All posts by Inclinator Team

About Inclinator Team

For generations, Inclinator has been helping families improve their quality of life. Eliminating the need to walk up and down stairs makes living in your home easier. It gives people in wheelchairs or those needing walkers the ease of accessing every floor of their home, giving them more years in the home they love, with the people they love.

Having Tough Conversations With Aging Parents

Tips for Having Tough Conversations With Aging Parents

Adult children of aging parents face a unique challenge — how will they make sure their parents receive the care they need as they transition into the latter stages of their lives? Will they need to move their parents into an assisted living facility, or can they find ways to help their parents age in place? And how can they make sure they’re honoring their parents’ desires in these decisions?

While you may know it’s time to start thinking about your parents’ plans for long-term care, it’s tough to have these conversations when you don’t know how or where to start. We know it’s a challenging time for you and your family, and we aim to help make this process easier for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to talk to aging parents without being dismissive of their feelings and wishes.

Understanding the Emotional Terrain

Conversations about aging and end-of-life plans are hard for everyone involved, and a critical part of preparing for these discussions is considering how your parents may react emotionally.

Being sensitive to their emotional state can help you keep the conversation going and prevent feelings of resentment or defensiveness.

Practicing Empathy and Patience in Caregiving Conversations

Practicing Empathy and Patience

The language you use and the attitude with which you approach the topic play a huge role in how well a discussion will go. Some empathetic communication tips for difficult conversations include:

  • Openness: Your parents should feel like they can freely express their thoughts and desires without being shut down. Using active listening techniques and choosing a comfortable setting can help you create that atmosphere of openness.
  • Acknowledgment: Even if you disagree with what your parents are saying, it’s still important to acknowledge their beliefs and opinions.
  • Reflection: Take acknowledgment one step further by taking time to respond to what your parents say. Pair your understanding of their situation with a reflection of what they may be feeling to make them feel heard and understood.
  • Respect: One of the easiest ways to shut down a conversation is to disrespect the other person’s wishes. Make it clear that you value your parents’ input throughout the discussion so they feel comfortable talking to you.

Finally, it’s important to remember that your parents may try to avoid having this conversation for a while. They may not have had enough time to accept their situation, and that’s okay.

When you’re broaching the conversation for the first time, try to go into it with a flexible mindset. As long as they aren’t facing an urgent medical or financial crisis, it may be best to give them some space and return to the conversation when they’re a little more comfortable talking about it.

Communication Techniques in Caregiving

Active listening is critical for tough conversations like these. Not only does using this skill show your parents you care, but it also helps you deepen your understanding of the situation.

Some helpful active listening tips include:

  • Use active body language: Good body language subconsciously demonstrates that you’re interested in what the other person is saying, which can encourage them to continue. Steady eye contact, leaning forward and nodding at appropriate times are all good cues to use.
  • Let them finish: Give your parents your undivided attention and resist the temptation to interrupt them when it arises.
  • Eliminate distractions: Be as present as possible when talking to your parents. Silence your phone, turn off the TV and choose a quiet space that’s free of anything that could disrupt your discussion.
  • Repeat their words: Restate what they’re saying in your own words to make sure you understand them. This simple action also shows them you’re listening and you care what they have to say.
  • Ask questions: At appropriate times, ask open-ended questions to better understand the situation.
  • Validate their feelings: Your parents may just want you to acknowledge that they’re having a difficult time dealing with the challenges of aging before they’re willing to negotiate. Be empathetic and consider how you’d feel in their situation.

Additionally, pay attention to body language and other non-verbal cues that might reveal how your parents are really feeling. Many people tend to hide their emotions when they feel scared or defensive, but small gestures such as fidgeting can tell a different story.

Make sure your parents know you care and you want the best for them. The more empathetic you can be, the better.

Preparing for Difficult Discussions With Aging Parents

Mentally preparing yourself to have conversations about aging gives you a solid foundation to lean back on if the discussion takes an uncomfortable turn. That said, try not to put off the conversation for too long — it’s best to address your concerns before a medical or financial emergency can happen.

Identifying the Right Moment to Talk

Mother and Daughter Having a Serious Conversation

It’s best to start talking to your parents about aging early on, but springing the conversation on them out of the blue is unlikely to produce the results you want. This is especially true if you don’t have enough evidence to justify your decision.

First, take some time to observe how well your parents are navigating their day-to-day lives. Try to find opportunities to gather information about your specific concerns — for example, if you’re worried about your dad’s driving, you can tag along with him on a few errand runs. If you don’t see your parents often, you can ask the people they regularly interact with to provide some insight.

You’ll also want to make sure you start the conversation in a supportive, private environment that encourages open discussion. Here are some helpful tips for having difficult conversations:

  • Stay at home: The best place to have a tough conversation is in your parents’ home, where they feel most at ease.
  • Avoid forceful language: Present your points without sounding accusatory or aggressive. Using gentle language and expressing your empathy will help soften your tone.
  • Ease into the conversation: Using an indirect conversation starter can relax you so you can broach the topic in a way that sounds more natural.
  • Have alternatives prepared: Before you suggest making any changes, you need to have some kind of solution in mind.
  • Ask their opinion: Ask your parents what they think about the solutions you suggest. They may already have ideas about what they want to do.

Once you have a place in mind and a strong case, consider how you want the conversation to go. It can help to jot down the most important points you want to address so you remember to bring them up when it’s time.

Addressing Mobility Concerns With Your Aging Parents

As people age, it becomes harder to complete many of the physical tasks we take for granted. Getting dressed, walking up and down the stairs, bringing in the groceries and cleaning the house can become painful as muscles atrophy and joints wear down. Many older people who experience serious falls will also develop a fear of falling and stop exercising to avoid another incident, which can cause further issues.

With the right support, though, your parents may be able to continue living on their own while enjoying a high quality of life.

Understanding Mobility Challenges

Some of the most common conditions behind mobility challenges in aging people include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic pain
  • Disease
  • Joint problems
  • Neurological conditions

When you know what’s causing your parents’ mobility challenges, you can determine whether they should continue living at home or in an assisted living facility. For example, a progressive neurological condition like Alzheimer’s can make navigating the house unsafe without another person around to guide them.

Solutions From Inclinator Company of America

Solutions From Inclinator

If your parents are considering aging in place — staying in the comfort of their home for as long as possible — you might want to look into a home accessibility solution. Installations like residential elevators or dumbwaiters make it safer and easier for people with mobility issues to get around the house.

At Inclinator, we work with our clients to create safe, reliable home elevation systems that meet their unique needs. All our products are designed to meet or exceed ASME A17.3 2016 — the international safety standard for residential elevators — so you and your loved ones can have peace of mind.

The Elevette® residential elevator is highly versatile, with various sizing options available to fit any home. Customization options like in-cab handrails, simple operating panels and LED lighting add to its safety and comfort, and various cab styles offer a match to the interior decor.

The Homewaiter® residential dumbwaiter helps you safely move heavy items, such as grocery bags, garbage and laundry, between floors. With a maximum height of 35 feet and a capacity of up to 120 pounds, we can build your Homewaiter to your exact specifications.

Plus, a home accessibility solution can even raise the home’s resale value. Even if you are considering moving, installing a residential lift now can make your home more attractive to other older buyers who want to age in place.

Why choose Inclinator? Simple — we’re dedicated to providing the best products and services possible. Our caring team will guide you through every step of the design and installation process to ensure your solution fits your loved one’s home perfectly.

Effective Strategies for Talking About Aging in Place

Remember that you’re likely to encounter emotional or generational barriers that make it more difficult to even have a conversation. These strategies can help you move past these obstacles and get to the meat of the discussion without needing to be forceful.

Overcoming Communication Barriers

As we’ve mentioned, your parents may be reluctant to talk about making end-of-life plans. It’s possible you might be starting this conversation before they feel ready to have it. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is take a step back and try again after they’ve had some time to really think about their situation.

However, it’s also possible that they could be in denial about their inability to care for themselves. They may be afraid or embarrassed to admit they need help with everyday tasks, or they might be depressed about facing the end of their lives. While these emotions can make opening a conversation more difficult, they can also be powerful indicators of how your parents are doing.

