Tips for Helping to Make Moving Easier for Seniors

Collaboration: Grandfather and grandson assembling furniture

Where others may see “trash,” elderly family members and friends may see “treasures.” As America ages, more and more of us are trying to help family and friends move to smaller homes or into independent living communities. Talking to seniors about downsizing and releasing decades of treasures is not easy.

Here are a few tips to help seniors downsize.
Don’t pack away your patience. “Patience is a virtue.” When helping seniors make a move, you will most likely need a lot of patience. Remember, often they are leaving homes they have lived in for decades, are dealing with physical or mental ailments, and are moving out of necessity rather than desire. Helping anyone through a difficult life change takes patience and compassion.

Avoid tackling the whole house at one time. It may be more efficient for you to go full steam ahead, but elderly family members may be stressed emotionally and physically. Think in terms of months rather than days for helping elderly family members move. Tackle one room at a time to make this easier on you and them!

Ask yes-or-no questions rather than open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are more stressful. Rather than asking, “Which pots or pans do you want?” present a manageable question such as, “I have your best frying pan, a large pot and a small sauce pot. Does this work?” This makes it easier for seniors to make a decision faster.

Use the new space as a guide. Find out how much closet and cabinet space there will be in the new home and fill that space only. How big are the rooms? Mark that information off on a diagram to see exactly what space you have to fill and use. There’s no reason to bring too much stuff.

Encourage giving a gift now. Urge your parent not to wait for the next holiday, birthday, or other milestone to bestow; remind him that there’s no space for storage. Ask, “Why not enjoy the feeling of giving right now?” (And if you’re the recipient — just take it, and encourage your relatives to do the same. You can donate the item later, if you don’t want it, but the immediate need is to empty your parent’s house.)

Target recipients and charities for specialty items. It’s time-consuming to find willing recipients for everything, but it may be worth the effort for items that your parent would be relieved to see in a good home. Examples: Schools may welcome musical instruments, old costumes. Auto repair shops and community maintenance departments may take tools and yard tools.

Call on the professionals. A fast-growing specialty, senior move managers specialize in helping older adults and are skilled at both the emotional and practical dimensions of late-life transitions. These experts can defuse a parent-child emotional clash, while handling everything from sorting and packing through hiring movers and unpacking in the new place.

Encourage seniors to focus on their most used items and let the rest go. What seems useless to you may be the most comforting item a senior has. The newest item isn’t necessarily the most favored item. Learn the story behind something…find out why the old plastic tumblers are preferred over new, sparkling glasses.

Aging is a fact of life. Taking a few steps at a time can help make any move easier.

Understanding the Nuts and Bolts of Reverse Mortgages

Seniors Dancing At Home
Your home represents many things: safety, independence, and memories to name a few. Now, with a reverse mortgage, it can also be a source of income. A reverse mortgage can meet financial needs and ensure that you can stay in your home as long as you choose.

What is a reverse mortgage?
It is a loan against your home that does not have to repaid as long as live in your home. Learn more here about what a reverse mortgage is and how you can use the funds.

What is so unique about the program?
The borrower is NEVER required to make a monthly payment. It is a loan in “reverse.” Instead of making payments, you can receive them.

Will this loan affect my Social Security or Medicare?
No, absolutely not.

Will I have to pay income tax on the money I receive?
No. The money is considered proceeds of a loan and not taxable.

How much do I qualify for?
It depends on your age(s) and the value of your home as well as the interest rate at the time of closing. The older you are the more money you get.

Will I have to pay an up-front application/appraisal fee?
At Universal Lending you will not have to pay these fees out of pocket; they are included in your loan.

What are my responsibilities?
You and/or your spouse must live in the home, keep the property in good condition and make sure your taxes and insurance are paid on a yearly basis.

Do I have to own my home free and clear?
No, even if you have an existing loan, reverse mortgage proceeds can be used to pay the loan in full and you would never have another house payment.

When is the loan due?
The loan is due when you and your spouse no longer live in the home as your primary residence.

Is this a safe loan?
Yes. It is an FHA-Insured loan administered by the federal government.

Are reverse mortgages expensive?
Because of recent program changes, some reverse mortgages are less expensive than in years past.

Will I still own my home?
Yes. You DO NOT give up title to your property and you can sell and move at any time.

Can my wife and I get a reverse mortgage if I am over 62 but she is not?
Yes, only one borrower has to be 62 or older.

What questions should I ask a potential lender?
Ask if they process and underwrite their loans in state; you want your paperwork done locally. Make sure your lender has years of experience and ask how long they have been providing reverse mortgages. Ask if their loan officer will meet you face to face to explain the paperwork.

How can I be sure it is right for me?
A meeting with a HUD-approved housing agency is required. They will sit down with you (and your family if you like), to explain this program so you can make an informed decision.

Can I purchase a new home with a reverse mortgage?
Yes, the program is called Reverse for Purchase. It’s a great option for customers who want to downsize, move closer to their kids or buy a home with no outside maintenance and have no house payments.

Don’t try to learn all there is to  know about reverse mortgages online. Universal Lending is honored to work with one of the nation’s foremost experts on these loans. Contact us today to learn more.