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The Smart & Savvy Senior: Making Financial Sense of Retirement Living

You’ve planned. You’ve saved. You’ve invested. Now, as you enter your retirement years, it’s time to spend. But, obviously, you want to make your money last for the rest of your life – so what’s the best way to do that and live the retirement lifestyle you deserve?

“Our life expectancy is increasing, as is the cost of senior living,” says Gregory M. Stevens, President of Vantage Point Retirement Living, Inc. “While this can mean a long, healthy retirement for you, it also means that retirees need to take stock of their financial situation and carefully research senior living options to determine what makes the most sense for their needs – and their budgets.” 

As you’re researching communities, how can you tell what will be the right choice for you? There’s no specific formula for determining the answer, and unfortunately, it’s not as simple as comparing apples to apples.

“Every retirement and senior living community is different, and it’s important to thoroughly understand their fee structures and options in order to properly compare them to each other,” says Gregory. “You’ll also want to take your health needs into consideration, as well as your future plans. What makes the most sense for your lifestyle now and down the road?”

Retirement Living Options: From Least to Most Inclusive

Depending on what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can end up spending a little to a lot – and, surprisingly, the one that’s most expensive upfront may not be the most expensive overall. Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of retirement living options for seniors based from the ones that are least-inclusive to all-inclusive:

55+ Communities. These communities are age-restricted neighborhoods or apartments that provide exterior maintenance and other perks, like snow removal, use of a clubhouse and other neighborhood-esque things. 

Average monthly cost: Varies greatly based on location and lifestyle

Independent Living. These are communities for independent seniors who are still active but want the convenience of living in a resort-style community. For one monthly fee, residents enjoy true maintenance-free living with housekeeping and linen service included, along with meals, activities, events and everything else the community has to offer. 

Average monthly cost: $2,900

Assisted Living. These communities are for seniors who are still moderately independent but require a little extra help with the tasks of daily living, like mobility, dressing, bathing, grooming and the like. Generally, residents live in apartments and receive an all-inclusive lifestyle. Care options can be adjusted based on a resident’s health needs. 

Average monthly cost: $3,750 

Memory Care. For individuals living with dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, a memory care community provides 24/7 care in a secure facility. Communities are designed for the unique needs of dementia care patients, and staff has been professionally trained to assist from early- to late-stage dementia. 

Average monthly cost: $4,750

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). CCRCs, also known as Life Care communities, are all-in-one communities that offer everything from independent living to memory care to skilled nursing and rehabilitation, all on the same campus. These communities require a large entrance fee, but the monthly costs won’t change based on your health needs, no matter what happens in the future. 

Average cost: $3,200 per month + hefty entrance fee (anywhere from $100,000-$500,000 or more)

What’s Right for You?

Choosing the right lifestyle and care level is a very personal choice. Does dementia run in your family, and do you want the security of moving to a place where you’ll never have to move no matter how your health will change? Would you prefer a vibrant community that meets the needs of your active lifestyle (and takes care of all the chores so you don’t have to worry about it)? Something in-between? Something more affordable and flexible? Here are some questions you can ask in order to help narrow down the right senior living life for you, financially speaking: 

Compare What’s Included (and What’s Not)

Depending on your health needs (or what you anticipate for the future), you may want to choose a more independent community that offers a la carte pricing for add-on assistance instead of a flat-rate approach. This can greatly open up your options in terms of lifestyles and amenities. However, it’s always possible that an independent/assisted living community with flat pricing may be more affordable depending on your geographic location. 

Understand Fees and Other Additional Costs 

What does the “monthly fee” really cover? Is it completely all-inclusive, or are there additional fees for things like housekeeping, guest meals, et cetera? What are the visiting hours and policies? Is there a move-in fee and other sundry charges in addition to your monthly fee? It doesn’t hurt to ask to look at the community’s books (don’t worry; this is a fairly common question) or to research their financial status in order to get a picture for how costs may have changed over the years. This can help you avoid any “surprise” costs once it’s too late to do anything. 

Look at Estate Planning Options and Long-Term Care Insurance

While independent living is not covered by any sort of insurance, some assisted living services may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Long-term care insurance can also assist with coverage gaps in order to minimize out-of-pocket expenses. Finally, a good estate planner or financial advisor can help you look at your complete financial profile and figure out how best to make your money work for you. 

Plan Ahead

The best thing you or your loved one can do is to plan ahead and think about your options well in advance. By understanding your position and writing down your wishes, everyone will be on the same page if there’s a need to move immediately (like an accident or health scare). 

For seniors interested in financial planning for senior living, Vantage Point Retirement Living will be holding a free event on April 16that 1:00 pm at the LOD Sales Office. We will discuss senior living options, different financial scenarios and how you can financially plan for your best retirement lifestyle. 

For more tips and advice on senior lifestyle topics, be sure to explore past articles on our blog.

Experience That Matters.

With headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania, Vantage Point Retirement Living, Inc. is a senior living development and management company that has been ensuring area seniors enjoy vibrant, carefree and healthy lifestyles since 1995.

The company is widely recognized for its hands-on, personal involvement within its associated communities, as well as for offering amenities and services that allow seniors to lead stimulating, active lives.

Vantage Point Retirement Living is a family-owned and -operated organization born out of a passion and enthusiasm for seniors. While Vantage Point Retirement Living may be considered a family business, its leadership team has decades of industry experience behind them – bringing together the best of both worlds to provide area seniors with the most extraordinary retirement living experience.

Extraordinary Lifestyles.

Whatever your interests and needs may be, exceptional living is just the beginning at a Vantage Point Retirement Living community. Whether it be Independent LivingAssisted Living or The Compass Memory Care™, living at a Vantage Point Retirement community empowers you to take control of your life while embracing your future with confidence and peace of mind.

We currently own three gorgeous communities in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, with four more under development and set to open in 2020.

Values You Can Trust.

In an industry increasingly dominated by large, national corporations, Vantage Point provides a trustworthy, local and family-oriented alternative for people seeking a community they can proudly call home – for themselves or a loved one. Our core values of trust, teamwork, family, friendship, individuality, dignity, respect and compassion enable us to create best-in-class communities designed to enhance the health, well-being and overall quality of life for seniors and their families.

To learn more about Vantage Point Retirement Living and the extraordinary lifestyles we provide, contact us today!