As summer vacation is in full swing, many of us are reflecting on our experiences visiting with family. Maybe you took your children on a camping trip or to Disneyland. Possibly you flew overseas to experience a new culture. Or maybe you took a road trip to visit your aging parents or other loved ones. If you visited with elderly family members, it likely came with mixed emotions. Every year they are a little older – and for some, every year brings just a little more worry.
This is very common after a visit. It may raise concerns about health or finances, and questions about how aging parents will continue to cope. If you’re wondering when and how you need to intervene, ask yourself these questions:
• Are they able to get around by him or herself? Are there stairs in the home?
• Is this person able to take medications without assistance? Is there a health concern that would require more regular supervision, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s?
• Is your parent able to manage mortgage payments, home-owners insurance payments, and property taxes? Is the home outdated and in need of frequent repairs – such as a furnace, roofing, electricity?
• Where is this home located? Is it in close proximity to relatives, hospitals, etc? Or is it secluded and away from town?
• Is this person lonely? Has he or she suffered the loss of a spouse? Does he or she have a solid social group or close friends?
Based on your answers to these questions, aging in place may be the right solution, and if financial strains exist surrounding the current mortgage, a reverse mortgage may be an option. Reverse mortgages allow homeowners age 62 and older to access equity in their home. The homeowner retains the title and remains in the home. With a reverse mortgage homeowners will live the remainder of their lives mortgage payment free, and can receive their funds as a monthly installment, a line of credit, or sometimes as a lump sum. Nearly all reverse mortgages are government guaranteed with FHA insurance and no repayment is due until the last borrower passes away or permanently leaves the home. At that time there are several options that include keeping the home in the family.
It is especially important to work with a reputable lender and watch out for scams if parents or loved ones are considering a reverse mortgage.
Janis Layman is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Seattle, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Shoreline areas of Washington. Contact Janis and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.