When considering our senior years, many of us wish to continue living independently in the home we love for as long as we can, without carer support or relocation to residential care. At Stiltz Home Lifts, we know that with the right advice and specialist adaptations, our customers can remain at home for longer with safety, independence and peace of mind. Ensuring our homes are truly age-friendly is a growing demand – so what is there to consider?
The costs of inaccessible living
If your home hasn’t been successfully adapted for senior living, then chronic illness, injury and progressive conditions may hamper the ability to remain living safely and independently. Falls at home within mature age groups, caused by deteriorating muscle tone, stability and vision, can, unfortunately, lead to repeated hospital visits and high care costs for social and healthcare services.
While you may prefer to remain in your familiar and much-loved home, many houses in the UK are just not age-friendly or accessible in design. Perceived risks for later years have led to a rise in care home placements as well as moves to expensive assisted living settings. However, the cost of residential care homes averages over £700* weekly and nursing care is even more expensive. Furthermore, an unwanted move from a family home can affect well-being and morale due to loss of independence and a sense of isolation.
By considering your home layout in advance and the provision of future-proof assistive equipment, you can successfully establish ageing-in-place on your own terms. This cost-effective route to living well at home can keep you safe and comfortable whilst avoiding slips, trips and falls.
Choice and the path to age-friendly home renovation
Advances in home adaptations can support and reassure if your health or mobility necessitates intervention. Adaptations from trusted providers can easily transform ageing housing stock and homes that were built for families and young adults, into age-friendly living spaces.
The mobility and rehabilitation marketplace now offers far greater specialist solutions to secure your independence in the home. New and innovative designs have replaced previously popular, but old-fashioned products. A contemporary Stiltz Home Lift, for instance, which includes smart tech, fire seals and safety sensors, boasts a contemporary design and compact footprint, whilst being powered by a standard domestic 13amp wall socket. Read more about Stiltz Home Lifts’ safety features
Support and home assessments
You may find it worthwhile to gain expert advice from professionals such as Occupational Therapists and specialist home adaptation companies who can evaluate your home and assess your requirements to ensure long-term independence. They support homeowners by recommending adaptations to make daily activities easier and safer, enabling inclusion in the home.
In the past a cumbersome stairlift may well have been added to the home. However, a loss of confidence when transferring on and off the stairlift chair due to failing vision, balance issues or declining mobility, can often result in the stairlift not being a suitable long-term solution. When this happens, a homeowner may revert to sleeping and washing downstairs as they are unable to safely access an upstairs bedroom or bathroom.
A recommendation with a more successful outcome is the installation of a through-floor home lift – a future proofed adaptation which removes the need for subsequent home alterations and costs. Following an assessment with a trusted assessor, a Stiltz Home Lift can be installed in your home quickly; usually in a matter of days, and provides safe, easy access between all levels in the home.
Take a look at the following useful examples:
Steve Waller, 64, has limited mobility and balance issues following a stroke. Combined with a visual impairment, these health conditions combine to create risk while using stairs. Following several falls and injuries, Steve thought a stairlift could offer a safe solution for moving between floors, however, space was a major issue on his narrow staircase. In addition, he felt nervous about transferring into a seat, especially at the top of the stairs. Steve’s search for a suitable solution led him to Stiltz Home Lifts. With the support of his Occupational Therapist, Steve applied for council funding for a home lift, via a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). His future-proof wheelchair accessible Stiltz Trio+ Home Lift means Steve can continue to live alone and not worry about carer support or the risk of injury.
Jane Seppings, 80, has arthritis in both knees as well as a pacemaker, so using the stairs was challenging. Moving from her farmhouse was not an option, as Jane deems it ‘the perfect house’ and had lived there most of her life. Jane wasn’t confident getting on and off a stairlift and decided she wanted a Stiltz Home Lift. She especially liked the fact it plugged into a standard domestic socket and needed no additional equipment to run. Now installed, the home lift allows Jane to move around her house with ease. It has been configured to travel up to a spare room which Jane uses as a utility room, and this allows her to continue with all her usual daily activities.
