Aging in place. It’s a relatively new term for a very old concept: remaining in your own home as you grow older. Once upon a time, this wasn’t an issue. Extended families ensured that someone would be available to look after Grandma or Grandpa should the time come when they needed assistance.
Today, when even nuclear families are something of an anachronism, the picture has radically shifted. While many people live healthy, active lives well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond, and are able to care for themselves in their own homes, others require assistance at some stage due to circumstances such as declining health, an accident, or a similar need that precludes their ability to continue managing independently.
For people who are healthy and want to remain in their own residence 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.
Here are seven guidelines homeowners can use to decide whether aging in place makes sense for them, and if so, whether to explore a reverse mortgage. Aging in place can serve a senior well if:
- You have sufficient equity in your home to qualify for a reverse mortgage;
- 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 — and alternate transportation is readily accessible;
- You live in a safe neighborhood;
- Your home can be modified to address changing needs (we’ll discuss this in depth in an upcoming post);
- You’re outgoing, well connected, and able to reach out for social support.
But: what if one partner later becomes ill or requires assistance?
In Part 2 we’ll look at housing options for seniors who may no longer be able to live independently in their own home.
This article recently appeared in ReverseMortgageInfo.