In Atlanta, CBS46 recently reported on a 16-story building with an elevator that had broken and not been repaired, leaving residents with mobility problems trapped on the higher floors. Thankfully, public pressure after the report forced the owners of the building into finally making the necessary repairs.
This is not the first time we have heard stories of elderly or disabled residents becoming stuck in their apartment buildings during power outages or when an elevator needed repairs but that parts were not immediately available. They have often been left without a way to pick up groceries or get to important appointments.
Highrise buildings can come with many benefits. There is no lawn to mow, they are generally wheelchair accessible, are often centrally located, and someone else is in charge of the building maintenance. In places like New York City, there may even be a grocery store or doctors offices right in the building.
However, as the recent elevator failure in Atlanta reminds us, there is also a downside to picking a building with multiple floors. If you are still planning on retiring in a tall building, there are some things that you can do to minimize any inconvenience caused by general maintenance failures:
Find a building that has more than one elevator. That way, if one needs to be repaired, hopefully, the other one will continue to function during that time.
Look for signs that the building is well-maintained before moving in. If there is something broken when you are visiting, do not dismiss it as a one-time thing. It may be a sign of a larger problem.
Choose an apartment on a lower floor or the ground floor.
Have someone who you can trust to bring in groceries or other supplies. Make sure that they will be able to handle the number of stairs.
Make sure to always have enough food and medication to make it through an emergency. Refill prescriptions and the fridge before they become empty.
All locations have their pros and cons, but the best way to avoid the downside is to be aware of it and prepared ahead of time.
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