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Need the voice of experience!

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    Need the voice of experience!

    I will be bringing my husband(C-5,6,7 fracture) home in 3 weeks. We live in a 2 story with no shower on the first floor. We have a room we can convert to a bedroom, however. Those of you who have been through this....if your options were to install a shower on the first floor with changes costing about $10,000 or to install some type of elevator or stair-lift (if and when he is able to transfer) at an approximate cost of $25,000 which would you choose? An elevator may detract from the resale value of our home, if and when we would move. Market is too terrible right now for that to be an option. long would you wait to make a decision on the renovation? I definetly don't want to make any quick decisions that we would regret. We have already talked to a contractor for the bathroom and I got the feeling he wanted to move on it. (naturally) Any and all advice would be so appreciated.
    You can send me a private message....thanks

    Hi, my daughter is a c5-c6 complete we are moving to
    vegas to live with my mom and are moving to a two story home which is going to be renovated so that my daughter will live downstairs and have her own shower and room. She will be able to have her own privacy and will be a little more independent since she can get around with ease on the lower level and if their is an emergency we can get her out of the house quickly.
    Oops...I am using my daughters computer and just realized that I am writing this under her profile!



      We are lucky enough to have a one story house, but my two cents if that were not the case would be to add the shower.

      Of course, that is without seeing the house and layout, etc. But in newer homes, first floor master bedrooms are very popular right now, so if you could make a modification that would be popular for resale, I think that is the way to go. I'm sure if you asked a realtor you would find that you get something like 80% of your investment back (when you sell the house) for adding/remodeling a bathroom, but probably next to nothing back for something like an elevator.

      That being said, I would also consider things like the amount of living space downstairs, what he will be giving up by not being able to go upstairs. (For instance, if the den where everyone watches tv is upstairs, that could leave him alone downstairs.)

      Good luck!


        I bought a new house for more room and to make it a little easier to get around. i made the fewest mod's that could be humanly done, unless you saw my bathroom you would never know that a person in a chair lived their. I would see if you could make the mods and still live comfortable then put in a master bedroom and bath down stairs for him and you. it only adds value to the house. i wouldnt opt for the elevator. I wish would have made all the mods that one would need cause when we first moved my girlfriend helped me a ton and never thought about it. after she left i found out that i could do all the things but was a major pain since only AB people could use them. any way i guess its the fact that it helps you feel more independent also helps your state of mind. its hard having no control over what you used to, to going to none.
        Last edited by soonerborn; 14 Oct 2008, 12:12 PM.


          Hi Brenda,

          These decisions are sometimes the hardest! We also have a two story house and this is what we did. We have a large laundry room so we had a shower installed in there. Its functional and out of the way. Rob can safely transfer in and out, shower and dress in there. The downstairs bathroom had minimal modifications made for his main bathroom. The downstairs is where he lived for the first 9 months until we could figure things out. We did the shower, change the toilet, widened a few doors for a few thousand dollars.

          After nine months, we installed a telecab (elevator but not as expensive) installed $19,200 in our dining room to our bedroom upstairs. We have small children so Rob eventually had to get upstairs. Plus, the idea of never being able to get upstairs really bothered Rob and me too! So now he sleeps upstairs in our bedroom and uses the master bathroom for cathing during the night but showering and bowel issues are all still taken care of downstairs in the accessible areas.

          We felt this was the least invasive for our house. We don't plan on moving for many years but when we do move, these modifications are very easy to correct if need be. Plus the telecab can be taken with us to a new house and all we would have to do is some minimal floor/ceiling work. Hope this helps!
          Last edited by kap; 14 Oct 2008, 11:30 AM.


            I would also recommend the first floor bathroom, with a roll-in shower. Even if you put in an elevator, you would really need to modify the bathroom to make it accessible, so would also have that expense. In addition, it is safer for emergencies/fires to keep to the first floor.

            In the meantime, many people use a portable commode for bowel care and something like this inflatable tub (EZ Bath) for bathing until they can either move or get home modifications done, or simply do bed baths. The VA will provide this if he makes the decision to get VA care.


            There is also this device which can be set up in an existing non-shower bathroom (if large) or kitchen, service porch or mud room:


            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.


              I'm voting for a first floor bathroom addition too. Homes without a bathroom on the first floor sell for a lot less around here, so that is an addition that will pay for itself if and when you decide to move. I agree it is also a lot safer to e on the ground floor for all of essential activities in case there was a need to leave quickly.


                First floor changes are what I highly recommend. Chad, my husband, was injured when I met him, but we faced an issue of his home (one story, accessible) being far too small for our needs. But my home was not accesssible unless we installed an elevator. The problem with an elevator ultimately came down to safety. In the event of a fire or hurricane, it would be dangerous to have the only escape route be electrically powered. Yes, there were ways to override and do manually, but I could not imagine trying to do that in an emergency and with a small child also in the house.

                So we decided to move to an entirely different house instead which is actually 2 stories, but the master is on the first floor. We remodeled the bedroom and bathroom extensively to have a roll in shower with a ceiling lift.

                Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
                Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager


                  Zillazangel, I'm in NC too and I'm always trying to network with people I can meet/talk to in real life. If you and Chad would be interested in corresponding, feel free to PM me. I didn't want to PM you without asking first. If not, it's all cool.

                  Sorry, Brenda, for the off topic stuff. I'd vote for the downstairs renovations too.
                  "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem


                    We had to convert our dining room to a bedroom and add a bathroom. Really glad we did it this way. The safety issue was part of the decision. It's just alot easier when my son is in his room and needs something, he is right there and I'm not running up and down the stairs. Good luck!