One of the best things you can do to overcome these barriers is to come prepared with evidence and ideas. The observations you made will help you back up your case and convince them that a change is necessary. Plus, offering potential solutions can help them feel more empowered to face the future by reminding them that there are steps they can take.

Additionally, try to keep the conversation focused on the present. Fixating on the past or pushing too far into the future can make your loved ones defensive or anxious, which can lead to a dead end.

Working Together to Find a Solution

For many people, the thought of losing their independence is one of the scariest parts of aging. Unless you’re responding to an emergency, you should avoid trying to force your parents into feeling like they have to immediately make drastic changes to their lives.

It can help to start with important questions about their physical and financial situation, including:

  • What health insurance coverage do you have, and is it enough?
  • What are your top health concerns for the future?
  • Do you have any plans for long-term care, if it becomes necessary?
  • Where would you prefer to live if you can no longer safely stay at home?
  • What is your financial situation like?
  • Who would you like to take care of your finances if you can’t do it yourself?
  • Where do you keep important documents?

Their answers will give you a solid jumping-off point for determining the best plan of action moving forward.

Open Communication and Support Are Essential

When you think you’re ready to have this tough conversation, start planning your strategy as soon as possible. Being proactive will help reduce the risk of needing to plan in the middle of a crisis, which is better for everyone in your family.

It’ll also help you feel more at ease when it’s finally time to sit down and talk. And the more relaxed and prepared you are, the easier the conversation will go. As long as you make it clear you want to honor your parents’ wishes and support them through the rest of their lives, you can find a solution that works for all of you.

Explore Home Accessibility

Explore Home Accessibility Solutions From Inclinator

At Inclinator Company of America, we understand how tough it is for aging parents to think about losing their independence. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to building custom home accessibility solutions that are as beautiful as they are reliable.

We also provide ongoing support and maintenance, so whatever products you choose, you can count on us to help you support your parents as they age in place.

Learn more about how our products can keep your parents safe and comfortable for years to come. Fill out our brief online form to find your nearest dealer today.

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Guide to Grocery Delivery Apps

A Guide to Grocery Delivery Apps for Seniors

Grocery store trips can be physically demanding. They involve substantial walking, bending down and lifting. Seniors and people with mobility challenges may be unable to perform these tasks independently.

This is where grocery delivery services are not only convenient but, in many cases, necessary.

Features to Look for in Mobile Grocery Services for Seniors

“Aging in place” is the ability to live in your home safely, independently and comfortably as you get older. For many seniors who wish to age in place, an easy-to-use, feature-packed grocery delivery service is essential.

Here are some key elements to look for in an online food and grocery delivery platform:

  • Ease of use: Adding items to your cart and completing online transactions should be as effortless as a few clicks. The delivery platform’s website or mobile app should be straightforward to use and navigate.
  • Quick delivery: You should be able to receive your orders as soon as possible, ideally within a couple of hours. Real-time delivery tracking can help you gauge when your order will arrive.
  • Affordability: Many grocery and food delivery apps offer subscription plans. These memberships provide features like order and delivery discounts.
  • Broad selection: The best delivery services allow access to a wide range of stores and products. They also offer alternatives for out-of-stock items.

7 Accessible Food Delivery Apps for Seniors

7 Accessible Food Delivery Apps

Grocery services should combine the above features to ensure a user-friendly experience for older adults. Below are some of the top food delivery apps for aging in place.

1. Instacart

Instacart lets you order items from various local grocery stores and retailers, including:

  • Kroger
  • Target
  • Costco
  • Whole Foods
  • Walgreens
  • ALDI
  • Albertsons

Customers can set up an account for free or sign up for a paid Instacart+ membership. Instacart+ provides free unlimited grocery delivery for orders of $35 or more. Shoppers can unlock service fee discounts and other exclusive benefits through this membership program.

Instacart’s ease of use makes it simple to find and order the items you need. Best of all, you can receive your order within one to two hours. Instacart also offers a senior support service for shoppers over age 60. Its representatives assist with creating accounts and placing orders for those who need it.

2. Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh operates as both a brick-and-mortar store and a virtual grocery marketplace. Shoppers don’t need to be Amazon Prime members to order groceries online through this service. However, you can access various perks — such as same-day delivery in select locations — if you are an Amazon Prime member.

You can use Amazon Fresh to order produce, meat and other items. Shop online by using the Amazon app or web browser and linking your credit card.

After completing this quick and hassle-free setup, you can start adding items to your cart. Amazon Prime members can receive free two-hour delivery on orders above $35. Amazon Fresh offers grocery delivery services in several major United States cities and excellent value for seniors.

3. Uber Eats

Uber Eats provides quick, flexible food delivery for seniors and customers of all ages. You can request delivery for groceries and restaurant takeout from local stores and eateries.

The app displays an estimated delivery time for your order. You can track your delivery driver in real time as they approach your residence. This service is ideal for older adults who already use Uber for transportation and have some familiarity with the platform.

4. Postmates

Grocery delivery has never been simpler thanks to Postmates. Whether you need a few snacks and beverages to stock your pantry or a fresh, hot meal, you can have all the necessities delivered to your doorstep. Additionally, you can receive it all in an hour or less.

You can order items with no delivery fee through Postmates’ unlimited subscription program. This plan is only $9.99 a month. It’s an economical avenue for seniors who are on a fixed income or require frequent deliveries. You can also track your driver’s progress on the mobile app through your Android or iOS device.

Postmates partners with thousands of stores and restaurants to bring customers everything they need in a timely manner. You can order from restaurants even if Postmates doesn’t directly partner with them.

5. Dumpling

Dumpling matches you with a “personal shopper” in your area for grocery delivery to your door. Just enter your zip code and the app will connect you with an expert who frequents your favorite shops.

You can chat directly with your personal shopper, informing them of any dietary needs and substitution requests. Additionally, your shopper can make trips to different stores.

Dumpling provides a customized in-app experience for anyone seeking grocery delivery services. With personalized options and requests, seniors can feel more involved and included in the shopping process.

6. DoorDash

DoorDash partners with over 300,000 restaurants in cities all over the country. Its website and mobile app enable simple online ordering, bringing fresh, hot meals from your beloved restaurants straight to your door. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger or a crisp salad, aging in place becomes more enjoyable with your favorite foods.

DoorDash has all the fundamental features, including:

  • Restaurant recommendations based on your order history.
  • Rating and review systems.
  • Scheduling requests for specific delivery times.
  • Real-time driver tracking to see when your order will arrive.
  • A monthly subscription plan for no delivery fees.

DoorDash is excellent for seniors who want to try new restaurants in their local area. The more you use the app, the more accurate your recommendations become. Besides restaurants, DoorDash partners with convenience stores, pharmacies and other businesses so you can expand your delivery horizons.

7. FreshDirect

FreshDirect delivers fresh produce, meats, baked goods and beverages. You can also find meal kits for easy-to-prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners. A key feature that sets FreshDirect apart from other delivery services is that it has its own inventory instead of using local grocery retailers.

FreshDirect primarily serves the East Coast, including metropolitan New York, Southern Connecticut and Central New Jersey. Delivery fees vary by location. You can also sign up for a DeliveryPass membership for delivery discounts.

This online grocery marketplace has a 100% freshness guarantee. FreshDirect promises its customers the freshest, highest-quality products at affordable prices.

Experience a More Accessible Lifestyle

Experience a More Accessible Lifestyle With Inclinator

Just like food and grocery delivery apps, home elevators make everyday living more attainable for seniors. At Inclinator, we manufacture safety-code-compliant residential elevators to make your space more navigable.

Our products can be integrated into an existing layout or new construction plans. You can customize your elevator to fit your unique specifications, from door styles to cab configurations and lighting.

Inclinator makes aging in place safer and easier than ever. Find a dealer near you today to set up an in-home consultation.

Stay Active and Social During Retirement

Engaging Ways to Stay Active and Social During Retirement

Life changes after retirement, but your well-being is just as important as ever. Part of our mission at Inclinator is helping older adults enjoy their golden years by making it easier to age in place. We created this list of tips to help you make the most of your retirement.

