Elder Law: Planning to Stay Home


Most seniors hope they can live in their home until they die. But hope is not a plan. Here are some tips:

  • Make your home safe. Many falls and injuries are preventable if you take steps to adapt your home to age safely. Contractors and other services can make recommendations for how to make it safer. There is a special state-funded program, the Home Modification Loan Program, which may lend you up to $50,000 (often interest-free) to make improvements that make your house safer.
  • Make sure you have the money to stay home. A couple of suggestions:

Depending on your income, you may be able to defer real estate taxes until you die or sell the house.

Consider a reverse mortgage, on which you owe no interest unless you use it and, even then, only after you die or sell the house.

  • Learn about programs that can help you. The first place to go is the senior center. The next place is Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands. There are great programs available to help you stay at home.

I will be discussing staying at home in more depth during this month’s elder law virtual seminar, which can be watched on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary, and on your local cable station, MVTV, along with the Frank and Mary on the Vineyard cable TV show, where my co-host, Sandie Corr-Dolby, and I address many common issues facing seniors and the resources available during the pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur P. Bergeron is an elder law attorney in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.