Planning for Elder Care by Brad Breeding – Takeaway #2: It is important to think about the continuum of care when planning for aging in retirement.
If we think about the cost of care, we know what care costs. Whether it’s assisted living, nursing care, in home care; we know those costs can be exorbitant in many cases. There is a difference between the cost of care and access to care, and both need to be planned for.
Many people end up on Medicaid because they have gone through assets paying for care.
There is a broad spectrum of retirement communities.
It is important to narrow down the choices and think about what’s often called the continuum of care.
On the top bar in the table below, at far left you’ll see a minus sign, the green section, that represents independent living. If you are living on your own and maybe still very active, you would be on the far left of this scale. Then let’s say over time you start to develop some needs; maybe an hour or two of help around the house during the week. When that happens you would move towards the right side of the green bar.
The aqua color in the middle represents assisted living. Maybe you need help with bathing, dressing, eating and other activities of daily living. Then as you move on across to the right, you really get into more advanced needs; maybe in some cases needs that can’t even be provided in the home, at least not practically. The far right would represent 24-hour skilled nursing care. This represents the full spectrum.
Retirement communities provide different levels of service
The reason this is important is that as you look at the different types of retirement communities out there, some providers focus on certain aspects of this continuum, while others may focus on other aspects. For example, an active adult planned community is a 55 and older development with clubhouse style amenities, maybe a pool, and maybe even a golf course. Residents own their home and everybody lives mostly independently. If a resident in a community like this develops assisted living or skilled care needs, it will not be equipped to provide for those needs.
Independent-plus are rental retirement communities. There’s a month-to-month rent that includes meals, some housekeeping, and other services. In some cases, it might provide personal care services in your own home if you need it. Others may even have some assisted living units onsite, and even memory care units. That’s also called independent-plus because residents have independent living plus some assisted living or memory care.
But there again, if you were to have advanced healthcare needs, acute types of needs or skilled nursing needs, that’s not going to be available within those communities. At some point, somebody living in one of these types of communities may have to move again. That’s something important to understand because these kinds of moves can be difficult.
There are also assisted living and skilled nursing communities. They are not even retirement communities even though they’re often referred to as retirement homes. More and more people under 65 actually have to move into skilled nursing communities just for disabilities they have and 24-hour needs.
Lastly, continuing care retirement communities are unique in that cover the full spectrum; everything from independent living all the way to skilled care. Residents typically move in when they’re healthy or independent, and as time goes on if they need services such as assisted living, memory care, or nursing care, those services are available in one location.
This Key Retirement Takeaway is excerpted from a recent webinar presented by Brad Breeding, CFP®, President and Co-Founder of MyLifeSite.net, and a nationally recognized expert speaker.
Brad’s financial planning background and extensive knowledge of the senior living industry allows him to provide valuable insights to those who are considering a retirement community, as well as to professionals who consult others in the decision process, including financial advisors, accountants, retirement living sales counselors, and others.
Brad and his colleagues at My LifeSite have carefully reviewed close to 1,000 disclosure statements and sample residency contracts for retirement communities across the United States. Before launching MyLifeSite, an online senior living research and forecasting tool, Brad spent 14 years as a personal financial advisor, focusing on sound planning for retirees.
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©2018, Brad Breeding. All rights reserved. Used with permission.