Benefits of Physical Activity for Seniors

Taking care of yourself is just as important after retirement as it is when you’re young — if not more so. Sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, can seriously impact your mobility and independence. Research suggests that people begin losing muscle in their 30s, and the rate of atrophy accelerates around age 60.

Regular exercise and proper nutrition can help you minimize the effects of sarcopenia and other age-related conditions, which can:

  • Extend your life
  • Increase your immunity against illness
  • Accelerate recovery from injury and disease
  • Help you stay independent
  • Reduce your medical expenses

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Depression and anxiety disproportionately impact retired people due to social isolation, loss and health complications. Keeping yourself active physically and socially can help you stay sharp and emotionally healthy well into retirement. Plus, studies have found that people who stay active in retirement may even decrease their risk of developing dementia.

Social Benefits

Getting out and about in your community allows you to build a strong support system, which is essential for navigating the challenges of aging. The National Council on Aging found that social isolation can lead to health challenges in older adults.

Being part of a community that prioritizes wellness also makes it easier to adopt and maintain healthy habits. Going on a walk with friends or engaging in group fitness classes fosters connections while providing health benefits.

How to Stay Active in Retirement

Just like in your younger years, regular physical activity is essential for maintaining your physical fitness and mental health.

Fitness and Exercise Options for Seniors

The best way to stay fit as an older adult is to find exercises you like and do them regularly. Whether you’re lifting weights or hiking nature trails, daily exercise is essential for reducing your risk of sarcopenia and staying mobile.

Walking is one of the most accessible exercise options for older adults because it’s easy on the joints — and it’s totally free. Many communities have walking groups that meet up weekly or biweekly to hike local tracks or trails together.

If you love the social aspect of group exercise, try checking out what options are available at your local gym or community center. Some great options include:

  • Barre: Pioneered by a retired ballerina, barre is a low-impact, high-intensity workout that combines cardio with targeted strength training and stretching to improve coordination, balance and flexibility.
  • Pilates: If you want a low-intensity way to improve mobility, flexibility and posture, Pilates classes will make a great addition to your fitness routine.
  • Cycling: Indoor cycling classes can help you improve cardiovascular endurance without putting too much stress on your joints.
  • Water aerobics: The natural resistance of water makes water aerobics a great, low-impact way to build strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.

Hobbies and Learning Opportunities

Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. Keep your mind and body active by exploring anything that catches your interest, such as:

  • Learning a new language
  • Trying a new form of art
  • Taking cooking or baking classes
  • Auditing courses at your community college
  • Joining a board game group
  • Traveling to places you’ve always dreamed about
  • Getting onstage at an open mic night
  • Starting or joining a book club
  • Getting outdoors with a birding group

Volunteering and Part-Time Work

Volunteering

Volunteering can help you find a sense of purpose after you stop working and deepen your community bonds. Some places that always need volunteers include:

  • Places of worship
  • Local animal shelters
  • Public libraries
  • Soup kitchens and food pantries
  • Public parks
  • Schools

If you need help finding volunteer opportunities near you, sites like VolunteerMatch and JustServe are great resources.

Many people also take on part-time work to stay busy. If you want to stay within your industry, starting your own consulting business may be a good option for you. You can help younger people on your schedule while making some extra money to pad your retirement savings.

How to Stay Social in Retirement

It’s easy for older adults to become isolated once they step away from the working world, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health. Staying connected to your family and community is essential for a fulfilling retirement.

Embracing Technology for Communication

Even though the majority of Americans live within an hour of their families, it can be tough to stay in touch during life’s busy periods.

New modes of digital communication can help you keep up with your loved ones through it all:

  • Social media: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram help you stay in touch with friends and family members. Many social media sites have built-in instant messaging features, so you can reach out anytime.
  • Video chat: Talk to faraway loved ones face-to-face using video chat apps like Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Meet or Skype.

While messaging and video chat can help you keep up with loved ones who may be far away, it’s also important to prioritize the here and now. Staying connected to your local community is critical for building a strong support network.

How to Stay Healthy in Retirement

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is totally within reach for most retired adults. Here are some tips to help you stay hale and hearty for years to come.

Nutritional Considerations for Aging Well

Eating well is crucial for maintaining a healthy body as you age. Try to follow these nutritional guidelines:

  • Prioritize whole foods: Aim to eat a balanced diet of mostly whole foods, like fruits, veggies, dairy, meat and fish.
  • Read food labels: When you do buy processed foods, try to find options that are low in fat, sodium and added sugar. The ingredients list should be short and easy to read.
  • Talk to your doctor: If you struggle with age-related health challenges, there may be dietary changes you can make to reduce the effects of your condition. Speak with your doctor for recommendations and before you make any major diet changes.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink water throughout the day and minimize your consumption of sugary or salty drinks.

Mental Health and Wellness

Taking care of your mental well-being is important for a happy, healthy retirement. If you ever need to talk to someone about what you’re going through, consider seeing a mental health professional. Group therapy is a great option for older adults because it provides a safe space to talk while connecting with others in your situation.

Home Safety and Accessibility

Although remaining at home after retirement is a popular choice, most houses become increasingly difficult to live in as your body ages.

If you plan to age in place, installing these home accessibility modifications can help:

  • Transition strips: These strips bridge the gaps between different flooring materials to eliminate trip hazards and create a smooth surface for mobility devices.
  • Home elevators: A residential elevator allows people with limited mobility to travel safely between floors without having to navigate the stairs.
  • Dumbwaiters: Carrying groceries and other household items up and down the stairs gets harder as you age. A residential dumbwaiter can handle this task for you to make navigating your home easier.

Prepare For a Healthy Retirement

Prepare for a Healthy Retirement With Help From Inclinator

Want to safely age in place? Inclinator’s residential elevators and dumbwaiters can help you prepare for a long, happy retirement.

Contact your nearest dealer today to set up an in-home consultation. Our knowledgeable reps will help you design a solution that perfectly fits your home.

5 Tips For Managing Your Money After You Retire

5 Tips for Managing Your Money After You Retire

Financial planning for retirees is just as important as it is for working people. These five tips can help you make the most of your golden years, whether you plan to travel the world or rest at home with your loved ones.

1. Understanding Retirement Income Planning

For many retirees, Social Security benefits are the primary source of income after they stop working. You can begin collecting these benefits as soon as you turn 62, though waiting to collect increases the amount you can get.

That said, your benefits max out at age 70, after which there’s little point in waiting to collect. It’s important to consider how much you need the money now, and whether your spouse will depend on your benefits.

You should also consider any other sources of income you have, such as:

  • Pension: In a traditional pension, your employer gives you a guaranteed income each month for the rest of your life after retirement. Many employers are phasing out this arrangement in favor of defined contribution retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs.
  • Retirement accounts: Defined contribution (DC) savings accounts, like an individual retirement arrangement (IRA), allow you to contribute a percentage of your income to a tax-advantaged savings account.
  • Investments: Most retirees adjust their investment portfolios to focus more on maintaining their existing wealth and gaining income from it.
  • Work: Many people continue working into retirement. That said, it’s important to remember working between age 62 to 70 will impact your Social Security and Medicare benefits.

A diversified investment portfolio combined with a strong savings plan can help you maximize your Social Security benefits regardless of whether you continue to work.

2. Financial Strategies for a Secure Retirement

Most accounts are included in an employer’s benefits plan. However, there are options for workers who are self-employed. Some of the most common retirement plans include:

  • 401(k): The most common direct contribution account, an employer-sponsored 401(k) works by taking your contributions and putting them into investment funds like stocks and bonds. If you are an independent contractor or entrepreneur, a solo 401(k) may be a suitable alternative.
  • 403(b): Teachers, nurses, and other eligible employees of tax-exempt organizations can set up a 403(b) savings account, which is similar to a 401(k). However, investment options are typically more limited with a 403(b).
  • 457(b): Certain government employees are eligible for a 457(b) retirement plan, which offers flexible withdrawal rules and additional contribution options.
  • IRA: You might make contributions on your own through your financial institution, or your employer might make contributions through payroll deductions.

In a traditional retirement savings account, your contributions are tax-deductible — but when you begin withdrawing funds, you’ll have to pay the taxes previously withheld. Waiting to withdraw and creating a withdrawal is usually the best plan of action here.

