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“Graduating” Into Your Own Home

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Helping Seniors Claim Their Independence, Part 1:

Life can seem like one long stepping stone towards graduation: kindergarten into first grade, elementary school to junior high, then into high school, and finally from high school out into the wide, wide world, which may include a lot more schooling: college, an advanced degree, even a doctorate or medical training.

At last, we settle into life and a (hopefully) satisfying career, and our own home as well. Life whooshes by, and suddenly a potentially less pleasant graduation looms: into a living space that isn’t really something we want, but rather what appears to be the logical next step as we grow older: a retirement community or even assisted living, if we need help with simple day-to-day tasks.

Helping Seniors Claim Their IndependenceFortunately, for elders who want to remain in their own homes as long as possible another kind of graduation exists, thanks to the reverse mortgage. With the funds freed up from an approved reverse mortgage loan, a senior can “graduate” into the lifestyle and independence they desire and deserve.

What this means is that they can choose to remain in their own home and “age in place” with the help of any number of outside services available to serve the mushrooming elder population, such as:

Transportation, available via paratransit (often in conjunction with a senior center) or, if they live in an area that is part of the burgeoning Village-to-Village network of senior support, via a volunteer driver;

Caregiving, available through traditional home health agencies as well as via independent caregiver networks that enable seniors to select qualified, prescreened candidates on their own, whether they need help with shopping and meal preparation, getting in and out of the shower, or medication reminders;

Home maintenance and repairs. A number of Rotary clubs in northern California have begun offering a no-cost “helping hands” service to seniors one Saturday per month. Whether they need a lightbulb changed, the yard weeded, or a drawer unstuck, having this type of “handyman on call” enables older adults to remain safely in their own homes, knowing assistance is available.

So while a reverse mortgage may not sound like graduation at first blush, helping your clients obtain one places them in a class all their own.

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