Good Neighbors

Couple Spent Lives Serving, Now Benefit from Others' Kindness

The nicest couple you'll ever meet needed a stairlift because she has Parkinson's and can't get to the ground floor of the raised ranch where they live. She was housebound until Sparkt got involved.

The minute you walk into the Dean's home in South Park you can feel the love. There's a broad smile on Dick's face and a warm welcome from Sandy. Their walls are covered with family photos from 61 years of marriage and children. The bookcases and tables proudly display hundreds of figurines, gifts to Sandy over the decades the couple served in the Salvation Army.

After years of giving back and sacrificing for others (they sometimes worked without salary when the Army couldn't afford to pay them), now the Dean's need help. Sandy has Parkinson's, which left her a virtual prisoner in their raised-ranch home, where the living area is on the upper level and the garage and car in the basement. Now a twist fate and the help of some "Get Marty" supporters is solving their problem. Check it out:

S ince Sparkt shot this story, Carl D'Alicandro from A+ Stairlifts reports the Deans have been using the stairlift to get out of the house and do basic things, like going to church. Sandy's Parkinson's appears to be worsening, so the stairlift has become even more of a Godsend for them, literally and figuratively.

"People are gracious and good. We're just very, very, thankful." Dick Dean, Lt. Col. (ret.) Salvation Army

Unfortunately the Deans not alone in needing a stair lift but not being able to afford one. The organization Paying for Senior says Medicare doesn't cover the cost of stairlifts ($3000-$5000 new, depending on the model and installation needs), because they're considered a "home modification" instead of "durable medical equipment." But some Medicare Advantage plans do cover some costs.

The organization Aging in says Medicaid may cover some costs if having a stairlift will keep you in your home, and the Veteran's Administration may be able to help too. So it's certainly worth researching. And quotes for purchase and installation of a lift are usually free.

Other options include purchasing a used stairlift or renting or leasing one. Many stairlift companies also offer payment plans so you don't have to come up with all the money up front.

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