Many employers also allow you to set up a Roth configuration of any of these accounts. A Roth savings account allows you to pay your contributions after tax, which means your future withdrawals are tax-free.

3. Navigating the World of Annuities

An annuity is essentially a type of income insurance that provides a guaranteed income until the end of the policy. You have a lot of different options to consider when buying an annuity, and the choices you make will impact your overall portfolio.

Types of Annuities and Choosing the Right One

Annuities come in two different forms:

  • Fixed: You receive a fixed amount of money on a regular schedule.
  • Variable: Your payment amounts vary depending on how well the investments you make into the fund do.

Woman Drinking Tea While On Her Tablet

Although variable annuities are less stable, they offer greater control over your future gains. They also allow you to add extra features and rides, which can create a hybrid between the two.

There are also two types of annuity payment schedules you can choose from:

  • Immediate: The policy begins paying out immediately after you make a lump-sum payment. This arrangement is advantageous if you need a steady income right away.
  • Deferred: Your policy will kick in at a future date — typically whatever age you specify in your agreement. The advantage here is that deferring payments allows the money in the account to grow, which means bigger payouts in the future.

Integrating an annuity into a comprehensive retirement plan may seem intimidating, but it’s a much simpler process than it looks.

4. Budgeting for a Post-Retirement Lifestyle

Spending money in retirement doesn’t have to be stressful. Setting a budget for retirement can help you enjoy your time without spending too much of your savings.

Creating a Realistic Retirement Budget Without Sacrificing Quality of Life

To create your budget, list all your current monthly expenses, including:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utilities
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Prescription medications
  • Gym memberships
  • Car payments
  • Groceries
  • Personal maintenance
  • Leisure activities
  • Pet supplies

For any payments you make less frequently, such as once or twice a year, divide the total annual cost by 12 to find the average monthly expense. Then, review your typical spending habits and adjust as necessary to reflect what you’ll need after retirement.

Once you have your current budget drawn up, you can find ways to save while adding value to your quality of life. Making smart investments into your home, like installing a home elevator or dumbwaiter, is a great way to ensure your quality of life stays high well into retirement — especially if you plan to age in place.

In addition to making your home easier to navigate as your body ages, an elevator can raise your home’s value. If you would need to move into an assisted living facility, for example, you could make a little extra when you go to sell your home.

5. Planning for Medical Expenses and Long-Term Care

It’s important to remember that Medicare coverage isn’t universal. The services you’ll have to pay for out of pocket depend on where you live, your age, your income and any supplemental policies you have.

In fact, the average retiree spends most of their Social Security benefits on medical expenses simply because they don’t have another source of funds. Planning early can help you get the most out of your benefits without interfering with your ability to pay for care.

Anticipating and Planning for Healthcare Expenses

A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account you can contribute to until you turn 65. HSA withdrawals for eligible medical expenses are tax-free.

Long-term care, such as at-home care or moving to an assisted living facility, is another major out-of-pocket cost to consider. A long-term care insurance policy can help you get the care you need without dipping into your Social Security benefits or retirement savings accounts.

Setting up a liquid emergency fund is especially useful for sudden medical expenses, such as repairing or replacing broken eyeglasses. These funds should be easily accessible so you can avoid having to dip into your retirement savings.

Invest in Your Retirement With Inclinator

Invest in Your Retirement With Inclinator

Want to learn more about how installing a home elevator or dumbwaiter can add value to your retirement? Contact us today to set up an onsite consultation with one of our expert sales reps. In addition to helping you design the best system for your home, we’ll provide expert guidance on planning for an autonomous, comfortable retirement lifestyle.

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Essential Walking Cane Attachments

Essential Walking Cane Attachments

If you regularly use a mobility device like a cane, walking stick, crutch or walker, you might run into some common inconveniences. Some examples include:

  • Not having a place to set down your cane.
  • Being unable to walk across a slippery surface.
  • Frequently dropping or misplacing your cane.

Fortunately, there are many attachments designed to mitigate these issues. Multiple accessories can reinforce your cane’s traction, support and stability, such as:

  • Cane tips and bases
  • Walking stick bags
  • Ice spikes
  • Cane holders
  • Cane wrist straps and grips

In this post, we will cover some of the most practical attachments for canes and other mobility devices.

6 Must-Have Walking Cane Accessories

Here are some recommended attachments for canes, walkers, walking sticks, crutches and other mobility assistants:

1. Tips

Also called “ferrules,” rubber tips are one of the best solutions for cane durability and stability. A rubber tip attaches to the end of a cane or walking stick. It protects the metal or wood shaft from coming into contact with the ground, preventing scuffs and damage to both the cane and floor. A rubber tip firmly grips the walking surface to give your cane better traction, stability and balance.

You can opt for multiple tips if your cane has more than one foot at the base, such as quad-point canes. You can use rubber cane tips in both indoor and outdoor spaces. These tips also come in various colors and sizes, making it simple to find the perfect fit and look for your cane. Rubber tips are a functional, easy-to-use capping solution for canes, walkers and walking sticks.

2. Bases

If you desire better balance and stability, consider upgrading from a smaller tip to a larger cane base. These products provide a wider base for your quad-point cane, lending another layer of traction and security.

You can have more peace of mind when traveling across slick, sloped or unstable surfaces without fear of your quad cane losing its traction. Like cane tips, you can find these bases in many colors and sizes, making them customizable to your needs. Bases are ideal for anyone seeking a more convenient, supportive solution for their quad cane.

3. Wrist Straps

Wrist Straps

A wrist strap is a simple yet invaluable addition to your cane or walking stick. It has a small elastic loop that wraps around the top of the cane shaft near the handle. It also contains a larger loop to place your hand through.

It’s easy to attach and the loop stays around your wrist, freeing up your hands to perform everyday activities like picking up a cup of coffee or a book. You can seamlessly reach for items or hold on to furniture arms when sitting down.

Even the most durable canes are susceptible to falls, making wrist straps a handy tool. If your cane loses its grip, the wrist strap will catch it and stop it from falling to the ground, preventing damage to your cane.

If you constantly misplace your cane, keeping it on your wrist with a strap can prevent you from losing it. Cane straps come in a range of designs and colors, so you can easily find one that is both stylish and comfortable.

4. Cane Holders

A cane holder is a small device that attaches to the shaft of your cane. It flips up to rest against a flat surface like a table, desk or counter. The holder secures your cane in place until you’re ready to pick it up again.

If you often drop your cane, lose track of it or never know where to set it down when it’s not in use, a cane holder can be a lifesaver. You can use it anywhere, whether at home, a restaurant or a store. It is also quick to attach and remove your cane from the holder.

5. Bags

A bag offers a convenient way to store canes, walking sticks and hiking sticks when you aren’t using them, whether it’s in a car, airplane, restaurant, movie theater or home closet. If not properly secured, lightweight folding canes can automatically unfold and open. A bag helps protect your cane while keeping it out of the way.

Like the other accessories on this list, cane and walking stick bags come in a myriad of sizes, patterns and colors. Depending on the type you choose, your bag may open and close with Velcro, a press-stud fastener or a drawstring.

6. Ice Spikes

These attachments are perfect when you find yourself outdoors on snowy or icy winter days. An ice spike attaches to the bottom of your cane. It contains small, sharp metal prongs that dig into the ground, providing a strong grip, traction and fall prevention.

When you go back indoors, you can flip up the ice spike so it doesn’t catch in your carpet or scratch up your floors. If you want more safety and stability when walking on ice or snow, ice spikes are an excellent solution.

Choosing Attachments for Different Types of Canes

The type of cane you use can guide your decision when selecting attachments and accessories. There are several types of canes, including single-point, quad, folding and walking sticks. There are different cane handle designs and shapes, such as rounded, derby, offset and ergonomic. Canes also come in various materials, including wood, aluminum and steel.

It’s important to choose accessories based on your unique cane style and size. For example, numerous attachments can cater to single-point canes, including grips, wrist straps and bags. However, it wouldn’t make sense to buy a quad cane base or a clip holder for a folding walking stick if you have a standard single-point cane.

When shopping around for different cane and walking stick attachments, always read the product specifications carefully to confirm it will fit your specific device.

