When assistance between floors of the home is desired, there are a number of options available. Not all people that need assistance are in wheelchairs, many use walkers, canes, crutches or other mobility devices. Determining your expected use, timeline, space available and budget will help you to determine whether a wheelchair lift or residential elevator is the best fit for your situation.
Wheelchair Lift for the Home
If mobility around the house is becoming a problem, a home wheelchair lift or vertical platform lift (VPL) may be right for you. Wheelchair lifts are designed to provide transportation to surpass an architectural barrier, most commonly stairs. They can be used either inside or outside, and are commonly used to provide access to a porch or deck. Other popular residential VPL locations include placing the lift inside an attached garage to gain access to the house or inside the house to gain access to a basement or second story.
Adding a Residential Elevator
The residential elevator is an alternative to the wheelchair lift. Residential elevators can be added within the existing footprint of the home, or to the outer shell, by adding a bump out or tower to the house. Residential elevators must be fully enclosed, meaning there are walls completely encompassing the elevator, as well as a roof. Since the early 1990’s, architects have been designing homes with the intent of adding an elevator in the future. If your home was designed for a residential elevator, you will see in the house plans that a closet on the first floor has another closet on the second floor, directly above it, a design concept commonly referred to as stacked or stacking closets. With proper planning and choice of materials, an elevator can be added to your home and look as if it was part of the original design.
Whether a vertical platform lift or an elevator, it is easy to add an accessibility solution to your home. If you have questions, your local home elevator company will be able to assist you in creating the ideal solution to your accessibility needs.