"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones - the ones at home." -Mother Teresa

We all appreciate our homes as a source and symbol of our independence. From the moment we buy our first home, and even as we get older, our homes often represent much more to us than just a place to live.

But even dream homes that were convenient when we were younger can be problematic in our senior years.

If you have clients approaching their elder years – or have clients with elderly parents – who have decided to age in place, it’s important to discuss how to best reconfigure their homes to accommodate their new or changing needs. You might be asking: “Why would that matter to me?” I’m not a carpenter or a builder! No, you’re their trusted financial advisor, and reconfiguring a home can be costly and that impacts their financial plan. You need to play a crucial role helping your clients make cost-effective choices that accomplish their short-term objectives while not forfeiting their long-term economic security.

A smart first step toward sound, long-term, eldercare planning is to focus on the safety of the home to prevent accidents that can be life-changing and potentially wipe out savings.

Working in partnership with The Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, we developed a Home Safety Assessment Checklist – a guide to the features of a home that may be unsafe for your clients or their parents as they age[1].   

Here is just a snap-shot of the important questions senior homeowners should consider:  


While there are many easy and inexpensive improvements that can be made to help improve their safety such as grab bars in bathrooms, handrails and wider entry ways, other changes might be substantial. It’s important to keep in mind:

  • If your client has Medicare they can ask their primary doctor for a prescription for a home safety evaluation from an occupational therapist who has the skills and knowledge to evaluate the safety of their home.
  • Any home modifications they decide to make should be conducted by licensed and bonded contractors that are familiar with Universal Design principles.

Help your aging clients, or clients with aging parents, create a safe environment so they can reduce the risks of accidents that can potentially lead to personal and financial disaster.



For more information, or for a copy of the Legg Mason brochure: Aging and Its Financial Implications: Planning for Housing created in collaboration with The Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, please visit http://www.myleggmason.com (and quickly register if you are not already a user).  Look for the aging program content under Business Building> Business Development> Wealth Management.

Kathleen Pritchard has over 28 years of experience in the financial services industry, and has spent the last 8 years providing advisors with innovative ways to look at their practice and client base. Kathleen is a dynamic, engaging and passionate speaker and coach and is committed to ensuring her ideas lead advisors to further distinction in the marketplace. She is a National Spokesperson for Legg Mason serving the wirehouse, regional, independent, bank and insurance channels. She represents Legg Mason at industry conferences and events across the country. Please look for her at the next industry event you attend.

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. Legg Mason is not affiliated with WealthManagement.com or Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
© 2014 Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC. Member FINRA, SIPC. Legg Mason Investor Services, LLC is a subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc. FN1410153

[1] Legg Mason Global Asset Management. Aging and Its Financial Implications: Planning for Housing, June  2013