Learn About Our Home Elevators

Learn More About Our Home Elevators

Like canes, walkers and other mobility assistants, residential elevators make navigating your home safer and more efficient. At Inclinator, we specialize in safety code-compliant home elevators. Our products accommodate both existing home layouts and new construction plans.

With our broad range of design options, you can tailor each component of your elevator to your liking, including:

Inclinator elevators offer a safe, reliable solution to move around your home and comfortably age in place. If you’re interested in learning more, we invite you to explore our customization options for residential elevators. Then, you can find a dealer near you to schedule your in-home consultation.

Creative Ideas For Throwing a Golden Anniversary Party

Creative Ideas for Throwing a Golden Anniversary Party

A 50th wedding anniversary is a landmark milestone for any married couple. It’s called the “golden anniversary” for a reason. It marks half a century since the pair tied the knot, celebrating all the joys, laughs, hardships and memories they shared.

We can’t think of a better way to honor this occasion than with a party filled with the couple’s favorite foods, activities and loved ones. We developed this comprehensive guide to golden anniversary party planning, where you will find inspiration for:

  • Venues
  • Invitations
  • Decor
  • Food and beverages
  • Activities
  • Gifts

Tips for Planning a Golden Anniversary Party

With careful and thoughtful planning, you can throw an unforgettable 50th anniversary bash for your guests of honor, whether it be your parents or another special couple in your life. Below are several ideas for a golden anniversary party:

1. Venue Selection

The first step is deciding where to host the event. Will it be a simple, intimate celebration at home? Will you rent a banquet hall to accommodate a large number of guests? Will it be the same venue where the couple had their wedding reception? If it’s not a surprise party, include the couple in the planning process and see if they have any preferences regarding location.

Because older guests will likely be in attendance, ensure the venue is easily accessible for wheelchairs, canes and other mobility devices. The venue should be spacious with plenty of comfortable seating.

2. Invitation Ideas

Since it’s a 50th anniversary party, design invitations that reflect a golden theme. Integrate details like gold lettering, flowers or gemstones. You can also include one or more photos of the couple in the invitation.

Determine whether you’ll send paper invitations, digital invites or both. Paper invitations are usually more traditional and elegant, which may be appropriate for a more formal affair. However, electronic invitations are a more convenient and cost-effective route, especially for extensive guest lists. They also make it easier to track RSVPs.

3. Decorations for a 50th Anniversary Party

What better way to commemorate a golden anniversary than with gold decorations? Deck out the venue with gold-colored streamers, banners, confetti and balloons. Don’t forget the gold cutlery, napkins, paper plates and tablecloths. Add an accent color, such as black or cream, to make the gold pop.

You can also create personalized decorations that highlight the couple’s journey. For example, you might set up a photo board or wall, displaying a collage of the couple’s pictures with “Happy 50th Anniversary” in gold script. Include photos with the couple’s friends and family members so their loved ones can also delight in these memories.

Additionally, you can showcase photos in gold frames. Another idea is setting up a signing board or scrapbook, allowing guests to sign their names and write their well wishes for the couple. You can put together a slideshow of various photographs throughout the couple’s lives, letting it run in the background throughout the party.

However you decide to integrate these fond memories into the design elements, make sure the display fully encapsulates the couple’s unique story and love for one another.

4. Catering Choices

Catering Choices

Food is one of the most critical factors when planning any event. Depending on your chosen venue, you may be responsible for providing the cuisine or there might be a kitchen staff to handle this task.

If you’re in charge of menu planning, try selecting dishes nostalgic to the couple. For instance, you could recreate the meal from their first date or wedding day. Include the couple’s favorite snacks, appetizers and desserts, as well.

While your food choices should revolve around the couple’s tastes, keep the guests in mind when planning the menu. Some attendees may have allergies and other dietary concerns. Use cards or labels to distinguish buffet items with nuts, eggs or seafood.

If you plan to serve alcohol, you might include a wine and beer selection to cater to multiple tastes. You could even mix up a themed or personalized cocktail or a non-alcoholic mocktail for the couple. You’ll likely toast the couple at some point during the celebration so you might add champagne or sparkling apple juice to the beverage medley.

And, of course, no party is complete without a cake. Consider ordering a custom cake with a special message, preferably in the couple’s favorite flavor. If you want to go the extra mile, you could even request that the baker incorporate a photo of the couple into the frosting design. For larger parties, you might opt for a smaller cake for the couple and cookies or cupcakes for the guests.

5. Activities for a Golden Anniversary Party

Think about the different activities and entertainment the party will include. Here are some key considerations:

  • Music: Music sets the tone and mood for any event, making it another party-planning necessity. Will there be a DJ or live band? What songs will be played? Make a playlist with the couple’s favorite tunes or popular songs when they were wed. Play the music from the couple’s first dance for a recreation of this special moment.
  • Dancing: As long as there’s music, there are bound to be some dancers in the crowd. Include a dancefloor or ensure there is a spacious area designated for dancing.
  • Toasts and speeches: If they are comfortable doing so, invite guests to give personalized speeches, sharing heartwarming stories and memories of the couple.
  • Games and activities: Include activities for guests of all ages, such as a photo booth or themed games. For example, everyone could participate in a “couple facts” game, where each partner writes down facts about themselves, and guests guess which person the fact applies to. You could even host a vow renewal, which can be as casual or formal as the couple desires.

6. Gift Suggestions

Finally, think about meaningful gifts for the couple. Naturally, gold is the go-to gift for a golden wedding anniversary. This concept traces back to medieval Germany. When a couple reached their 25th anniversary, the husband would gift his wife a silver wreath. After reaching 50 years of marriage, the wife would receive a gold wreath.

To that end, you might gift the couple gold jewelry or accessories like earrings, necklaces or cufflinks. Of course, gold gifts aren’t a hard-and-fast rule. You can give gifts based on the couple’s interests and hobbies, such as cookware, art supplies or a gift basket filled with their favorite treats. Chances are, the couple will appreciate whatever you give them.

Buy a Residential Elevator From Inclinator

Create a More Accessible Space With Inclinator Home Elevators

With the above tips, 50th anniversary party planning doesn’t have to be a hassle. For couples aging in place, an elevator from Inclinator can make staying in their home more accessible. A residential elevator also makes the perfect golden anniversary gift for any couple looking to increase mobility in their home. We also provide home dumbwaiters for easier transportation of groceries and other items.

Browse our selection of safe, reliable home elevators and dumbwaiters today. If you’d like to proceed with the installation process, you can locate an Inclinator dealer near you.

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7 Signs You Need a Residential Elevator

Adapting your home to your needs at every stage of life is essential. It’s important to make your home accessible to plan for now and the future. Improving your home accessibility with a residential elevator can provide various benefits in addition to convenience. You can increase your property value, feel more secure, maintain your independence and age comfortably in your home.

You may want to determine whether a home elevator installation is the right choice for your home. It’s normal to take your time with this decision. This article will help you assess why an elevator may be the perfect addition to your home.

Should You Get a Home Elevator?

There are many factors to weigh when thinking about installing a home elevator. Assessing your immediate and future requirements — including your age and property value — can help you identify whether you should move forward with a residential elevator.

