Housing Option 1 - Owning a Home

Owning a Home

This may include single family homes, condominiums, cooperatives and manufactured or mobile homes.  When in their own homes, many older adults live independently. Also, homeowners may obtain in-home support services and community services to support their continued independence.

Many older adults want to stay in the homes where they have lived for many years. For others, downsizing to a smaller home is an alternative.  Active adult communities and retirement communities are increasingly an option.  While remaining in one’s own home may be highly desirable for older adults, the wisdom of doing so depends on making certain that health, social and financial needs are met.


Possible Benefits of owning your home:

  • Staying close to family, friends and neighbors
  • The comfort and familiarity of existing social networks, neighborhood and community
  • The privacy of your own home. 
  • Maintaining an existing financial asset (and perhaps your largest)
  • You may want to purchase a home in a community with others in your age range and that offers activities and amenities to serve your needs and interests

Challenges of owning your home:

  • The responsibility for the home’s physical maintenance and upkeep.
  • It may need modifications to make it possible to live in comfortably and safely.
  • Social isolation
  • Potential need for support services and home healthcare or monitoring
  • Potential financial burden if on a fixed or limited income.

Personal Considerations—Questions to Ask About Home Ownership:

  • Is remaining at home a short-term or a long-term plan?
  • If I remain at home, how will my social, health and financial needs be met?
  • Do I have equity in my home?  If so, what are ways to obtain a loan and use it?
  • Is house sharing an option to consider?
  • Am I eligible for any home repair programs that are completed by volunteers?
  • Are there programs available to help me pay for the costs of home repairs, home modifications, home heating expenses, weatherization, utility bills and other expenses of maintaining a home?
  • Would modifying my home permit me to continue living there?  If so, how do I find a qualified remodeler? Is the remodeler I am considering a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist? Are there volunteers from my local Area Agency on Aging who can help me?
  • What universally design products and features should I consider to make my home safer and more comfortable?
  • Am I eligible for any property tax relief programs in my state?
  • Am I eligible for any in-home support services through federal, state or local programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid?
  • Can I use my long-term care insurance policy to pay for in-home support services?


    Key Legal Issues to Consider

    • The uses for reverse mortgage loans. These loans can be used to pay for expenses, such as medical and long-term care needs, and home repairs and modifications.
    • The impact that a reverse mortgage loan or the income from house sharing may have on eligibility for public benefits.
    • The effect of receiving Medicaid services on the transfer of the title of the home after the home owner dies.
    • The use of a life estate to allow the homeowner to remain in the home if the sale or transfer of the property is being considered.
    • The importance of having a will, if a homeowner’s wishes are to be followed regarding the person or entity to receive the home after the homeowner’s death.

    Caregivers Handbook

    This handy guide provides resources, checklists and worksheets
     - all in one place.