Components to consider for an Age-Friendly Home
- Step-free entrance into a property. (Or a small, level change with good scope to ramp or slope over the change)
- Corridors and doorways wide enough to allow for a wheelchair, walking frame or carer assistance
- Safe, unimpeded access to upstairs levels for wheelchair users and individuals with reduced mobility
- Non-slip floors and surfaces
- A well-lit environment. Eye-diseases and vision changes increase with age – including loss of peripheral vision – this can lead to stair edges and uneven surfaces becoming poorly defined
- Lever-style handles instead of doorknobs
- Bathroom grab rails, a shower seat or accessible bath, and a raised toilet at custom height offer additional safety and ease-of-use
- Multi-level kitchen worktops or bespoke height requirements
- Easy-access drawers and cabinets
- Clutter-free hallways and corridors on each home level, without mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers present, provide unobstructed access without risks of trips and falls
The costs of adaptions versus external care costs
By investing in specialist products and home adaptations, you can support your long-term mobility and health at a fraction of the cost of external care.
Domiciliary care is often suggested as a cost-effective alternative to residential care, yet the NHS advises that a live-in carer costs on average £650 a week and indeed this can be much higher. A domestic home lift costing £15,000 will have paid for itself in as little as six months compared to the average fees for a live-in carer or residential care home place.
Crucially, adapting your home with future-proof adaptations not only provides long-term support for existing health conditions but can also be a preventative measure to safeguard against future injuries.
A Stiltz Home Lift can reduce risk of falling by removing the need to utilise stairs and providing safe transit to upstairs levels. Hallways and stairs remain free of equipment, keeping them safe for use by other family members. A home lift can remove the necessity for further home conversions and associated build costs, as well as reducing external care costs.
Stiltz Home Lifts can be funded, in full or part, via grants such as the DFG (Disabled Facilities Grant). In England, disabled people and those with limited mobility are able to apply for a DFG grant of up to £30,000. In Wales, disabled people and those with limited mobility are able to apply for a DFG grant of up to £36,000. In Northern Ireland, disabled people and those with limited mobility are able to apply for a DFG grant of up to £25,000. In Scotland, the Scheme of Assistance can provide financial assistance through grants and loans.
Architect and later-life design specialist Emma Luddington of multi-award-winning Living Well at Home Ltd says:
“It is never too early for people to start future-proofing a home, whether privately financed or supported by grant funding. It is one of the best investments a homeowner can make and will pay dividends in convenience, independence and peace of mind. Not to mention the cost savings of being able to stay in a much-loved home, rather than move into a care home earlier than necessary.
There is no need for unsightly adaptations; the principle is future-proofing should seamlessly blend with home décor and style, at a budget to suit. And, with so many attractive products and solutions – like the Home Lift range by Stiltz – it’s now possible to make homes age-friendly and provide peace of mind for the future.
Unfortunately, many households do not make these changes in good time, leading to unexpected life-changing loss of independence, expensive care costs and even having to leave the much-loved family home for a residential care setting. With residential care costs increasing by 4.7% last year, and weekly fees well over £700 in all parts of the UK now, investing a few hundred or even a few thousand pounds in an age-friendly home has to be money well spent.”
Further information for consumers:
Trusted adaptation companies, such as Stiltz Home Lifts, provide home assessments for equipment and work alongside families and healthcare professionals to ensure individual requirements are met. Stiltz can provide professional quotations and technical specifications, as well as designs for builders and architects if you are planning a new-build or complete home redesign.
For further advice, contact Stiltz Homelifts on 0844 870 9087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An assistive home product needs to be safe, user-friendly and offer longevity as well as being cost effective. Specialist accessibility websites such as Living Well at Home provide expert information on age friendly housing and home adaptation.