Okay this is where I throwback on the force that is the advertising tsunami for the standard retirement community and hopefully explain what the difference is between the a 55+ plus community , independent living , assisted living and a CCRC Continuing Care Retirement Community . Softer lifestyle is a relative term.
The term 55 plus community has aged out a bit on its own and is now more often referred to as active adult community. This can vary from being age restricted and with lots of rules regarding what is on the exterior of your home and visitors. This category includes smaller patio style, carriage style homes, condos and townhouses. They can have 24 hour a day on call maintenance , usually have a secure entrance ie a gated community.
One of the main selling points is you can lock and leave your place secure that all will be well when you return from your travels. One of the main selling pitches is that you leave maintenance behind so you can do the things you want like travel.
Others are in developments where housing ownership and maintenance is totally up to the independent home owner but there are advantages of social activities. I hope in our Forums to invite discussion of the pros and the cons of all of the different choices for seniors.
Independent Living These are also residential communities comprised of apartments, condos and maybe small garden style homes with social programs transportation services , organized outings. They also empathize the hassle free – more leisure time. Besides home maintenance there are other layers of handicapped awareness re emergency pull cords may include option to buy into meals and housekeeping services. Costs for independent living communities can average from $1500 to $3500 a month. But you are on your own for paying for your medical care ( expect maybe transportation help to get to your doctor appointments)
Continuing Care Retirement Community CCRC They are now trying to sell CRCCs as an aging in place solution. The idea is to enter while you are still healthy and active . You sign a contract or resident agreement and in some cases hand over your major assets. Costs now stand about $4000 to $6000 a monthly basis . Their aging in place is moving from one location ie from one building or floor to the other with that next step always visible to you right down to the 24/7 skilled nursing care . There is a hierarchy and you know it as in we don’t allow the residents from the third floor allowed to eat in the main dinning room (no wheelchairs/ walkers allowed!). When spouses are on different levels it can be problematic. It is the package deal for the end of your life. Security means different things to different people. If you have the assets to buy in, talking to some who has chosen this option might be better than the whirlwind tours with sales pressure and the nice buffet.
An updated note ..some CCRC’s allow residents children to live (but pay separately) in the same community. This is a very unique solution for one man. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/health/a-twist-on-caring-for-a-parent-move-into-the-home.html?action=click&contentCollection=health&module=NextInCollection®ion=Footer&pgtype=article&version=column&rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fthe-new-old-age
Assisted living: This is kind of out of order here . It usually the mid point tin CCRC between independent home and skilled nursing You are visited every day by staff and monitored for deterioration of your physical and mental capacities. No locks on your door but you are in you own apartment and there is help with major daily activities: meals bathing, housekeeping and dressing with the option to do some things for your self.
Important note: if you did not buy long term care insurance in your late 50’s, you probably can not afford it now. This is where if you meet certain criteria of not being able to care for yourself on several different t levels, your plan will pay out for above care. This is different from buying in at a later date into a Continuing Care Retirement Community.