Housing Options for Retirees
Housing is both a major financial asset and a significant expense for most retirees. With the help of advanced medical technology and healthier lifestyles many retirees will live 30 years or more in retirement. The time to discuss and plan your housing options during retirement is in advance of a major health event and before advanced age may takes its toll. Below you will find short summaries of various housing options and some tools to help you evaluate them.
Aging in Place
There is no place like home. Given the choice, most people would rather remain in their homes for the rest of their lives. In order to accommodate the physical, sensory, and cognitive changes that occur with advancing age, home modifications using universal design principles, home care, support services, and assistive technologies may be necessary. Use this Worksheet to assess your needs or those of a loved one. Here is also a checklist for a home safety assessment and a list of resources that might come in handy.
Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities are suitable for active, healthy, 55+ adults who desire a leisurely, hassle-free lifestyle with access to extra services. Use this worksheet to evaluate the communities.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
CCRCs are suitable for middle-class or affluent retirees; age 62+, who are looking for a comprehensive housing solution. Every level of care is offered, from independent through skilled nursing care. The resident usually must be able to live at the independent level of care at the time he or she moves in. These communities require a substantial entrance fee and high monthly service fees. The IRS may recognize a percentage of both the entrance fee and the monthly service fee as a prepaid medical expense deduction (talk to your tax professional). Use this worksheet to evaluate the communities.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are designed for individuals who want to be as independent as possible but need help with some activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, cooking or taking medications. Residents typically stay until their health deteriorates and a higher level of care such as memory care and/or skilled nursing care is needed. Use this worksheet to evaluate the facilities.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
These facilities, commonly known as nursing homes, provide a high level of medical care with 24-hour nursing care available for residents with serious medical conditions and advanced dementia. Use this worksheet to evaluate the facilities.
Steps to Take Today
For all the talk about “retirement planning” there is little focus on the retirement stage after the healthiest and most active retirement years. We encourage you to discuss your complete retirement with your family; and consider these steps:
- Understand the special challenges we will all face such as current concerns about older family members, family history of chronic disease, or the prospect of facing advanced age without family support.
- Be realistic about the prospect of living into your 80s or 90s and the housing and financial implications of ill health and limited mobility.
- Research housing options based on the results of your discussions. Here are a couple useful webpages to look for housing options in your area: http://www.assistedlivingfacilities.org/resources/assisted-living/ or http://www.aplaceformom.com/
- Visit the communities/facilities you are interested in and use the worksheets from this blog to evaluate them.
- Work closely with your financial advisor to develop a plan based on your preferences.