I first became involved with reverse mortgages when my mother was diagnosed with early symptoms of a memory disorder.  The doctors were not sure if the condition was dementia or Alzheimer’s, but my father came to me asking if a reverse mortgage would be a viable option to generate cash if we had to put my mother in a retirement home.

At that time, I had been in the mortgage business for 16 years (21 years now) but had a very limited exposure to reverse mortgage.  So I started to research what was available, and got very frustrated.  How many ways are there to say;
          if you are 62 or older, and have equity in your home,
          you might qualify for a reverse mortgage!

This is all true of course, but there were more factors to be considered, creating a more complex decision.  That took me on a road to investigate what programs were available and how they could help my parents. 

During that time I have read countless articles, white papers, and studies on aging, aging in place, and financial planning for seniors.  I have attended numerous seminars and classes, including becoming a Certified Senior Advisor which entailed taking intensive seminars,which I highly recommend for anyone dealing with the senior community.

Since I began this journey, I have dealt with some of the classic trials of dealing with aging parents.  My father fell and broke his hip, and passed about a year later from heart failure.  My mother has heart trouble, vertigo, and has had 3 TIA's (mini-strokes) from which she has recovered fairly well.  My childhood home where she still resides, is much too big for her, but I don't think dynamite or heavy earth moving equipment could get her out of that house.  We have modified her home to allow her to live there safely, but my heart still stops temporarily whenever I see her number on the cell phone, wondering if there is another problem.

Throughout all that, they still did not get a reverse mortgage... because it was not appropriate for them.  My mother has managed to stay out of a retirement home, in spite of several falls, and there are other sources of funds that will be used before choosing a reverse mortgage.  Having said that, I would not hesitate for a moment to put a reverse mortgage on her home if it was needed!

(December 2010 update)  In January 2010 my mother had two massive strokes followed by a pulmonary embolism.  She added to this nasty trio by falling and breaking her pelvis in May.  She is now cognatively impared, and despite our attempts to keep her in the home, is now in assisted living.  Her home is on the market (after being my summer project to clean, repair, and update), and we are hoping for a sale soon.

When I talk with people regarding reverse mortgages, that is the perspective that I bring to the table.  If the reverse mortgage meets your needs, fantastic, it is a great program for you.  If not, that is OK too; I just want you to make your choice based on knowledge. 

I can not and will not bring pressure on you to make a decision.  Taking a reverse mortgage is a huge decision, and will impact the rest of your life.  You may not be my parents, but you are someones' parents, and we will treat you with the respect you deserve.

 Scott Larson

Scott Larson
(408) 315-2503


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