Retirement is an exceptional milestone, one where we can finally pursue our own passions and savor the lifestyle that we’ve worked so hard to achieve. Many older adults find that life in a senior living community gives them a more sociable, maintenance-free and enjoyable retirement than trying to keep up a traditional family home. This is especially true for the 70% of older adults who will require some kind of long-term care.
As you evaluate your choices, you may wonder if a Life Care community is the right choice for you, or if a month-to-month rental makes more sense. This checklist will help you determine which type of living arrangement is best for your financial situation and preferred lifestyle.
Life Care vs. Rental Communities
There are key financial and lifestyle differences between choosing a monthly rental versus a long-term, future-focused Life Care community.
What is a Life Care Community?
Life Care communities offer residents access to higher levels of care within that community, as health needs change over time. Life Care residents enjoy their own private residence, access to a wide range of amenities and on-site, long-term care for life.
Residents gain access to care through a contractual agreement that requires an upfront entrance fee, as well as a predictable fee each month. Depending on the contract type, residents need never worry about their monthly fees changing even if their health care needs do.
What is a Rental Community?
Rental communities can vary significantly in their offerings. Typically, independent living rental communities are geared toward older adults looking for flexible living solutions. They may offer some services and amenities, but they will generally be less robust than those in a Life Care community. While assisted living or memory care might be available, your monthly fees could surge as you progress into higher levels of care. Any short-term care would be billed at market rates.
These costs could be significant. For instance, a 55-year-old couple retiring in 2022 could expect to spend nearly one million dollars in medical expenses in their lifetime if costs continue to rise just 2% per year. Healthcare costs rose 14.5% in 2022 alone.
Reasons a Life Care Community Might Be Right for You
One of the biggest benefits of Life Care is that it enables older adults to account for future healthcare needs now. This provides them and their loved ones with a clear plan for their long-term care, and can reduce the stress associated with rising healthcare costs. It also allows residents to take control of their care needs now, determining where they will receive care and how it will be paid for before those needs change.
Family medical history should always be a major consideration when choosing a community. Even if you don’t need care now, your family history can give you a good idea of what your needs might be in the future. For example, those with a history of Alzheimer’s or dementia often find the guaranteed access to memory care a significant incentive in preparing for whatever the future might hold.
Even without a family history, however, the odds that older adults will need some form of long-term care is high. It’s estimated that 70% of seniors will need a high level of long-term support and services.
Comfort and Stability
The comfort and stability that Life Care provides can’t be overlooked. As a Life Care resident, you will receive care in the community where you live. This eliminates the need for a big move later in life, allowing you the freedom to build new relationships within the community. You will also have the certainty of knowing that the costs for this care have already been met, and will require no future changes on your part.
Reasons a Rental Community Might Be Right for You
Less Financial Commitment
For those who don’t want to make a long-term financial commitment, a rental community can be a more favorable option. These communities don’t require an entrance fee, and there is typically no financial penalty should you decide to move, as long as you give the required notice.
While rental communities don’t have all the assurances of Life Care, they can offer more flexibility. As with any other rental property, you can give notice and move without any additional financial penalties. For those who travel frequently or are still exploring Life Care communities, the flexibility gives them a chance to try community living without a significant financial investment. However, should circumstances or care needs change, renters will need to enter a higher level of care with significantly higher fees (fees that have historically been increasing at a rapid rate). This option may seem good in the short-term, but offers little stability or assurances in the long-term.
Explore Life Care Options at Friendship Village of South Hills
At Friendship Village of South Hills, the spiritual, emotional and physical wellness of our residents is our top priority. Nestled in a quiet, wooded area near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, our Life Care community is a sanctuary for seniors looking to get the most out of their retirement. We host lectures, performances, live music and other programming to ensure they have every opportunity to be active and engaged with their neighbors. Our community is also home to multiple dining venues and a fitness center with a personal trainer.