Seniors have made it known through numerous surveys that they desire to age in place, but keeping the home safe and accessible can require expensive upgrades and improvements.
MoneyWise editor-in-chief Doug Whiteman wrote in a recent article ‘How to Find Financial Assistance for Aging in Place’ about the many options out there to help seniors looking to fund these changes to their homes, including reverse mortgages.
Explaining both government and private options, he mentions loans like Home Equity Conversion Mortgages.
“Reverse mortgages, available from lenders, allow seniors to tap the equity in their homes to fund improvements,” he writes.
Also available to borrowers 62 years old and over, the Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers help for repairs and improvements for the sake of health and safety, he writes.
He also mentions that the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ website is worth a visit, as it has has resources for various types of assistance when it comes to home upgrades.
Another option in some cases is Medicare, he writes
“Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance generally won’t cover modifications to a home, though Medicare might pay for a walk-in tub or wheelchair ramp if either feature is deemed medically necessary,” he writes.
Medicare Advantage announced that it will begin to cover some aging in place upgrades, such as grab bars and wheelchair ramps, through it’s affiliated Medicare Advantage health plans in the coming year.
For those looking for home repair services, they can go to the U.S. Administration on Aging website’s and enter their zip code into the “Eldercare Locator” tool to get a list of local providers.
Whiteman also discusses some of the most common aging-in-place upgrades, such as the less expensive grab bars or shower seats, to the more expensive big ticket improvements.
“But more complicated work may be required when an older person needs a wheelchair or walker to get around. Doorways are often too narrow and kitchen countertops can be too high for a homeowner with serious mobility issues,” he writes, giving the example of the $20,000 price tag that comes with lowering countertops and adding new kitchen cabinetry.
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Written by Maggie Callahan