â€śThereâ€™s no place like home.â€ť Sound familiar? A line from The Wizard of Oz, or the sentiment of many senior citizens who believe there is no better place to be than their own homes. Santa Fe has many options for companies that offer independent and assisted-living residences. The Montecito, Brookdale Santa Fe, Kingston, and Pacifica have been in Santa Fe for many years. Newcomers Legacy at Santa Fe and Morningstar offer even higher levels of luxury living for seniors. In the initial planning stages is a new residence from El Castillo, which offers the closest residence to downtown Santa Fe. The new facility will be at Paseo De Peralta and Old Taos Highway. Some have â€śmemory careâ€ť units, but Sierra Vista is dedicated to people with dementia.
But, if it safe to do so, most people prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible. There are ways to make that possible for a longer period of time. In-home health-care agencies can offer assistance to those for whom the tasks of daily living have become more difficult. EGIS, Comfortkeepers, HomeInstead Senior Care, Right At Home, and Nurses with Heart Healthcare are a few of the companies that offer different levels of assistance to people in their own homes, and even after they transition to assisted living.
Another consideration is safety in the home. Lawrence Herman with Affordable Housing Solutions can do an analysis of a home and make recommendations that will make a home much safer. It isnâ€™t just adding grab bars in the bathroom, but thatâ€™s an important one.
Where does a reverse mortgage come in? Many of the companies that provide help in your home require you to pay for the cost yourself. Unless you have insurance for long-term care that covers in-home care, the financial burden falls on the senior or the family. Tapping into the equity of the home with a reverse mortgage can provide monthly cash flow or a line of credit that can be used to pay for in-home care. Also, proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be used to do home modifications that can help prevent falls, a key cause to escalate the amount of assistance needed by a senior or even their ability to stay at home.
My first recommendation is to investigate options, as early as possible. Donâ€™t wait for a crisis to occur and then be forced into hasty decisions.
My second recommendation is to meet with a professional in reverse mortgages and learn the facts. Many people donâ€™t want to consider a reverse mortgage, because they believe some of the misconceptions that can stop the conversation before it even starts. The number one misconception is that the bank gets your home when you die. This isnâ€™t true, but people hear the word â€śreverseâ€ť and forget that is still just a mortgage or lien on the property. If there is still equity, the family can sell the home, pay off the reverse mortgage and keep what remains. You and your family can see if a reverse mortgage might be a tool to help you stay in your home as long as possible.
John Ruybalid is a reverse-mortgage professional with American Advisors Group. He can be reached at (505) 690-1029 and is located here in Santa Fe.