Acknowledging that reverse mortgages are increasing becoming a subject for discussions when families are struggling to deal with long-term care expenses, elder law attorney, Janet Colliton warns that reverse mortgages are not the best option, especially when nursing home care is considered.
Writing as a guest columnist in the Daily Local News, serving Chester County, PA, Colliton points to the due and payable provisions in reverse mortgages should a borrower permanently leave a home to reside in a nursing home. However, she does not that "a more appropriate use for reverse mortgages" is for cases where a senior is intent on staying in their home indefinitely and after other options have been considered.
Colliton does not recommend paying off an existing mortgage with reverse mortgage because the reverse mortgage is more expensive than a traditional mortgage. A common refrain used to describe the product that she doesn't elaborate on.
Although her general theme in the column is warning against the use of a reverse mortgage, she raises reasonable considerations that borrowers and their families should weigh in considering financing options related to long-term care. The expected level of professional medical support and care required, along with the desire and capability for the senior to be able to remain in the home over time are important aspects to be discussed before making the decision to proceed with a reverse mortgage.
Additionally, Colliton is right to suggest that it is important for families to evaluate and understand available options for support from sources such as Medicaid or Aid and Attendance (a veterans aid group) and how they play into the overall planning for long-term care.
Colliton may not support the idea of a reverse mortgage, but the most important thing her article addresses is that the product deserves a place in the discussion of long-term care options and how to best provide for the needs and preferences of seniors to have the level of care necessary to enjoy the quality-of-life they deserve. Reverse mortgages present the ability to extend resources, potentially providing a higher level of security for seniors and their families as they look to address care expenses.