There’s a lot to consider when it comes to retirement living options. Dr. Jim McCabe, president of Eldercare Resources, helps hundreds of families with elder care, retirement, and long-term care planning. Below, he shares his top tips to help you make the decision that’s best for you.
The Newest and Most Popular Options
There are several different models of retirement communities available – from 55 and older active lifestyle communities to nursing facilities. The newest and most popular option is a Continuum of Care Retirement Community, or CCRC. These properties allow the aging to move just once, as they offer multiple levels of care from independent living all the way through skilled nursing and hospice care. The broad array of services makes CRCCs a good option not only for those with failing health, but also those that are still healthy and just ready to let go of the responsibility of maintaining a home.
Kick the Tires
When first considering a retirement community, start with these three parameters:
- Financial – What kind of investment are you willing and able to make?
- Geography – What sort of climate do you prefer? Are you staying local or moving to be near family?
- Amenities – What’s offered onsite and nearby?
Understand the Financials
Once you are serious about a property, ask about their business model and what the contract involves. Most properties should be transparent about this. Many have equity contracts that, based on your initial investment, offer a death benefit paid to a named beneficiary. Some contracts include monthly charges for housecleaning and meals, whereas with others you may be buying your unit. I recently had a client move from one community to another, and, while her husband’s health condition hadn’t changed, they were required in the new community to have his medications administered by the staff, rather than her, which increased their monthly cost. All properties and contracts are different, so it’s important to learn how this will impact your finances, including any tax implications. You will also want to make sure you understand how any of your existing long-term care insurance policies fit into the equation.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Visit
Visit properties while it still seems fun and before there’s a true need. With no pressure financially or a specific timeframe for a decision, you can make a sound decision. Just give them a call and ask to come by for lunch and a tour.
Double Check the Details
Before making any commitment, be sure to think through practical things. What possessions can you take with you? What will fit in the newer, typically much smaller, square footage? Often we refer clients to professional organizers familiar with this downsize process to help with this challenging task. How will your time be defined there, and will anything replace time that you currently spend on activities or hobbies now? Does the property allow pets? Are grandkids allowed to use the pool? Are all levels of service offered onsite, or if you or your spouse requires skilled care, will it be hard for the healthy spouse to visit? Paying attention to details up front can help you avoid any unwelcome surprises down the road.
Involve Your Family in the Decision
Bringing in your family early in the process can help avoid resistance from children or grandchildren that don’t want to see you leave your home or are afraid that you’re giving up part of your lifestyle. Let them visit the property with you and be part of the decision in a positive way.
There is a wide variety of retirement communities to choose from today and finding the one that’s right for you can be an exciting time. If you would like to receive a complimentary retirement housing checklist from Dr. Jim McCabe, including 20 questions to ask when considering a retirement home, just use the contact link at the top of the page to reach out to us. If you would like to speak with us about planning well financially for such a move please schedule a complimentary meeting below…
Here’s to living your best day, every day.
CFP® , Certified Financial Transitionist®
Founder and CEO, Gates Pass Advisors
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CFA, Certified Financial Transitionist®
Associate Advisor, Gates Pass Advisors
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