Last month’s National Nursing Home week is unlikely to ever find itself prominent on calendars across America. Why do I say this? Primarily because the vast majority of Americans want to remain as long as possible in their own home.
This being said, however, as a reverse mortgage specialist who deals every day with aging-related housing matters, I can attest to the fact there are issues to address when planning for aging in place.
Common considerations include:
- Are homeowners able to take care of daily needs – or is in-home care required?
- Are there available community resources, such as day centers, medical facilities, recreation, and transportation?
- Do homeowners have family, friends, neighbors, or a faith community who can be involved in their care?
But the biggest factor is the home itself, as most homes were not built with aging in place in mind. For this reason, homeowners must ask themselves if their current home can be adapted to meet their needs as they age.
Fortunately for those of us in the greater Washington, D.C. area, close by are some of the nation’s most recognized contractors specializing in retrofitting homes to meet the needs of aging occupants.
Aging in place adaptations usually involve three elements, including:
1) adding hardware such as grab bars, lever-handled faucets, and hand-held showerheads;
2) installing ramps, lifts, and extra lighting;
3) making architectural changes such as wider doorways and curbless shower stalls, and relocating master bedrooms, full baths, and laundry rooms to the main floor.
While some modifications can be done by a general handyman, larger projects, particularly ones involving actual design changes, should be done by a contractor specializing in aging in place remodeling. Specialists who carry the Certified Aging in Place Specialist, or CAPS, designation are typically the most versed on industry standards and age-related modifications.
While some municipalities offer low-cost or no-interest home modification loans to seniors, these are not universally available, and often are for relatively small amounts. Additionally, many include a monthly repayment schedule.
Reverse mortgage fits perfectly into home modification needs, as there is never a monthly mortgage payment required. When the last homeowner permanently leaves the home, the loan is repaid, and all remaining equity goes to the senior or to the heirs or estate.
Reverse mortgage is never going to be the full solution to financial needs in retirement. However, when used as part of a comprehensive financial plan, it is going to be an increasingly important part of funding our ever-increasing longevity.
If you are, or someone you know is, looking into reverse mortgage, give me a call – I always love hearing from you.
Laurie Denker MacNaughton[NMLS# 506562]∙ Reverse Mortgage Consultant, President’s Club∙ Middleburg Mortgage, a Division of Middleburg Bank ∙ 20937 Ashburn Road∙ Ashburn, VA 20147∙ 703-477-1183 Direct ∙ LMacNaughton@MiddleburgBank.com