Numerous studies confirm that most seniors want to stay in their homes as they age, often referred to as “aging in place.” But according to the National Council on Aging in Place, a gap exists between the desire of many seniors and the reality of the expensive modifications their home may require to make it safe.
If you’re a senior in the process of researching your housing options as you advance in age, chances are your choices will be narrowed by your financial capabilities. This article explores the aging in place trend and explains how the cash settlement from an unwanted life insurance policy (known as a life settlement) could be the solution you’re seeking to finance costly home modifications.
Seniors Prefer to Live at Home
According to AARP, even if seniors begin to need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, most (82 percent) would prefer to stay in their homes. Less than 9 percent prefer moving to a facility where care is provided, or moving to a relative’s house. AARP notes that living under one’s own rules is a key reason for staying in one’s own home. For many baby boomers, maintaining a connection to their communities and families is an essential consideration as they decide where to live.
An article published in 2016 by WealthManagement.com cites a survey of 4,000 baby boomers by the Demand Institute which found that most do not plan to retire to a condo on a golf course. Instead of selling their homes and heading for retirement communities, most boomers prefer to remain in their existing homes and maintain a connection for as long as possible to their communities and families.
But for many seniors, staying in one’s home without extensive remodeling is not always the safest place to be for seniors as they begin to experience reduced eyesight, balance issues, and diminished flexibility. According to the MetLife Mature Marketing Institute, falls are the leading cause of injury-related visits to the emergency room in the U.S. and the primary cause of accidental deaths in people over 65.
Sample of Most Common Renovations
To assist seniors in turning the home they love into a safer environment while they age, AARP published a 28-page guide that includes remodeling ideas ranging from installing lever handles on doors, to step free showers, to wheelchair-height microwaves. A sample of the most common renovations requested by aging seniors includes:
- Doors – widening for wheelchair and walker access
- Bathrooms — remodeling tubs and showers for walker or wheelchair access
- Toilet seats – raised or lowered
- Grab bars – for balance and support
- Hallways – widening to a minimum of 36”
- Sinks – Raise for wheelchair access underneath
- Faucets – Installation of single level controls
- Handicap wheelchair ramps
- Accessible kitchens – lowering counter tops and appliances to wheelchair height
- Closets — widened for wheelchair accessibility
- Electrical — light switches lowered and outlets raised
- Personal alert system – communication technologies for emergencies
Home Remodeling Can Be Expensive
According to FIXR.com, the average cost to remodel a bathroom is $18,000 and lowering kitchen cabinets, and appliances cost an average of $15,000. Making even modest changes to a home for a disabled senior can quickly exceed $50,000 and more. And that’s without an investment in smart technologies for monitoring and emergency communication services.
By 2017, experts say aging in place technology and services will become a $30 billion a year industry. According to an article published in 2017 by Forbes, the market for elderly and disabled assistive devices (smart technologies) was valued at $14 billion in 2015 and is expected to surpass $26 billion by 2024.
Most expenses for home renovations will need to be paid out of pocket. Medicare or private insurance may cover the cost of medical equipment that’s installed in a home, but they don’t pay for home remodeling projects.
Senior Finances Handicap-Accessible Home with Life Settlement Proceeds
This case involved an actual life settlement transaction that was brokered in 2016 by our strategic partner, Asset Life Settlements. The senior suffered from a degenerative disease but wanted to remain in his own home rather than enter a long-term care facility. He no longer needed his $1 million life insurance policy and was able to use the $375,000 proceeds from the life settlement to finance an extensive remodeling project for his home.
If you are in the process of exploring the housing options and weighing the possibility of costly remodeling projects, you owe it to yourself to explore whether a life settlement is a solution you need to achieve your objectives.
Please contact Trust Life Settlements at 800-216-2513 if you have questions about this article or would like to determine whether you or your loved one qualifies for a life settlement. We will be happy to provide you with a no-obligation pricing analysis on the value of your policy.