I was asked to give a speech to a group in Boise, ID about how seniors can stay in their homes by using a reverse mortgage. This was an easy one for me because I had helped my mother do this very thing. She didn’t need as much help as some of the other seniors I have spoken with who worked with companies who specialize in home remodeling for seniors.
Some senior homeowners use reverse mortgages to help them financially by retiring debt or generating income. But there are also many seniors who love their homes and want to stay in them but find that their homes just don’t accommodate their needs any more. In fact, according to an AARP housing survey, 83% of older Americans want to stay in their current homes for the rest of their lives. Of the 83%, many are looking for some help to make it possible. Here is how a reverse mortgage can help seniors stay in their homes by allowing them to make improvements and alterations to their homes enabling them to stay at home where they are comfortable.
Depending on the homeowners budget, some changes are small and can be made relatively easily. Items such as hand rails, grab bars and lever handles on doors are fairly minor alterations and not terribly expensive. However, sometimes an older home may need some more expensive updating or home improvement for the senior borrower to be comfortable or practical for seniors to stay. Some of these items can get very expensive.
Some of these improvements or updating include new windows, doors and screens that open and close easily and updated kitchens for easier meal preparation. The home may require general maintenance of roofs, heating and air conditioning, flooring and anything else in the home that may need updating. Some of the items that may need to be considered which are expensive are items such as elevators and lifts, ramps, enlarging doorways and halls to allow wheelchairs to move freely through and installing emergency communication systems.
Some seniors also require alterations to the bathrooms and there are some very nice tubs and showers made with the senior user in mind enabling them to be self-sufficient. Still others use the proceeds of a reverse mortgage to hire in-home care so that they can stay at home in that manner.
I always encourage senior borrowers to check out places like the AARP website. It’ full of great information on projects to make their homes more livable, how to choose a good contractor and avoid bad the ones, and products geared to the senior homeowner. Many homeowners get into the chicken or egg scenario they don’t know what projects they want to do or what they will cost until they look into the available improvements; but then they don’t know how much money they will have to spend until they look into their financing.