When considering where to spend your retirement, there are a variety of options to choose from. The first option is staying in your own house. The other option is to move. If you decide to move, you have to choose between a 55+ community, assisted living, or a Continuing Care Retirement Community.
Staying in Your House
At first glance, staying at the house you’ve lived in may seem like the best option. You likely own it or have very little left on the mortgage. However, a house comes with a lot of unexpected expenses and maintenance. If you live in your house and the roof starts leaking, you have to find a contractor and have it fixed. You have to dust, vacuum, and wash windows and baseboards. You have yard work, and must clean up after a storm. If you travel, you have to find someone to watch your house for you. Finally, if you ever need to bring in care services, there is a high cost for private, in-home nursing care.
Choosing to Move
Moving to a 55+ Community is a great way to cut down on some of your household and landscaping maintenance. You’d be surrounded by peers and the community usually has some activities planned for you to participate in. They also typically offer wellness programs or amenities. However, 55+ communities typically do not offer any health care services. So, if your health care needs were to ever change, you’d have to hire expensive in-home care, or pack up everything and move again to an assisted living community. If your partner doesn’t need assisted living, they will have to stay in the 55+ community, while you are in a different community, possibly miles away.
Assisted living communities are a good option for individuals who need help doing daily tasks. Typically, the monthly service fee covers your residence, plus services and amenities that are needed. The downside to moving directly from your house to assisted living is that most often, it’s a decision that is made largely for you. If someone suddenly needs a high level of care, it is likely that the adult children are the ones conducting the search and choosing the right community for their parent, in a short amount of time. Additionally, if only one spouse needs higher levels of care, the couple may be split up.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers the best aspects of a 55+ community with the safety and security of access to assisted living and skilled nursing care, should your healthcare needs ever change. Continuing Care Retirement Communities typically charge an entrance fee and a monthly service fee, which covers your residence, services, amenities, and more. You don’t have to do any home or yard maintenance, and you have priority access to the community’s higher levels of care. When you decide to go on vacation, you know that your home will be monitored and taken care of. Choosing to move to a CCRC keeps YOU in control. You choose the community that you want to live in, and remove the burden of decision making from your children or family. Because a CCRC offers independent living as well as higher levels of care, if one partner needs more care than the other, you’re still able to see your loved one as often as you’d like.