Agencies that assist with making a house handicap accessible?

My father badly injured his foot earlier this year and has been hospitalized for several months with trying to get it healed, dealing with infections, and numerous other health issues that have arisen as a result. At this point it is guaranteed he will not be able to put weight on that foot for a minimum of 6 months, but he also has a bone infection and amputation is looking increasingly likely.

His house is in a flood-prone area and is raised on stilts. He has not been able to return home because he is too weak to pull himself up the stairs using his arms only. Since this looks like it will be a long term issue, we are trying to see if it’s possible to install some sort of hoist or lift so that he can get into the house. The issue is money - something like that is quite expensive, especially since it needs to go up about 15 feet! He’s on medicare, and lives in Illinois in the St. Louis area. Does anyone have any suggestions about agencies or charities that might be able to help?

My first thought is have you checked with the hospital? I know most hospitals have social worker type people - they may be able to point you in the right direction. Also, is your dad going into a nursing type home for rehab before going home? When my MIL did after being released from the hospital for a broken shoulder, that facility gave me places to call for help getting her place set up for her return.

Additionally, your city or township offices may have an office for referrals for older and or disabled people that can point you towards resources.

Finally, check with Catholic Charities. You don’t have to be Catholic or religious or anything - they are just a fantastic resource for help.

If you want to PM me the name of the town, I’m happy to look into it for you - I’m not working right now (sick) so I have nothing but time. :slight_smile:

PS - also, is your Dad a Veteran?

Habitat for Humanity may also be able to help you, or at least give you a referral.

Thank you Missy that is a huge help! And I will take you up on your offer and send you a PM.

Missed the edit window.

He is not a veteran, and yes he will most likely go to a rehab center to try to build strength up before going home. Unfortunately he’s been bouncing back and forth from the hospital and various rehab centers since June, and at least one hospitalization was caused by something he picked up in the rehab center. Needless to say he’s desperate to get home, and if we can find a way to get him safely in and out of the house then it becomes a real possibility.

What about selling the house and getting him into an apartment? I know that’s a drastic step, but it may be the best thing overall. If he has limited mobility in that house when it floods, that could be a big problem. And there’s the day-to-day issues of how he gets in and out. Even if they build a ramp or hoist, it will be a lot more work going in and out compared to an apartment with an elevator. Plus, there’s the risk of falls and injury as he navigates the 15’ height difference. Of course, as most of us know, getting your dad to agree to selling the house will be a big challenge.

How accessible is the interior of your father’s house? Are there steps in the house? And if not, the hallways and doorways in most houses are difficult to navigate in a wheelchair. So I agree that he might be best off moving from his house to an apartment or some sort of assisted living facility.

I’ve been dealing with this with my own parents, who have mobility issues, although they’re in a ranch-style house in Connecticut with almost everything on one level.

15’ is pretty high. Don’t try to take a shortcut by rigging up some patched together crane system. I have seen small lifts to make storefronts accessible. This would be for cases when there’s maybe 3’-4’ of difference. The most affordable system would probably be an outdoor stair lift.

I know you’re looking for inexpensive solutions, but refrain from getting anything done by friends, volunteers, or other inexperienced people. There’s a pretty good chance it would fail in some way, and 15’ is a long way to fall. If it was just a ramp for a 2’ rise, then it’s no big deal. But with that height, serious injury is likely if anything goes wrong.

A lot of church group volunteers work on projects like this. Unfortunately, I don’t know how you would specifically identify and contact a local group.

As mentioned earlier, church volunteers installing a 15-foot lift doesn’t inspire confidence. And installing an expensive and difficult lift onto a house that may not even accommodate the man once he gets to the door…

liirogue, getting a list together, and it will be ready for you tomorrow! :slight_smile: I’ve found a number of places that could possibly help - not necessarily by being able to DO the work, but by pointing you in the right direction. I will PM it unless you want me to post it here - just let me know.

Note the maximum track length cited is 16 feet. You are never going to get 15 feet of height with a 16 feet length track. Thinking pythagorean theorem and 7 3/4 inches for the riser (vertical) and a minimum of 10 inches for the tread for the steps you need about 25 feet of track. Do the stairs go in one direction the entire height or do they switch directions half way up?

Is there room to build a deck?

You can split the height from the ground in half. The height of the deck depends on the maximum height that the porch lift can safely handle.

Then build a ramp from the deck to the house. That height will be whatever is left that the porch lift couldn’t reach.

But, that’s not going to be cheap.

I agree with others that suggested renting a handicapped accessable apartment is the best solution.

Most of the apartment complexes built since the early 90’s will have a few handicapped accessable units with wider doors, level entry.

I looked at several units with a family member about 15 years ago. Helped her move in.

Your dad’s house could be rented. Giving him time to recover before deciding if living in that elevated home is possible.

As you can see.
The porch lift can get someone up several steps.

Five steps in this photo.

liirogue, check your PMs. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Unfortunately selling the house is not an option - it is his girlfriend’s place and he lives with her. The good news is that once he gets into the house, it is actually very handicap accessible - no hallways and the bathroom door is wide enough for a wheelchair.

Also I was mistaken about the height. There is a concrete pad beneath the house, and from it to the deck is 10 feet. So while not a small distance, definitely an improvement over 15!

And Missy2U, thank you so much for the links and info you have sent. I truly appreciate your effort

OT, but in case it’s useful to anyone who finds this thread — many car companies in the US will offer up to $1000 or so in credit towards improvements to a new car that needs accessibility improvements. (Needs to be new, though.)