Part One: Modify the Nest, Select a Silver Housemate
It’s a situation many children face as their parent’s age: the older generation, accustomed to being the ones who know best, chafe at the suggestion they’re not as agile as they used to be. “Grab bars, handrails? What are you talking about? I’m in good shape!”
And this may be true — for now. But time is inexorable, and while making home modifications after an event is “better late than never,” it’s already too late if a senior has fallen and broken a hip. Despite an elder’s sense that they are still as spry as they once were, the reality is, over half of those 80 and older fall every year. That’s a scary statistic.
Tax credits for home modification
Fortunately, several states have begun offering tax credits to help older adults age in place with greater accessibility and safety. Virginia, Illinois, Rhode Island and Maryland lead the charge. Virginia’s Livable Homes Tax Credit, for example, is available to homeowners of all ages, and especially attractive to Baby Boomers, who are now between 52 and 70 years old, and in general more open to the idea of an aging-in-place retrofit than their parents might have been.
One couple in their mid-sixties who still work (one spouse full time, the other part-time) installed shower grab bars when they built their new home a few years ago. It just made sense, they said, even though they’re both in good health. The home’s French doors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, should that ever become necessary, and, with one exception, the interior thresholds are low and easily navigable.
Home modification can also be a boon for the differently abled, for whom a HECM is one important piece of their aging alliance.
But having a home equipped to serve seniors throughout their later years is still just part of the puzzle. The missing piece is often companionship.
Beyond four-footed friends
Many seniors enjoy the love of a cat, dog, bird, or other animal friend in their later years, especially if they’ve lived with pets much of their lives. A purring fluff ball curled on someone’s lap, or a faithful canine that offers both protection and assistance, can be a blessing for a senior who has lost his or her life partner and has no close friends or relatives. Sometimes, though, animals are not enough.
While a reverse mortgage can help pay the bills, it won’t relieve the loneliness that is epidemic among older people, or provide friendship, no matter how understanding the loan originator.
Enter Silver Nest, a unique roommate-matching service for Boomers and empty nesters with space to spare. A seamless, end-to-end solution, Silver Nest handles all the details, from pre-qualifying potential housemates, to arranging the interviews, drafting leases and collecting the rent. It’s the next generation of home sharing, and a good complement to an aging in place retrofit. It’s also a smart way for someone looking for a housemate they can trust, or who loves elders (or both!) to find the right home sharing arrangement.
Aging in place is destined to become huge over the next few decades as the largest cohort in history greys the globe. Tax credits for home modification and intergenerational home sharing are two creative ways to help make this time of life more joyful and affordable for everyone involved.