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Aging in Place? Prepare your home and finances ahead of time

Aging in Place (AIP) is a new name for a traditional concept.  Instead of retiring to a new home, or going to a care facility as you get older, thousands of seniors prefer to prepare their own home to be better suited for them to live comfortably, in a familiar environment.   AIP retirees have  lived in their neighborhoods for decades and cultivated wonderful relationships with their neighbors that look out for each other.  They have gone to the same grocery store for years and know most of the cashiers on a first name basis.  Their church or senior center is close by and they enjoy being uplifted and seeing many close friends there.   To be moved from all of the roots established during a wonderful life would be challenging during an already difficult time.  That is why, many choose to prepare their finances and current home to better suit their needs as they age.  For people who are healthy and want to remain in their own home as they grow older, a reverse mortgage can help make this a reality. The first step is determining whether aging in place is in your best interest.

Aging in Place with a Plan

Here are 7 guidelines a homeowner can use to decide whether they want to age in place, and if so, whether to explore a reverse mortgage. Aging in place can serve you well if:

  • Your health is generally good, and you’re mobile;
  • You have a network of local family, friends, and neighbors you can rely on;
  • You drive — or public transportation is readily accessible;
  • You live in a safe neighborhood;
  • Your home can be modified to address changing needs;
  • You have sufficient equity in your home to qualify for a reverse mortgage, also known as a HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage);
  • You’re outgoing, well connected, and able to reach out for social support.

A House That Adapts to Your Needs

Home modification is important, even — especially — if you’re healthy and active now. Our bodies and needs change over time. Someone who is spry in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s may be glad their house “ages with them” as they grow older.

A few simple home modifications can make a big difference. These features, or what’s known as “universal design,” can affordably retrofit your home for greater safety and peace of mind:

  • Grab bars, especially in the shower and bathtub;
  • Hand rails. People can slip at any age and take a tumble; as we age, this can result in a broken hip or worse;
  • Walk in tub.
  • They can also be installed temporarily if someone needs to use a wheelchair for a short time, such as when recovering from surgery;
  • Door widening to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and four-pronged canes;
  • Low thresholds to avoid tripping, and to make it easier to navigate with assistive devices (walkers, canes, etc.);
  • Kitchen or bathroom modifications to make cabinets easier to reach, floors even & less slippery.
  • Installing a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) such as Life Alert to keep you safe in a medical emergency.
  • Installing a Stair lift in a 2 story home may cost $5 to $10 thousand dollars, but it can help you to stay in the home and neighborhood you love; which could be worth every penny.

The costs to modify your home to prepare for AIP can be expensive, but keep in mind a nursing home or care facility in California cost on average around $7,500 every month!  As you age, you may need medical or non-medical assistance as well, but when a Reverse Mortgage is covering the mortgage payment for you, and guaranteeing you a home for the rest of your life, you should be able to take care of the extra assistance needed for much less than the $7,500 cost of a care facility.  One great tool of the Reverse Mortgage is that you can leave the money you qualify for in a Line of Credit that is averaging a growth of about 5.5% compounded annually.  For example, if you qualify for $350,000 on your line of credit, that is a growth of $19,250 a year or $1,604/month to help you cover assistance costs, not to mention the $350,000 in your line of credit.  The bottom line is your Reverse Mortgage gives you options, and any remaining equity passes on to your heirs.

Do You Believe In Magic?

Fans of the Harry Potter books may not realize that Hogwarts’ headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, also knew something about smart retirement planning. (That’s what happens when you live to be 150.)

For those of us with somewhat shorter potential lifespans, Dumbledore says, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Even saving $25 a week at 5-percent compound daily interest will grow to $41,302 in 20 years’ time, a nice adjunct to your HECM loan.

So save what you can, be smart about managing your finances, and keep your wand handy. With equity in your home and a positive aging in place profile, the HECM option can transform money concerns into real retirement magic.  For more information about setting up a reverse mortgage Line of Credit that grows annually, and gives access to your home equity as you need it, contact: Robert Krepps at robertloans@msn.com or 877-567-7476.

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