Financial Planning Can Guarantee Your Home Sweet Home Is Senior Friendly!


Senior home remodelsMoney magazine predicts the number of households headed by someone age 70 or older will surge by 42% over the next ten years. Harvard research shows the majority of those Seniors wish to “age in place,” NOT move to a facility or retirement community. Most people would agree that allowing Seniors to age happily at home makes perfect sense. The key to the success of this strategy is to be sure that Seniors are comfortable and safe in their environment as well as able to move around easily considering their physical limitations or problems with mobility.

How do you set the stage for elderly adults to remain safe and comfortable in their own homes? Start with financial planning. It should be easier than ever with new technologies and products available for both mobility as well as monitoring. Think alert systems with GPS, electric wheelchairs and walk-in tubs, just to name a few items. Contractors can widen doorways, build access ramps and install hold bars in homes, and there are tax credits in place to help make remodeling for Seniors financially feasible! Getting old is not cheap – and prevention works best if done in advance. Being able to hold onto your lifestyle and independence, while staying close to family and friends might just mean better health and quality of life!

The best strategy for staying where you are is to budget for that when making a financial plan for the future. Joseph Eppy, CLTC, President of the Eppy Group and a well-respected financial advisor in South Florida suggests, “When formulating a financial plan for those `golden years,’ build into your financial plan the unique costs of refitting your residence to make it safe and accessible if you want to be able to `age in place’. The biggest retirement expense for most Seniors is their home, even if they own it outright. Taxes, maintenance and insurance are ongoing costs that all add up and must be taken into consideration as well.”

Low cost loans for home modifications are available of course, but Joe recommends, “….investigating tax deductions and tax credits for home improvements to accommodate age related disabilities. The cost of hand rails, special kitchen or bathroom fixtures plus the installation are just a few of the items that may be tax deductible as a medical expense.” Joe cautions that reverse mortgages for affluent retirees only makes sense to fund home improvements if the Senior homeowners will continue living there for many years.

The most common types of modifications to the home to accommodate the challenges of aging are listed below:

     ~  Grab bars and handrails

     ~  Wheelchair ramps both interior and exterior

     ~  Stair lifts, or chair lifts for stairways

     ~  Widening of doorways and hallways to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs

     ~  Walk in showers or bathtubs tubs with built-in seats

     ~  Handicapped accessible toilets and sinks

     ~  Security and monitoring systems

     ~  Lighting improvements, non-skid strips, easy to use kitchen fixtures, etc.

Knowing what the costs are for top drawer independent or assisted living facilities (or nursing homes), can make living out your golden years in the home you own and love financially attractive even with paying the bills for home improvements. Do some research to figure out what the best living arrangement might be both physically and financially, but if staying in the home is ideal, be sure to budget for Long Term Care services as well.  You will need to hire an in-home caregiver should you or a spouse need assistance with the Activities of Daily Living as you age in place, or if you develop some form of cognitive impairment in your 70s, 80s, or 90s and want to continue living at home and need care. Dementia can derail the best laid financial plans. Consult a Certified Long Term Care (CLTC) financial specialist when doing your financial planning because the amount paid by Long Term Care insurance companies for different services and arrangements will vary depending on the type of policy and premium, elimination period, amount of coverage, etc., but the premiums can be pennies on the dollar compared to the benefits you receive!

Whether you want to retire and stay in your home, or you want to downsize on your own terms when you are ready rather than because of financial stress, work with a financial advisor that has expertise in retirement planning and can offer you investment strategies and risk management solutions to meet your goals.  Bill helps his clients plan for retirement cash flow that will exceed living expenses by investing wisely, taking inflation, health care, medical costs and Long Term Care costs into consideration. When it comes to preserving assets, estate planning, retirement planning and managing financial risk, Joe points out, “It’s never too late to begin the process.”

CONTACT US: Mobility and activity for Seniors usually decreases over time due to aging, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment. If they wish to remain living at home, Seniors will need to consider ways in which to remain safe and comfortable there as well as arrange for the daily services they will need as well as assistance with the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Regal Home Health provides caregivers to assist with the ADLs, housekeeping and meal preparation, take Seniors to the grocery store or do the shopping for them. Regal Care Managers create and supervise a plan of care and provide medication management, but also coordinate and accompany clients to physician visits. Regal professionals are patient advocates that believe Seniors should be able to “age in place” in the home, with access to the best resources and optimal care possible while maximizing their Long Term Care insurance benefits. For a full description of all Regal’s services visit www.regalcares.com  or contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or email ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical, financial or legal advice.

Joseph Eppy, CLTC, Special Care Planner, is the founder and president of The Eppy Group, Inc.  In addition, Joe is an Investment Advisor Representative and Certified Long Term Care Specialist. He has been in the financial services industry in the South Florida region since 1993. Joe’s firm manages many facets of financial planning such as: life, disability income, long term care insurance, annuities, investments, retirement maximization, philanthropic fundraising through charitable trusts, estate planning analysis and strategies, and special needs planning.  Joe has a unique place in his heart for those with special needs and has addressed numerous organizations, regarding life care and financial planning for special needs families. Joe presently serves on the board of the Florida Atlantic University – Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. He is also a member of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Broward County. Joe can be contacted at (954) 271-7888 or j.eppy@eppygroup.com.

This article is not intended as medical, financial or legal advice.