Elder Law with Frank and Mary: Planning to Stay Home


It’s January. It’s cold. The holidays are over. What a great time to hunker down and stay home. There’s no place like home. Now may be a good time to consider your options to stay home as long you can.

First, take a fresh look at your home. Is it a safe place for you to live as you get older? Does the bathroom have the grab bars you may need? Are the washer and dryer in the basement? You may want to talk to a home repair person who specializes in retrofitting homes to see what it would take to make your home as safe as possible.

Next, figure out how you would pay for those home modifications. While you’re doing that, work out how much it would cost you to have someone to come in and help you around the house. Call the folks at Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands (ESCCI). They can tell you what home care might cost, and whether you are eligible for subsidies.

Finally, if you don’t have the savings to cover the home repairs and home care you may need, plan ahead to use your home as the source of funds to pay for those expenses. In my seminar this month, I discuss HELOCs and reverse mortgages. If you need the funds to help you stay at home, these options will help you access those funds quickly and easily.

I will turn 72 this month. I appreciate that anxieties come with getting older. We can’t make those anxieties go away, but we can reduce them. It’s January. You’re stuck at home anyway. So rather than worry about your future, plan for it. You’ll sleep better. And the next thing you know, it will be spring.

If you want to learn more about this topic, check out my January seminar on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary, and 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. If you have any questions, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur and Leah are elder law attorneys in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.