This is the second part of a two-part post. Click here for part one.
The next step in the planning process is to make sure all decisions about housing and supportive care are in place. The most important question to ask is: What is the ultimate goal when implementing a plan?
Some seniors are adamant that staying in their home as long as possible is of utmost importance. If this is the goal, there will be several items that will need to be addressed:
- who will be responsible for managing the household operations such as inside and outside maintenance when your loved one is no longer capable;
- who will be responsible for managing in-home caregivers;
- who will be responsible for obtaining and overseeing caregivers to ensure the safety and welfare of your loved one;
- who will be available to step in when caregivers are not available at the last minute;
- is there a long term care insurance policy in place and what are the benefits for this policy(will it cover in-home care services);
- who will be responsible for transportation/nutrition/socialization needs; and,
- who will be responsible for all financially related matters.
Some seniors decide the burden of maintaining a home is overwhelming and unmanageable. Additionally, the possibility of isolation when health challenges occur is not appealing. Choosing to make a move into a senior living community addresses both of these issues and could, in fact, assist with solidifying a plan for future health care needs, depending upon which type of community is chosen.
Below is a listing of the various senior living options and brief analysis of their differences.
Rental Retirement Communities
Provide seniors an option in which residents pay a monthly service fee which covers services and amenities such as utilities, maintenance/upkeep, some type of dining program, and social calendar. This is a wonderful option for people who have begun to struggle with the responsibility of maintaining a large home and the possibility of isolation because driving has become more difficult. Although there is no upfront outlay for this option, it also is not licensed to provide assisted living or nursing services should health circumstances change.
Real Estate/55+ Communities
Provide seniors an option in which residents remove the responsibility of a large yard and upkeep of the outside of their home. In most cases, these homes are (or should be) on one level, which allows seniors to remain in place for a longer period of time. Because this is a real estate arrangement, seniors are still in a “homeowner” type of setting where there is still responsibility in the area of maintenance and upkeep. Additionally, the family would be responsible for the remarketing of this property while paying the costs to operate and maintain until sold. These communities do not offer assisted living or nursing services when health circumstances change and in most cases, very few, if any, life enrichment and wellness opportunities are provided.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Provide seniors both an active, independent lifestyle. Assisted living or nursing services are also available within the community if health circumstances ever change. There are two main costs associated with a continuing care retirement community:
- Residency Deposit or Entrance Fee; and,
- Monthly Service Fee.
A large portion of Residency Deposits in most cases remain a part of the resident’s estate. Additionally, the family would NOT be responsible for the remarketing of this property while paying the costs to operate and maintain until sold. The Monthly Service Fee is designed to consolidate costs to operate a resident’s home, remove the responsibility of maintenance and upkeep while offering an array of life enrichment and wellness opportunities.
Assisted Living/Memory Care Communities
Provide supportive care and services to its residents when managing daily living needs have become a challenge for seniors living alone. Family members become concerned that their loved one is not safe to be alone and requires assistance with one or more supportive services such as bathing, dressing, toileting and medication management. Although residents in an assisted living environment are still independent to a large degree, having around the clock support available is vital to ensure residents remain safe and at the highest possible level of independence for as long as possible.
Long-Term Nursing Care Communities
Provide long-term nursing care when seniors require 24/7 nursing and supportive services for all of their daily living needs. Mobility has declined to the degree that assisted living is no longer a safe or viable option and residents are in need of support at a much higher level. In most cases, these communities will also provide short term rehabilitative care after a hospital stay. Costs for long term care are not covered by Medicare or any type of supplemental health insurance but could be of benefit for a short term rehabilitative stay or any ancillary charges associated with long term care. Only long-term care insurance could defray a portion of the costs for long-term nursing care.
Remember, as life’s circumstances change for seniors, options will decrease. That is why it is vitally important to take action while still active and healthy. Having a plan in place is truly the best gift seniors can give their loved ones and I would be honored to assist through this process in any way.
Sarah Bishop is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Blakeford where she oversees sales initiatives in the Independent Living and Assisted Living communities.