Signs That Your Home May Need a Residential Elevator

It’s important to make an informed decision about installing an elevator in your home. Here are seven signs that you may need a home elevator:

  1. You want peace of mind as you age: It’s a good idea to consider preparing your home for older age. Mobility concerns like instability while walking and falls are common as we age. You can also sustain unintentional injuries like bone fractures from falls. Fortunately, you can prevent falls and injuries by making your home more accessible. Installing a home elevator can help you efficiently access your home, limiting the risk of falls while walking up or down a flight of stairs.
  2. You want to make your home accessibilityfriendly: Stairs can be challenging for those who struggle with mobility or use a walking stick or a wheelchair. An elevator can be wheelchair-friendly and accessible for people with mobility needs.
  3. You want to enhance your property value: Home elevators are a beautiful and elegant addition to many homes. They come in various styles and designs, and you can customize features like cab styles and lighting. If you plan on selling your home, an elevator can offer an excellent selling point. With stylish, classic or modern designs and ease of accessibility, installing a home elevator can attract more interest and help you sell your home faster.
  4. You want to make a bold statement: If you aim to create a home that will impress your guests, installing an elevator can help you make a statement. An elevator can leave your guests in awe with glistening finishes like glass or accordion fold gates as well as hardwood walls, floors and ceilings. You can customize your elevator doors and walls with sleek cab operating panels and handrail finishes to provide an elegant, modern look to your home.
  5. You want to be independent: An elevator can help you maintain your independence and stay in your home even as you age. Many people choose to live in the comfort of their homes as they get older. With an elevator, you can access your home without assistance from others and feel secure with a code-generated access system. In turn, you can live comfortably in your home for as long as you choose.
  6. You want to maximize your space: You may want to enhance the space in your home or redesign your home, but you need more room to work with. Installing an elevator can free up space for various renovations or home improvements. Elevators come in customized shapes and sizes and can be installed into a shaft outside of your exterior wall or, in many cases, inside a stacked closet, effectively saving space.
  7. You want to make your home more comfortable: If you have a large house, tasks like carrying groceries or furniture from one floor to the other may be challenging with several flights of stairs. With an elevator, you can travel from the ground floor to various levels while carrying items comfortably. If you plan on moving, you can reduce the time and strain it takes to transport heavy furniture and appliances down the stairs.

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Where to Buy a Home Elevator

To ensure safety for everyone in your home, you want to buy a residential elevator that complies with codes specified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the governing body of mechanical regulations nationwide. It is recommended to only buy elevators from a company that complies with all updated National Safety Codes.

Buying a residential elevator from an authorized dealer in your area is essential. An authorized elevator dealer will offer an onsite consultation so you can inspect the design and safety features of the elevator before installing it.

How to Install a Home Elevator

Installing an elevator is a complex process that requires trained technicians. You must employ a professional construction company to build the hoistway only and work with authorized elevator technicians to install your home elevator. Choosing a customizable elevator can make it easier to build into your home design.

Consider the best location in your home for your elevator and decide which design options you prefer. You may also want to determine when you want installation to occur so the elevator manufacturers can preassemble and deliver your elevator to your home within the ideal timeframe. Authorized elevator installers are trained to install your elevators according to the highest quality standards.

Buy a Residential Elevator From Inclinator

Buy a Residential Elevator From an Inclinator Dealer

Inclinator dealers offer safe, customizable residential elevators for when you’re ready to install your elevator. Inclinator manufactures home elevators that fit your unique home design while complying with residential elevator safety codes. We believe in providing elevators that make it safe and convenient for every family member to access their homes.

Customize your elevator to fit your home and maintain your independence with an Inclinator residential elevator. Locate an Inclinator dealer in your area or contact us with any questions.

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Home Investments That Help You Age in Place More Comfortably

Home Investments That Help You Age in Place More Comfortably

For older adults or people with mobility issues who want to remain in their homes, certain circumstances sometimes prevent them from living comfortably or performing daily tasks efficiently. However, with smart investments, home modifications, use of available resources and careful financial planning, aging in place can become a reality.

Because your home needs might change in the future, planning ahead can often be challenging. The first step is to consider the types of help or home remodels for aging in place that may benefit you immediately. Although stairways are often the most significant obstacle for aging in place, home additions like residential elevators and dumbwaiters can help solve these challenges.

Learn more about aging in place and how to invest in your home for more comfortable living.

What Is Aging in Place?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) refers to aging in place as having the means to live in your home comfortably, independently and safely, regardless of physical capabilities, age or income. Aging in place helps promote self-esteem, a positive quality of life and overall happiness — factors critical for living healthy, comfortable lives into old age.

The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) shows that 77% of adults over 50 want to stay in their homes long-term — this percentage has been steady for over a decade. As they grow older, these people often need to make home modifications or add supplementary services to maintain their quality of life and facilitate their living conditions. Planning for the future with physical limitations in mind helps adults better prepare for the challenges that may arise as they get older.

Benefits of Aging in Place

The advantages of aging in place are undeniable based on so many adults choosing to stay in their homes as they grow older. Understanding the benefits of independent living and determining whether you or your loved one have the resources to live comfortably is critical for making future living decisions. Familiar surroundings can often enhance an older adult’s sense of identity while helping keep them connected socially.

Additional benefits of aging in place include:

  • Cost savings: Compared to living in an assisted living facility, the cost of aging in place is often significantly less. Choosing long-term in-home care over nursing homes often offers increased cost savings. Many older adults have already paid off their homes, enabling a creative range of options to fund the investments they need to age in place more comfortably.
  • Safety and health: Assisted living facilities are often overcrowded, limiting the attention and care you or your loved one requires and deserves. These facilities are also a haven for germs and contagious illnesses, making you vulnerable to potential sickness. As long as your home has the resources you need to live efficiently and comfortably, aging in place is the safest choice.
  • Freedom and independence: Aging in place honors the wishes of the individual. Staying at home enables you or your loved one to plan their day as they choose instead of following a regimented schedule in a nursing home. Being told what to do or forced into an unwanted living situation can often create anger, stress, grief or sadness — all leading to unhealthy living.
  • Comfort: When someone moves into a nursing home, there are limitations on the items they can bring, including mementos, favorite pieces of furniture and other things that created years of happy memories. People are much more comfortable when sleeping on their own beds, hearing the sounds of their neighborhood and recognizing the smell of their homes. In addition, living at home offers significantly more personal privacy than a nursing home.

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7 Home Remodeling and Modification Tips for Aging in Place

Equipping your home with practical modification solutions in advance helps anticipate some of the issues you or your loved one might face when growing older. Removing non-essential items and installing new appliances or equipment can make aging in place significantly easier. Reducing fall and trip hazards is a significant focus. Every year, 1 in 4 people over age 65 fall, leading to 3 million older adults being treated in emergency departments for injuries.

Consider these home modifications for aging in place:

1. Transition Strips

Securely Installing a Transition Strip

One of the most common obstacles for older residents is the area where flooring transitions from one material to another, specifically when carpet changes to wood or tile and vice-versa. These transitions are often uneven or raised, creating a potential trip hazard. The easiest way to remove these risks is by securely installing a transition strip.

Additionally, if someone has a mobility device and doesn’t have the physical strength to lift it over an elevated surface, they require assistance from another person. Sometimes a simple transition strip can give a resident the dignity and courage to proceed with their daily tasks independently. Although many different types of threshold strips exist, choosing one that creates a smooth transition and prevents a hazardous condition is essential.

Depending on the flooring type, vinyl transition strips are often more practical than the wood or metal thresholds typical in older homes. Because they are thinner and more resistant to wear and tear, vinyl thresholds can minimize the risk of tripping while offering a longer service life. Discussing your unique requirements with a flooring professional is always best for more complex projects.

2. Shower Grab Bars

Shower grab bars are critical for anyone with mobility issues. Some older adults become reluctant to shower as frequently as they should because they don’t want to risk injury. Shower grab bars can give people the stability and confidence they need to bathe daily, reducing the chance of injuries from falls and infections from poor hygiene.

More importantly, shower grab bars enable older adults to maintain their lifestyles while living independently. Many grab bars are inexpensive to purchase and easy to install, including designs with decorative finishes and features that blend seamlessly with any bathroom. These bars can also double as towel bars to add another element of functionality to your space.

When choosing the most practical grab bar for your needs, select a design that meets your specific weight requirements. Despite their easy and fast installation, it’s crucial to place bars at the proper height and screw them into wall studs with approved fasteners to ensure optimal stability. You will likely also need to install some waterproofing where the bar connects to the wall to prevent damage.

Installing grab bars in other strategic locations — including around your toilet — can improve mobility and safety. Be sure to avoid grab bars that attach with suction or are not weight-rated, as relying on these can cause injuries.

3. Dumbwaiters

Carrying supplies, groceries or other items between floors becomes more challenging as you age. Installing a residential dumbwaiter can help you age in place by making your home more accessible, helping you perform daily tasks more efficiently and enabling you to age in place more comfortably.

