Do you think there’s a healthier, happier way to spend your retirement years — but are concerned it may be too expensive? If so, you need to learn more about what’s included in a Life Plan Community, also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). It may be more affordable — and a much better value — than you realized.
What is a Life Plan Community?
These communities offer an approach to the aging process that accommodates residents’ changing needs. Healthy older adults can reside independently in single-family homes or apartments. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they can move into assisted living or skilled nursing, most often on site. The advantages of these communities include:
- Living in one location for life, with no need to move if you someday require higher levels of care
- An enormous level of comfort for you and your family, taking much of the stress out of the caregiving relationship
- Access to health services such as assisted living, rehabilitation, memory care and skilled nursing at predictable costs, for life
What else makes senior living a good value?
Your lifelong peace of mind and wellness are foremost. But there are many other ways a Life Plan Community can add to your ease and quality of life:
- Meal plans can include choices of dining venues and nutritious chef-prepared meals, enjoyed in the company of like-minded friends and neighbors.
- Your residence is completely maintained by a diligent staff, relieving you of most household responsibilities.
- Wellness programs include regular screenings, healthful activities and events, and on-site amenities that may include indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, gardens, and walking trails
- Community resident-planned activities include social events, entertainment and lifelong learning opportunities.
How does the cost of a Life Plan Community compare with aging in place?
Of course, every family’s situation is unique. These are some things for you to consider as you make this comparison for yourself:
- According to the 2017 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median daily rate of a home health aide is about $135 — daily year-round help would come to over $49,000 annually.
- The costs of assisted living and skilled nursing care are skyrocketing. According to a September 2017 report in Forbes, “A private room in a nursing home now costs consumers more than $8,000 per month, or $96,000 per year … an increase of 5.5% from just one year ago and a nearly 50% increase since 2004.” At a Life Plan Community, the costs for higher levels of care are more predictable and are usually well below market rates.
- As you age, keeping your home safe can be costly. AARP recommends nonslip flooring in the kitchen, bathroom and elsewhere; widening doorways; step-free entrances; and security and/or warning systems. These items can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
What makes the most sense for you?
Tour a few Greenville, SC, retirement communities with one or more family members or a trusted friend. Ask for their schedule of costs. Then get together with your family and a calculator and compare it with what you pay now in mortgage, utilities, insurance, property taxes, transportation, home maintenance, health care, groceries and entertainment. You just might decide a Life Plan Community offers far more than you imagined — and is the best value for you.