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Stable Homeownership Offers Seniors a Way to Age in Place

Staying at home is important for most seniors. Researchers at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College confirmed that notion in a published report that most retirees do not want to move in their golden years. The same report also finds that 70 percent of senior homeownership is well-established – 53 percent stay in the home they own in their 50s and 17 percent purchase a new home at retirement and stay there for the rest of their lives. This pattern of stable homeownership allows seniors to tap into their home equity, through a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), otherwise known as a reverse mortgage, to provide financial comfort as well as an opportunity to plan ahead for changing health and mobility needs, while staying at home.

A reverse mortgage is a loan for homeowners 62 and older, but they don’t have to make a monthly mortgage payment. Borrowers are still being charged the interest, but they don’t have to pay it back each month. They are still responsible for paying the property taxes, insurance, HOA dues, and upkeep of the home. The funds from the loan can be used for anything, providing financial freedom to plan for all that comes with aging in place.


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More on Reverse Mortgages and Aging in Place

Personal care, meals and chores

With age, daily tasks like bathing or getting dressed, going to the grocery store, preparing meals, medicine management, or cleaning the house can become more difficult. The proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be used to hire a trained aide who can help with day-to-day chores.


Health concerns increase with aging, and so does the worry about paying for rising health care costs, prescription costs, and insurance premiums and co-pays. It’s difficult, if not impossible to plan for an unforeseen medical crisis which could leave seniors financially distraught. Funds from a reverse mortgage can help ease the burden of rising healthcare expenses. In addition, if the time comes when a home health aide is necessary, the reverse mortgage funds can cover the cost if Medicare does not.

Home repairs or remodeling

Homeowners on fixed incomes may not have the financial means to make necessary repairs or upgrades that may be necessary to age in place. Fortunately, funds from a reverse mortgage loan can be used to pay for structural modifications like widening hallways or doorways or adding ramps to make the home wheel-chair accessible. Adding grab bars and hand rails, replacing or modifying steps, adding an elevator, and updating electrical and plumbing systems can all be paid for from a reverse mortgage loan.

Learn more about how people are using home equity conversion mortgages for purchasing homes:

Please keep in mind that the reverse mortgage industry in constantly changing and some of the information contained on this site may not be current. Please ask a licensed reverse mortgage professional for up-to-date guidelines.