Many older homeowners are set on staying in their homes as they age—“aging-in-place.”
To stay put successfully, preparation is key, according to Corey Carlisle, executive director of the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation.
“Older Americans make up the largest share of homeowners in the country,” said Carlisle in a statement. “In order for them to stay in their homes as they age, families and caregivers must plan ahead to ensure the elderly have all the resources they need to be safe, independent and financially secure.”
To start, Carlisle and the ABA Foundation recommend recruiting loved ones, or even a banker, to assess your finances. How long can you comfortably afford your current home? Will you need to budget for aging-in-place improvements? Will you require in-home care? Consider these questions as you evaluate your financial longevity.
A reverse mortgage is an important consideration—one that must be researched thoroughly. The ABA Foundation suggests visiting ReverseMortgage.org to comparison-shop for lenders and rates, and visiting HUD.gov to locate a reverse mortgage counselor in your area, before committing to a loan.
Size up your current home to see what modifications will likely be needed, and financially prepare to make them. Aging-in-place upgrades can include anything from handrails and no-slip flooring to a stair lift or ramp entrance—and, they can be as simple as placing an emergency contact list in plain view at home, according to the ABA Foundation.
After you’ve established a viable aging-in-place plan, conduct six-month check-ins going forward, the ABA Foundation advises. Revisiting your plan periodically will help you better adapt to the inevitable changes of aging.