator.

4. Make sure all of the above is prepared on the forms required by the lender. Having the correct information but on the wrong forms could mean an unnecessary denial of funding.

A residential elevator might once have been a toy for the rich and decadent. Yet having one can mean the world to a disabled or infirm veteran. It provides independence, feeling part of the family, an end to isolation. The cost of home elevators is not insignificant; but it is far overshadowed by the value.