Given the choice, many of us would rather stay in our own home as we age, being part of our neighborhood and community in the same ways we’ve enjoyed for many years. But sometimes, change is required. The change doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move, change may even be required to stay where we are!
According to AARP, nearly 90% of people over age 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible, and 80% believe their current residence is where they’ll always live. Realistically, as we age, our residences, services needed, and entire environment may need to change. Let’s investigate a couple of options: move to a retirement community and get help in your current home. Which is best for you?
Option 1: Staying Put
Even if your home is paid for, it still includes expenses. Make a list of everything in your budget for a realistic picture of what this means. It’s easy to overlook obvious details that tend to add up. Use the following list as a starting point to determine current monthly expenses. You may have others to add to your list, too.
- Mortgage or rent
- Monthly utilities
- Insurance and taxes
- Groceries and sundries
- Maintenance, repairs, and renovations, including labor
- Costs for house cleaners, lawn care, etc.
- Travel and entertainment expenses
- Gym and fitness memberships
- Clothing and personal grooming
- Medication and co-pays
Changes to the House
If you plan to stay in your current residence, changes may be necessary to make your house more accessible or safe. Be proactive and get quotes from contractors to estimate costs for any repairs or adaptations. For example, if you lose the ability to be mobile and active, it will be necessary to consider the addition of ramps, wider halls and doorways, chairlifts, and walk-in tubs and showers. Are your surfaces non-slip? The national average for extensive renovations varies widely and can quickly add up. If you are experienced with DIY projects, maybe you can do some of the work yourself.
Regardless, all possibilities for home modifications and additional services, including home care, should be factored into your worksheet. It is important to be realistic about your environment because many people find themselves limited by their environment more than by actual disabilities.
Home Care Facts and Figures
When considering aging in place, it makes sense to consider how to arrange for supportive care services if needed. Whether you hire caregivers and manage them as household employees, or work through an agency, have a backup plan. Caregivers are typically home care aids and may change each day based on schedules. Managing in-home care can become a full-time job, and someone must be willing and able to do it.
Home Care Fees
Recently, the national average for home care was $24 per hour. For planning purposes, this equals more than $4,000 per week and more than $17,000 per month for 24/7 care. Fees will vary by region. Call several agencies for fees in your area.
Hourly Minimums for Care
Even if you don’t require 24/7 care, most caregivers and agencies require a minimum number of hours daily. For example, there may be a minimum of four hours per day over three days each week. This would cost nearly $5,000 per month. Medicare may not cover home care. If you have a long-term-care insurance policy, it could help with some fees.
Option 2: Relocate to a Retirement Community
Just as staying in your home may require change and additional expenses, moving to a retirement community presents a different set of changes and fees to explore. What should you expect? As with all big decisions, it is important to research options.
Retirement Community Facts and Figures
Some communities have a one-time entrance fee, and some have no entrance fee. All communities will have a monthly service fee. Fees are based on the size of the residence, contract type, services provided and whether one or two people live in the residence.
Communities with a One-time Entrance Fee
Proceeds from the sale of one’s home are often used to pay the entrance fee. The cost depends on what is covered by the contract and can vary greatly between communities. Entrance fees may be fully or partially refunded to you or your estate, with the refund based on the contract you choose. The entrance fee represents an investment that helps control the cost of your future health care. This means you will benefit from paying less than the market rate when you access care.
Retirement Community Monthly Fee
According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, the national average monthly fee for independent living in an entrance fee Life Plan Community was $3,678 in 2021. Monthly fees vary by location and community. Contracts, services, and amenities are different at each community, so monthly fees also vary. It is important to research and compare options. Often, you’ll find that the costs are very similar to the costs of maintaining and staying in your current house.
What is Included?
Contracts vary, but most include some or all of the following in the monthly fee.
- Interior amenities such as a library and computer room
- Outdoor amenities such as patios and walking trails
- Interior and exterior maintenance
- Dining options
- Life enrichment activities
- Fitness and wellness programs in on-site gyms
- Salon, barbershop
- Transportation services
- Access to on-site wellness clinic
- Access to higher levels of care (assisted living, memory care, nursing care)
Choosing What is Right for You
According to the Administration for Community Living, a person over 65 has more than a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services to support them over the coming years. Of course, some will never need care or support, but 20% of us will need support for five years or more. Whether you decide to remain in your residence with in-home care or move to a retirement community, the decision will impact your quality of life, finances, and peace of mind.
Key Differences Between Staying Put and Retirement Community Living
Life Plan Communities, like Woodlands, offer contracts with all-inclusive services and amenities, a proven health care system at a better cost than similar care in your current residence, access to a social network and peace of mind. Importantly, if higher levels of care are needed, it is provided 24/7 by on-site, licensed staff and may be less expensive than 24/7 care in your house. While the move may also be a lifestyle change for many people, this is a welcome part of the package! If you agree, Woodlands may be the right choice for you.
To learn more about the benefits of living at Woodlands, call 304-697-1620 today and plan a visit. You will be welcomed for a personalized tour and in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of making a move.