Archive for February, 2009
Sean Davis, a Reverse Mortgage Advisor for Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, Inc., explains what a Reverse Mortgage for Seniors is. Sean provides Reverse Mortgage information and resources for the clients of All Valley Home Care Spokane and All Valley Home Care Coeur d’ Alene.
What is a Reverse Mortgage for Seniors?
A Reverse Mortgage for Seniors allows a senior homeowner to convert a portion of the equity in his or her home, eliminating mortgage payments and gaining tax-free income without losing the title to his or her home. The equity in your home that has built up over the years of mortgage payments and appreciation can be paid to you. Unlike a traditional home equity loan or a second mortgage, no payment is required until the borrower(s) no longer uses the home as their principal residence. Reverse Mortgages offered by Genworth Financial Home Equity Access, Inc. (Genworth) are FHA insured and guaranteed.
Can I Qualify for a HUD Reverse Mortgage?
HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines require that a borrower is a homeowner; is 62 years of age or older; has a low enough mortgage balance that it can be paid off at the closing with the proceeds from a reverse mortgage loan; and must live in the home, to be eligible for a HUD Reverse Mortgage. The borrower(s) must receive consumer information from HUD-Approved counseling sources prior to completing the loan. NO Credit or Income qualifications are required.
What types of homes are eligible?
The home must be a single-family dwelling or a two-to-four unit property that is owner occupied. Townhouses, detached homes, units in condominiums and some manufactured homes are eligible. Condominiums must be FHA approved. It is possible for condominiums to qualify under the Spot Loan Program. The home must be in a reasonable condition and must meet HUD minimum property standards. In some cases, home repairs can be made after the closing of a Reverse Mortgage.
What’s the difference between a Reverse Mortgage and a Bank Home Equity Loan?
With a traditional second mortgage or a home equity line of credit, there must be sufficient income versus debt ratio to qualify for the loan, and monthly mortgage payments are required. The Reverse Mortgage is different in that it pays you and is available regardless of current income. The amount depends of age, current interest rate, other loan fees and the appraised home value or FHA’s mortgage limits for your area-whichever is less. As a home increases in value and the borrower ages, more money is available to borrowers. No payments must be made, because the loan is not due as long as the house remains the principal residence. As with all homeowners: Real Estate Taxes, Homeowners Insurance and other conventional payments like utilities must be paid.
Can the lender take my home away if I outlive the loan?
No! A borrower cannot outlive a Reverse Mortgage! Nor is the loan due. It does not have to be repaid as long as one of the borrower(s) continues to live in the house and keeps the taxes and insurance current. A borrower never has to repay more than the home’s value, which is referred to as a nonrecourse loan.
What’s the most you can owe?
Reverse Mortgages are nonrecourse loans, which means that in seeking repayment the lender does not have recourse to anything other than the Home. Not income, nor any other assets.
So even if a monthly loan amount advances until you are 115, the home declines in value between now and then, and the total of monthly payment advances become greater that the home’s value-you still can never owe more than the home’s value. If you or your heirs sell your home to pay off the loan, the debt is generally limited by the net proceeds from the sale. This is why mortgage insurance is so important. This insurance, which is part of your closing fees, ensures your heirs are not liable for a penny of your Reverse Mortgage after you are gone.
Michael Drake of All Valley Home Care in Spokane, Washington shares his thoughts on physician referrals for Non-Medical Home Care and Hospice Services. Michael also explains the differences between “for-profit” vs. “non-for-profit” hospice care.
We have all been there. You have an ailment or a sickness and need a referral from a physician for specialty services such as senior home care, hospice, senior rehabilitation services, or skilled nursing care. The physician says, “Okay, I’ll set up an appointment for you.” What we don’t see, is what happens behind the scenes.
The referral you may receive from the medical professional may not always be the best choice. There is always the possibility that the medical professional may be referring you to a friend, someone who refers to them, or it may be the physician’s own company! For instance, you may need senior home care to help your mother with Alzheimer’s disease. You make an appointment and take your mother to a Physician who also is the medical director of a senior in-home care agency. The physician is not only being paid during visits to his office, but also any time that your mother receives senior home care services through agency he is associated with. This is called self referring, and even though there may be a senior home care agency out there that provides better care, you go with the agency your physician recommended.
Whether or not you choose to go with your physician’s recommendation is not an issue as long as you know that you have a choice. It is against the law for any healthcare provider to instruct you otherwise or to deny you a signature for going with a provider they did not refer.
Another common misconception is understanding the difference between for-profit and non-for-profit hospice agencies; The difference between them is only a tax status and will not affect the cost of your health care. Insurance companies and Medicare pay the same rate to for-profit and non-for-profit agencies. The cost to you is the same for either as well. For-profit hospice agencies are dependant on meeting the needs of patients and providing the quality of care to be successful. Non-for-profit agencies receive grants and donations in addition to the funds from insurance companies. This means that their quality of care can be minimal and they will still have the same financial resources available to them! You can ask for tax forms from any non-for-profit agency to see the amount of income they receive and what percentage is spent on patient care and what percentage goes to other places, such as bonuses for workers and money to doctors for referrals.
