Decision Tree Answer
Maybe you own a single-family residence where you have lived for years and raised a family there in a neighborhood and community that you know well. This residence might also be where you lived during your active career years.
And now you find yourself or you and your partner find that you are empty nesters. So, is it time for a change? That change might be a move an active independent retirement community.
Here are some items to consider as you explore this lifestyle change:
The first step is to fully evaluate your financial situation – Are you financially well-prepared for long term rental and you have no worries about running out of money? If this is the case, then it is time to explore the different types of active independent retirement communities.
- Active Independent Retirement Community with amenities – these are generally lifestyle communities that may be built around an activity such as golfing or a lake. Active Independent Retirement Communities in general do not have higher levels of care such as assisted living and memory care. They may offer apartments and even cottage homes or duplexes. They may or may not have a meal program, but they may have a club house with a restaurant on the property. Most of these communities have activity programs and special events for their residents.
- Life Care Community or Life Plan Community – this type of retirement community has multiple levels of housing options from active independent retirement, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing all on one large campus. They usually offer many amenities and social programs along with extensive meal programs. They are also known as Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) as once you move in, as your needs change then there are services on the campus to serve you. In some cases, you would move to a different building as your needs change or you may be able to stay in the same apartment. All of these are good questions to ask when you tour the property.
More about Life Care Communities
Life Care Communities are also sometimes set up with a buy-in structure. The buy-in structure may be an entry fee that may or may not be refundable (be sure to ask). Note that along with the buy-in structure, there are also monthly rental fees for your apartment along with fees for services. A life care contract typically requires a larger entry fee (and possibly even higher monthly fees for independent living) than a modified or a fee-for-service contract, but the resident would pay less for assisted living or healthcare services.
Next you want to think about where you want to live geographically
Do you want to be in a retirement community that is close to where your primary residence was, or do you want to move closer to family or friends? This is a good time to think about the type of climate you want to retire to.
Keep in mind that a move to any retirement community does limit visitors under age 55. So, if you have grandchildren that you like to have visit you for long periods, then you need to think about how to handle this. Almost all retirement communities do have guest suites, much like a hotel that residents can rent for visitors.
Housing Placement Professionals
Another tip when looking for a retirement community (or higher levels of housing for older adults), is to enlist the services of housing placement professional. Housing placement professionals educate themselves on the available housing in a certain geographic area and when you contact them, they can direct you to the type of property you are interested in. There services are most often at no charge to consumers as the property pays the housing placement professional a referral fee if you move into a property that they referred you to.
The Cost of Care When Needs Change
When we discussed evaluating your financial situation at the beginning of this article, a good step when contemplating downsizing and moving to a retirement community is to really understand the cost of higher levels of care such as assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. GenWorth Financial, Inc. maintains a web page where you can truly understand the cost of care based on the care setting and geographic location of care.
Source: AgeWise Colorado Contributor
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging and 2-1-1 and they may know of additional resources on this topic.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
An Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a public nonprofit agency designated by a state to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at the regional and local levels. AAAs are primarily responsible for a geographic area, also known as a planning and service area (PSA), that is either a city, a single county, or a multi-county district. AAAs coordinate and offer services that help older adults remain in their homes, if that is their preference, aided by services such as home-delivered meals, homemaker assistance, and whatever else it may take to make independent living a viable option.
Find your local AAA by visiting their website or calling 1-800-677-1116.
2-1-1 is a confidential and multilingual service connecting people to vital resources across the state. No matter where you live in Colorado, you can find information about resources in your local community. Dial 2-1-1 from your phone or visit their website.
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