Inclinator’s Homewaiter® residential dumbwaiter is a versatile solution that can help you with various chores around your home, from transporting groceries between rooms and removing garbage to moving items into storage and carrying laundry. We offer sizes up to 24-by-24-by-24 inches with weight capacities of up to 25 pounds and traveling distances up to 35 feet. Our dumbwaiters include features to ensure the highest safety, including manual overrides, interlocking doors, emergency lighting and built-in phones.

Inclinator can build a customized dumbwaiter according to your design preferences and specific functionality requirements. Options like stainless steel or hardwood veneer cabs allow you to create a personalized look that blends seamlessly into your home. Select from numerous finishes for your collapsible cab gate to create a unique feel.

Inclinator’s dumbwaiters are controllable from any floor and operate on a standard 120-volt current from your home’s electric supply. Your local Inclinator dealer can walk you through additional specifications and planning guides to help determine which configuration best meets your unique needs.

4. Ramp Access and Platform Lifts

Homes with porches require residents to climb one or more steps to arrive at their front door. This process becomes more complex as you age, even for people without mobility aids. Older adults who can walk independently but struggle with balance often find navigating these steps challenging. It’s even more difficult in winter, when feeling things with your feet can be harder and uneven or icy surfaces increase the risk of falling.

Two solutions that can help address these issues include:

  • Outdoor ramps: Ramp designs come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate specific mobility issues. When installing an outdoor ramp, ensure it can accommodate a wheelchair to proactively prepare for the future, even if you currently don’t use one. Although these options typically require an experienced professional for installation, they’re well worth the investment in the long run.
  • Platform lifts: A residential platform lift works similarly to those installed in modified passenger vans. It can raise and lower a wheelchair, enabling a person to get from the ground to the top of the porch and enter the door. Like an outdoor ramp, these platforms require professional installation.

5. Handrails

Adding Handrails to Staircases

Handrails are one of the most valuable investments for adding resale value and increasing safety in your home. Rails along porches and stairways enhance safety for everyone, from small children to adults with the best mobility skills. Besides installing a handrail on every staircase in your home, adding them to both sides of the porch or staircase helps minimize the risk of falls, regardless of the number of steps.

When choosing a handrail for your needs, select a rounded design that optimizes gripping and a diameter that accommodates your hand size. Additionally, ensuring your rail can handle the weight of the heaviest person using it is vital. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides many recommendations and requirements for accessible design.

For secure installation, screw the rail directly into studs or masonry using an approved fastener and ensure all hardware is tight. Selecting a prefinished handrail or painting it with a high-quality wood finish eliminates the chance of splinters. Be sure to choose an experienced professional for complex installations.

6. Home Elevators

For those with multi-story homes, installing a home elevator is one of the most effective solutions for aging in place. Home elevators enable you or your loved one to safely travel between floors without worrying about the very real hazards of stairs. Modern elevators are incredibly safe — particularly for seniors who may struggle with climbing steps.

Additionally, diabetes and similar ailments common among older adults can impair the ability to climb steps and often precede more complex mobility issues down the road. If your mobility has become problematic, installing a home elevator now can help you prepare for when your condition worsens without warning.

Home elevators for aging in place are a practical, affordable transportation solution and are often easier to install than many think. Besides offering safe and efficient transport between floors, home elevators can significantly increase the resale value of your home.

Home elevators from Inclinator adhere to safety standards established by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). We design, build and test each elevator to meet or exceed ASME A17.1, the latest revision of the international safety standard for home elevators. We can custom-design a solution engineered with advanced precision to fit nearly any space.

Your local Inclinator dealer can walk you through all the available design options for our Elevette home elevator, including various cab styles, drive systems, gates, doors and other accessories. We also offer numerous wood grain finishes for the floors, walls and ceilings, allowing you to create a solution specific to your unique design preferences.

7. Kitchen Support and Modifications

Because many older adults spend significant time preparing meals for themselves and their loved ones, modifying your kitchen to meet your immediate and future needs makes sense. Modifications that minimize reaching and stooping while preventing falling keep your kitchen area safe and accessible as you age. These additions can prove especially valuable for those with limited mobility or who use a mobility aid.

Several examples include:

  • Non-slip flooring
  • Optimized lighting
  • Roll-under counters
  • Side-open ovens
  • Pullout pantries
  • Shallow sinks

Deciding if Aging in Place Is Right for You

Deciding if Aging Place is Right For You

If you or your loved one feel that staying in their home is in their best interests, several strategies can help determine the best living options. The first thing you should do if you feel that aging in place is right for you is to evaluate your unique situation and talk with your family or a health professional about your concerns. Several factors to consider when assessing your living situation include:

  • Finances: Although discussing money can sometimes feel uncomfortable, it’s a critical conversation to have. Many people find themselves in an entirely different financial position after they retire without the financial means to live independently. If money is a factor, consider living with another family member or moving into a smaller house or apartment.
  • Health: Health is another deciding factor when determining whether you can perform all your daily tasks independently. People with limited mobility, reduced eyesight or minimal hearing may need in-home care assistance. Others with severe physical or mental conditions could benefit more from a long-term care facility.
  • Resources: Many publicly funded and privately operated organizations support and assist older people. Senior centers offer daily and weekly activities that allow older adults to socialize. Volunteer agencies help people perform daily chores, while meal delivery programs assist those who find cooking challenging or inconvenient.
  • Emotional state: Your emotional state is another critical indicator of whether remaining at home or moving elsewhere is better. Some older adults dealing with significant life changes — like a recent diagnosis of an illness or the death of a loved one — may want to consider moving. Others with a home full of happy memories may want to remain there as long as possible. There’s no right answer, so carefully consider all factors to make the best choice for you and your family.

Contact Your Local Inclinator Dealer

Contact Your Local Inclinator Dealer Today to Learn More

Deciding to age in place enables older people to continue living the lifestyle they choose with the comfort they enjoy, the independence they deserve and the safety they need to perform their daily tasks independently. More importantly, selecting the optimal home investments helps save significant money over assisted living options that can quickly drain your assets. Installing a home elevator or residential dumbwaiter from Inclinator is an excellent first step in making aging in place a reality.

If you or a loved one want to learn more about our residential elevators and dumbwaiters and how they can benefit you, contact an authorized Inclinator dealer near you today.

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Home Elevator Next to the Kitchen

3 Misconceptions About Home Elevators

Residential elevators are convenient home additions that improve mobility, increase resale value and enhance your interior. After learning about their practical and aesthetic benefits, you might want to install your own. Since a home elevator is a significant investment, educating yourself on safety, price and structure is important.

Being concerned about the risks of residential elevators is understandable, but modern lift systems are safer, more reliable and more affordable than ever. We’ll address three common myths about elevators so you can create a more accessible future for yourself and the people you care about. Discover the truth about these misconceptions:

Myth: Residential Elevators Aren’t Safe

Home elevators adhere to safety standards set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Known as ASME A17.1 in the United States and CSA B44 in Canada, this code regulates designs, installations, repairs, maintenance and alterations. While ASME 17.1 applies to all lift systems, section 5.3 sets specific guidelines for residential elevators. Protocols are adjusted frequently, with the latest update being in 2019.

Individual states may also have their own regulations. While features vary by manufacturer, Inclinator prioritizes your security throughout the purchasing process. Our drawings, planning guides, installation instructions and elevators meet all code requirements. Every Elevette® model comes with standard safety components, including:

  • Gates: Lightweight and compact, gates travel with your elevator. Your elevator knows when they’re open, closed or obstructed and stays in place until everyone is safely on board.
  • Interlocks: Interlocks prevent elevator doors from opening while the elevator is moving or at a different landing. They use a lock and keeper bracket, which must be connected for the door to open. These components usually connect electronically, but you can also use a key to control them manually.
  • Lighting and indicators: Our home elevators feature low-temperature LED lights. Brighter than traditional lighting, they’ll turn on when the elevator is open or in motion. You can configure your own lighting to ensure maximum visibility and reduce the risk of tripping.
  • Handrails: Handrails help you maintain or regain stability by giving you a secure object to grip. Simple yet necessary, they’re beneficial for anyone who needs assistance staying balanced.