The following tips will ensure you are always given an option to make the best choice when choosing health care:
- Inform your Physician that you want at least 3 choices in YOUR healthcare (this is regulated by law)
- Research the companies on the internet and through friends and family
- Interview each agency to see who you feel most comfortable with
- If your Physician does not give you a choice or tells you “NO”, call and report them to your state Board of Medicine. You can also report them to Medicare (1-800-medicare), or even your private insurance company.
- Do not be afraid of your physician because of your health insurance company.
- If you are a Medicare recipient, you can also contact SHIBA (1-800-488-5725) for help if your Medicare rights have been violated.
- View our blog post on Choosing a Quality Senior Home Care Agency
Choosing a Senior Home Care Agency
Posted by: Eric
There are several factors to consider when choosing a Senior Home Care Agency. These factors range from the quality of senior care a particular home care agency can provide, to their availability to be reached after office hours. Some other essential factors included whether or not they are licensed, bonded, and insured and whether or not they provide on-call service 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No matter how an individual ranks the importance of these factors, the fact remains that they should all be considered when choosing an senior in-home care agency.
1. Are they Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?
The first thing to consider when choosing any non-medical home care or senior home health care agency is whether or not they are fully licensed, bonded, and insured, this ensures the agency is reputable and respected. At Vida we require all of our Certified In-Home Care Agencies to be licensed, bonded and insured.
2. Is someone on call 24/7, 365 days a year?
Another factor to consider when choosing a senior home care agency is whether or not it is possible to contact the agency after business hours. There should always be someone on call before and after business hours that can answer questions, or assist someone in need. These on-call hours include all weekends and holidays. Every Vida Certified Senior Home Care Agency is required to have some one on call at all times.
3. Do they conduct reference and background checks on caregivers and office staff?
An important factor when considering senior home care services is whether or not the caregivers and office staff are fingerprinted and have an FBI background check performed on them. This guarantees that no one with a criminal record can enter a your senior loved one’s home. Every Vida Certified Home Care Agency is required to conduct background checks on their employees.
4. Does the agency strive to ensure continuity of care?
The last thing your senior loved one wants is inconsistency and constant change. Your senior loved one’s caregiver will not only build a relationship with their client, but will need know things essential to the plan of care, such as, where cleaning equipment is, daily meal plans, and preferred bathing and toileting routines. It is important to match a caregiver and client based on personality. Vida Senior Home Care Agencies strive for continuity of care between the caregiver and client, including matching the caregiver of your choice to work with your loved one.
5. Does the Senior Home Care Agency provide Quality of Care Supervision?
The final piece of the puzzle when choosing an in-home senior care agency is quality of care supervision. This includes a personal introduction between your loved one and the office staff of the agency every time there is a new caregiver, weekly phone calls to both the client and caregiver, and periodic on-site visits to your loved one’s home. At Vida we require our home care agencies to call both the client and caregiver after the first three visits to confirm that everything went well and ensure there are no questions or miscommunications. Additionally, all Vida agencies call every client and caregiver once a week just to check in, and make sure there are no problems of any kind. The office staff also conducts periodic visits to the client’s home to speak face to face, and visually check the quality of care being provided. These steps enable the staff to answer and solve any questions or concerns before they become a problem.
While there is no all-encompassing formula for choosing a senior home care agency, these things can help someone decide which agency will be able to help them the most. You can always call us at 1-866-273-2995 or visit our Senior In-Home Care Agency Directory for more assistance and information.
Pamela D. Wilson of TheCareNavigator.com shares her words of support once again to help provide client independence through education and information enabling web visitors to plan and make informed decisions on a wide range of available services by accessing quality Senior Care.
Pamela Dombrowski-Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG and CSA, Certified Senior Advisor, specializes in working with individuals and families to navigate healthcare and aging issues with a focus on maintaining independence and planning for long term care.
Many families come to me uncertain about whether or not their family member can remain at home when they are experiencing various physical or cognitive difficulties. In many cases this is possible, however when the situation is what I call “high need” sometimes I recommend and coordinate a variety of services. These normally all include Senior Home Care but also might include: a meal service that prepares meals to accommodate a special diet, physical, occupational or massage therapy to strengthen a weak or compromised body, a personal alert system in the event of a night time emergency or palliative or hospice care. Most individuals are comfortable and do best at home when proper care and precautions can be established. Quality home care is the basis around which additional needed services can be arranged.
Congress agreed to postpone the Digital Television Switch this last Wednesday. When the switch takes place analog television sets will be rendered useless without a digital converter box, satellite, or cable TV service. The delay comes as good news to the Senior community as many American Seniors may not have the digital converter boxes needed when the switch takes place.
The converter boxes can be purchased at local electronic stores. There are also coupons available to help offset the cost of converter boxes.
If your parent or loved one needs assistance locating and installing a digital converter box for their TV, our network of Senior In-Home Care Agencies would be more then happy to assist them. Just call 1-866-273-2995 or visit our Senior In-Home Care Agency Directory.