This month, we will explore the different types of communities retirees are considering moving to, from assisted living to continuing care retirement communities, and the financial implications associated with each option.
Retirement living options are a far cry from “the old-age” homes of yore. There are many different types of communities available, ranging from independent living, to assisted living, to a hybrid of the two with continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). A continuing care retirement community is a life plan community that has independent living, assisted living, and nursing care on the same property.
Assisted living communities offer recreational activities and maintenance-free living, similar to CCRCs. The benefit of assisted living communities is they offer assistance for those retirees who need help with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, taking medications, etc. If you need more help than the community offers, there are options for professional supplemental care, which is above your base rent. Certain long-term care policies will pay for assisted living; however, Medicare does not cover these communities.
While still in good health, but anticipating care in the future, many healthy retirees are moving to continuing care retirement communities that cater to a broad range lifestyle preferences and housing options. Most continuing care retirement communities offer maintenance-free living, security, and access to various levels of care if/when needed.
Here are a few things to discuss if you are considering an assisted living or continuing care retirement community:
- How is your health? Most CCRCs require that you’re in good health before moving into the community. Assisted living facility’s staff can assist with activities of daily living.
- Can you afford it? Assisted living communities have a base rent, which usually covers some utilities, housekeeping, and meals. CCRCs require initial entrance fees plus monthly fees and fees for extras, such as meal service or housekeeping. There are typically 3 types of contracts – Type A, B, or C. Which contract makes the most sense for your situation?
- Do you have a long-term care insurance policy? The policy could be used to pay for care, without coming out-of-pocket. Medicare cannot be used to pay for assisted living communities.
- What happens if your health circumstances dramatically change? You may have to move out of the assisted living community if you require more care. At CCRCs, you will be able to move to assisted living or memory care within their property. You should understand what circumstances would trigger a refund to you or your estate should a change occur.
We suggest you get as much information as you can to make an apples-to-apples comparison. Have meaningful conversations with family and/or trusted financial advisor about your options and the related financial implications. We can help you evaluate all your available options so that you make the right move for you.
Life’s a journey––navigate it wisely!