Mary Kane, associate editor of Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, published a comprehensive guide for consumers who wish to start planning ahead so that they can successfully age in place.

“If you’ve lived in your home for many years, your equity may be your most available source of financing,” says Kane. “You could take out a home equity line of credit or a reverse mortgage to pay for renovations or in-home care. However, tapping your equity means giving up something in return, particularly if you intend on giving your home to your children or other heirs after you die.”

Alternative options can include working out an arrangement with your children to pay for renovations now and then remunerating them with the home after your death. Or, if you don’t want to be a burden to your children, use the equity now to pay for your care and home maintenance. “All this entails having a difficult family conversation sooner, rather than later,” says Kane.

Strengthening your social fabric now, she adds, might be just as important as shoring up your finances and installing a curbless shower. Building a network of support among friends and neighbors, and establishing strong ties in your community, from volunteering to just enjoying casual conversations at the local coffee shop, play important roles in keeping older adults healthy and functioning, experts say. You won’t age in place well if you’re isolated and alone, a reality you don’t want to overlook as you consider your housing and financial options.

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