MRC Pinecrest Senior Living Icon Lufkin, TX

Does Moving to a Retirement Community Make $ense? Top Four questions you should ask yourself.

Does Moving to a Retirement Community Make $ense? Top Four questions you should ask yourself.

Should you move into a retirement community, or should you age-in-place? 

With a variety of attractive options for today's senior, this decision can be overwhelming. On one hand, the senior living industry has made huge strides in the last 20 years, offering more attractive services and amenities than ever before. Meanwhile, home based services have expanded to bring almost anything you might ever need directly to your door. From home maintenance services to grocery delivery, it seems the sky is the limit on what the average American can order without ever getting up from their armchair.

With so much to consider in the future, and so many options to sort through, it's no surprise that many seniors report feeling paralyzed by the enormity of this decision. Let's explore the four questions you should ask yourself to better understand what might make the most sense for you.

1. What will work best for me financially?

When you look to senior living, there are some communities that offer Independent Living only. Others provide a more comprehensive approach to support the needs of residents who may experience a change in health that requires more daily support, typically in an Assisted Living or Memory Support neighborhood on the same campus. These communities are called Continuing Care Retirement Communities but are most commonly referred to with the acronym, CCRC.

As you consider the CCRC model, there are two basic options you might encounter, either a rental community, or an entrance fee community. The rental community offers a month-to-month approach that can be attractive to those who are seeking a lesser commitment. For example, you may wish to move again down the road making this the ideal plan. It is important to note that with a minimal commitment contract comes a slightly higher monthly fee to absorb the risk of a more come-and-go group of residents.

Meanwhile, the entrance fee community provides a slightly lower monthly fee for the same services and amenities, but with the initial cost of a largely refundable entrance fee. This fee is typically the equivalent to the average home value in the area. However, it is notable that these fees are often mostly refundable to the estate after the resident leaves the community. Most communities have a variety of refundable plans, each offering a different percent refunded in exchange for other pricing perks. When shopping with these communities, you should make sure you explore all of the options they provide to customize the best fit for you. The best candidate for an entrance fee community is the senior who is prepared to put down roots in the community and lock in a future plan with their organization of choice. Possibly the most attractive part of the entrance fee community is that the contract often comes with a HealthCare Benefit that provides a significant discount for future care services. The HealthCare Benefit provides the extra financial protection to one's estate should future care be a concern. The plan also puts other securities in place for the resident to ensure there is priority access to future care and alternative solutions, even when no space is available.

2. Does homeownership support my future goals?

There is no doubt, owning a home comes with a multitude of demands on your budget, time, and energy. While your home has been a place of comfort and confidence for many years, you must consider if the same sense of security will continue in the future, especially if you choose to age-in-place. The average senior who stays home rather than moving to a community must think through the necessary accommodations to be successful in that environment. Between grab bars, higher toilets, and ramps, most spend between $3,000 to $15,000 on similar adaptations. However, those who wish to fully renovate their home might spend up to $50,000 on things like widened doorways or renovated kitchens or bathrooms. Additionally, the cost of a 24/7 caregiver is projected to run roughly $24 per hour which can translate to over $17,000 per month, more than double the cost of living in an Assisted Living community. Other considerations should be the workload of homeownership and safety of the neighborhood, along with the probability of experiencing isolation if transportation or mobility becomes an issue down the road.

3. How will I protect my wellbeing throughout the aging process?

Experts at The Eden Alternative educate on the three plagues that rob the average senior of a more successful aging experience: loneliness, boredom, and helplessness (lack of purpose). Considering your wellbeing must be a critical part of the decision-making process. As you consider which path is best, take an honest look at which environment allows greater connectivity to friendship, stimulating activity, and meaning in each day. There is no doubt that a retirement community offers a multitude of ways to be social, as well as purposeful ways to contribute. Nurturing a similar lifestyle is also possible while aging-in-place but considerations should be made for how this engaged lifestyle may be impacted if there is a change in health or mobility. It's important to understand that prolonged isolation is often the point of entry for boredom, which soon leads to loneliness, and eventually, a loss of purpose.

4. How will my decision impact those I love?

The average adult child caregiver spends roughly 20 hours per week caring for their aging parent. This is the equivalent to a part-time job! While most would say that they are happy to take on the role, the toll it takes on these willing compassionate caregivers should be considered. Statistically, taking on the role of a caregiver, especially as the primary caregiver, opens them up to a much higher probability of stress, health decline, and depression. Often, seniors avoid moving to Assisted Living or contracting with a Home Health agency stating, "My daughter will take care of me for free." Once you consider the emotional, physical, mental toll it takes on the average caregiver, you will likely see that it is not free at all. It can be one of the costliest arrangements a family may endure, even though it may not cost a dime.

Hopefully these questions have prompted some meaningful thoughts for you to work through. Next, you may wish to consider prompting conversation with those within your inner circle of friends and family. They may have new insights you hadn't considered. Finally, begin the research process. Explore senior living communities in your area, ask detailed questions about their contracts and fees, while also taking a good look at their programs. Pay special attention to the satisfaction of those living in the community and ask for a chance to try the food and engage in some activities to ensure you are compatible with the lifestyle the community offers.

With some time of honest self-reflection and a little research, you will soon know whether or not moving to a retirement community makes sense for you.

« Back to Blog

Explore the sights & sounds.

MRC Pinecrest Senior Living Discovery Arrow, Lufkin,TX