The fact that new private buildings are increasingly being built barrier-free is still a fairly new trend. Usually, this thought of one’s own future manifests itself in old age in floor-level shower entrances, widened access doors and stairs, or even the house design on one level instead of several floors. In existing properties, Art Nouveau apartments, listed houses, or rental apartments in apartment buildings, barrier-free living is not always possible without restrictions. If you live for rent, you may have to look for a suitably designed place to stay if you have physical limitations or even accept a move in old age. Happy those who can call a home their own that belongs to them. Whereby there can sometimes be massive restrictions in the case of owner associations and houses under monument protection.
Do You Have to Rebuild in Old Age, or Is It Enough to Retrofit?
Depending on how severely you are physically restricted and how the room layout of your home is designed, an age-appropriate renovation is unavoidable. Under certain circumstances, this can mean installing a house lift. At first, that sounds more expensive than it actually is. Also, because so-called home lifts do without the installation of a car shaft. These vertical elevators can overcome a height difference of up to 50 feet. However, the structural conditions must be right for such a retrofitting inside the house. An open staircase is a minimum requirement.
Retrofitting a stairlift is different. In the case of motor impairments and for people who are dependent on a wheelchair, so-called platform lifts should be emphasized here. These can also be installed in rented apartments but at your own expense. The most important structural requirement here is that the stairs are not less than a certain minimum width. A 90 cm wide staircase is usually sufficient for the smallest standard lift model. However, the stairwell must be at least 7 feet wide. If the ascent is curvy, the angle must be a radius of more than one 3 feet to install platform lifts.
Subsidies can be applied for retrofitting and converting your own home into an age-appropriate or barrier-free residential unit. In principle, the conversion of existing properties is always associated with more effort and higher costs than retrofitting. Accordingly, grants may only be granted for retrofitting but not for more extensive construction work. And stairlifts are a good alternative for precisely such cases.