Optional add-on components offer more convenience and safety to fit your lifestyle, needs and preferences. These features include:

  • A speakerphone in your elevator cab
  • Automatic gate and door openers

Myth: Residential Elevators Are Expensive

Your thoughts about residential elevators may include a high price tag, but home elevators are more affordable than you think. Several factors impact the cost of your elevator, including:

  • Cab style
  • Drive system
  • State and local regulations
  • How many elevators you’re installing
  • Custom accessories
  • Your hoistway’s complexity and configuration
  • Whether it’s a new installation or a retrofit

With numerous customization options, accessibility and independence come at a wide range of price points. Work with a reliable Inclinator dealer to select what fits your tastes, needs and budget. Modify elements such as:

  • Cab style: We offer six distinctive cab styles to suit your unique home. Select a simple and economical design like the 100 Cab, or create a sleek, sophisticated look with the 500 Cab. All cab styles can have one or two openings and up to 18 potential configurations.
  • Drive system: Mechanical personalization is essential, as well. Our drive systems offer similar travel times and offer their own benefits. Since each one varies in cost, comfort and space requirements, we’ll help you choose a suitable one for your residence.
  • Gates and doors: Gates and doors are available in a variety of durable materials and finishes, including hardwood, acrylic, aluminum and vinyl laminate. No matter which one you choose, you can count on them for ease of use, safety and aesthetic appeal.

Since residential lift systems are highly customizable, you receive only the features you need or want. This flexibility lets you save on your purchase and get the most value out of your home elevator. Whatever options you choose, you can expect an affordable, attractive addition to your home.

When considering the price, you should note that you’re investing in long-term convenience. A single installation can provide you with many years of improved mobility and a better quality of life. That fact alone makes a home elevator worth the investment.

Future repairs are another financial aspect to include. Home elevators are complex machines, meaning they may require occasional servicing. You can minimize these costs by being proactive. Schedule professional maintenance annually to increase your system’s longevity and address issues before they become more serious.

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Myth: Residential Elevators Don’t Offer Much Power

Elevators are designed to carry passengers from landing to landing — it’s understandable to have concerns about residential elevators’ weight limits. However, home elevators are supported by multiple steel cables and robust drive systems. The drive system determines how your car travels, using either hydraulic fluid or cable to raise and lower the elevator.

Whether you choose hydraulic or cable, your elevator can safely hold several occupants at once. A 15-square-foot cab can accommodate up to 1,000 pounds, while a 12-square-foot cab has a 500-pound capacity. We offer three different configurations:

  • Cable drum: Cable drum systems feature monorail guides for a compact elevator design and the quietest travel in the industry.
  • Hydraulic: Hydraulic drive systems use hydraulic fluid pressure to raise a piston, lifting your elevator with it. Our hydraulic system uses less fluid and provides smooth, peaceful rides.
  • Machine roomless (MRL) overhead cable drum: This drive system operates in the shaftway instead of requiring a machine room. It runs on two guide rails for enhanced stability.

While exact weight limits vary depending on the drive system, our drive systems are compatible with any cab size. Each system comes with cab door and gate safety devices as well as two Type A safety mechanisms, so you can feel secure every time you step in. If you and other passengers or objects exceed the recommended weight, the elevator will remain in place until it senses a suitable capacity.

Home elevators can also handle power outages. All Elevette models have battery backup, emergency lighting and an emergency bell. These features activate as soon as you lose electricity, allowing your elevator to lower you to the bottom floor safely. A manual lowering system lets you move your car by hand if you need to quickly exit the car or building.

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Learn More About Residential Elevators Today

With almost a century of experience, Inclinator is a trusted manufacturer for safe, reliable mobility solutions. We offer the most customizable elevators in the industry to meet your individual needs while ensuring complete safety and the right price.

Add convenience and comfort to your home in five easy steps — our experts will guide you through every detail so you’ll always know what to expect. Contact your local dealer today to get started or if you have questions about our elevators or the installation process.

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Elevator Controls

Elevator Controls

There are around 900,000 operating elevators in the United States today. Elevators have become an integral part of our society. Without elevators, we wouldn’t have the iconic skylines of cities like New York or Chicago. Elevators have transformed the architecture of the modern world.

Elevator operation involves a pulley-esque system where a metal rope connects to the top of the elevator cart and travels through a sheave that acts like a pulley wheel. Elevator controllers and buttons work to tell the elevator what to do. The most common elevator car controls include floor selection buttons, operation buttons and control buttons.

Hall Indicators

Hall indicators, also called position indicators or hall lanterns, are used to notify elevator riders that their elevator is arriving and what direction it will be traveling. In addition to visually alerting an upcoming elevator, a hall indicator gives audible signals. Most audible signals will sound once when elevators are going up and sound twice when the elevator is going down. Vocal indicators can also be installed that say “going up” or “going down” in place of the tones.

Hall indicator requirements are as follows:

  • Position indicators are to be mounted a minimum of 72 inches above the floor.
  • The arrows on the hall indicator must be a minimum of 2 1/2 inches tall.
  • The arrows on the hall indicator should be visible from the vicinity of the call buttons.

Elevator Car Controls

The controls inside an elevator vary significantly based on the elevator and the specifications made when it was installed. However, some standard items are present on all elevator control panels:

  • Floor selection buttons: Floor designators are used to tell the elevator which floors to go to. The button that indicates the floor’s number will light up when pressed. A lot of elevator buttons are numbered, but there are some variations. The button for the floor that the lobby is on may be labeled with an “L.” Another common variation for the lobby button is a star. Buttons for basements or underground floors are typically marked with a “B.”
  • Door open button: The door open button is used to reopen the elevator doors when they are closing. Holding this button down will keep the door open for the duration that the button is pressed. This button is a mandatory door control button.
  • Door close button: The close door button is used to close elevator doors immediately. On some elevators in the United States, the close door button can only be used in fire or independent services. In recent years, it has been more common to find door-close buttons that don’t work. Since the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, it has become standard for these buttons to no longer have functionality, so that people with disabilities have time to board the elevator.
  • Door hold button: Also called a door delay button, this button is useful for loading goods or baggage. The door delay button holds the door open for more extended periods, usually up to five minutes.

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Nonstandard Control Panels and Elevator Safety Buttons

Controls outside of the standard car controls can be handy. They include key switch controls and emergency buttons.

Elevator key switch controls are primarily for people carrying service keys. In the United States, they’re typically located in a locked service cabinet panel. These are sometimes found above the floor selection buttons or below the emergency buttons. They allow for different functions or buttons to be toggled on and off the by building’s operations team. Some of the functions may include fire department control, close-door control and maintenance functions.

Some possible emergency button options include:

  • Emergency stops: Emergency stops are used to stop the cart abruptly in case of an emergency. Some stop switches are the flip type or the push-and-pull type. The elevator cab will not start again until the button or switch is reset.
  • Emergency alarms: The emergency alarm in an elevator is usually connected to a bell. The bell rings when the button is pushed to alert people that someone is stuck in the elevator and needs assistance.
  • Telephones: Usually marked with an image of a phone, this button is used to contact a technician for help. It will also alert maintenance that there is an issue with the elevator so they can fix it as soon as possible.

You may never need to use an elevator’s safety buttons at all. If you do experience an emergency, try to keep these steps in mind:

  1. Stay calm: Try to remain level-headed to make sound decisions moving forward.
  2. Find a light source: If the elevator lights are out, use your phone light to locate the buttons. Be careful not to drain your phone’s battery.
  3. Press the call button: Locate and press the call button to contact a technician to help you.
  4. Press the alarm button: Press the alarm button to notify others that you are stuck. People in the building will likely hear the alarm and will find someone to help.
  5. Wait it out: Elevator calls are taken seriously, so you are unlikely to have to wait for long. You will typically be freed in 30 minutes or less.

Elevators should not be complicated. You should know what controls are in your elevator so you can get to where you need to go and how to handle unforeseen situations in case they happen. The controls on the elevator in your residential space would be even more straightforward than the control panels discussed. Therefore, you can trust that the operation of your elevator will be easy and smooth.

Order Your Residential Elevator From an Inclinator Dealer

Contact Inclinator for Your Residential Elevator Needs

Use America’s favorite and most trusted residential elevator company for your elevator project. We offer fully customizable personal elevator solutions to fit any space. Contact us for more information or find a local dealer near you.

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