Did you know that 70% of people turning 65 will need some type of long term care in their lifetime? [1] This statistic may surprise you, however, if the time should come where you may need a higher level of care, you can be prepared. Know your options and have a plan for the future.

There are a few choices when considering where to live after retirement: staying at home, transitioning directly to long term care when needed, or moving into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Being aware of some of the health risks seniors encounter and the types of care that are available will help you to decide which options may be the best for you.

Staying In Your Current Home Can Become Costly

The idea of staying in your own home may be appealing. For many, their home is full of memories, it is comfortable and the thought of making a move can be daunting. If you someday need assistance with tasks, such as, cleaning or transportation, there are options like companion services and meal delivery for a fee. There are also home health care services that could include therapy, wound care and more when prescribed by a physician, also for a fee.

If you choose to stay in your home, there are some factors to consider. Oftentimes as health declines, adult children are left to care for parents and take on more responsibilities than they were initially prepared for. An illness might seem manageable at first, but as it advances, simple everyday activities can become a struggle. Physically, the role of a caretaker can be exhausting, but it is also important not to underestimate the emotional toll this plays on both the parent and the adult child.

If this type of care becomes too much or is not a viable option for both you and your loved ones, long term care may be a consideration. After staying in your own home for as long as possible, you may find yourself relieved to live somewhere with around-the-clock care from those who are professionally trained. For some seniors, they have found that living amongst others with similar needs can be reassuring and comfortable, as well.

If you choose to live in your home until you need long term care, be prepared financially for this decision. According to Lincoln Financial Group’s annual “What Care Costs” study, released February 2017, the annual national average of a private skilled nursing room in 2016 increased 3.3% to $102,900.[2]

Many state averages are even higher. Entrance fees and daily rates can accumulate quickly and severely impact one’s financial stability. Medicare and secondary insurances will only cover for short term situations and under various parameters. It is important to know that long term care is different from short term rehabilitation. When making this decision, if you have a long term care insurance policy, be sure to have a clear understanding of your policy and a detailed description of everything it covers.

If you are looking for the independence of living alone, while also having the security of knowing you have access to professionally trained medical staff if it is ever needed, then a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) may be the right place for you.

Why CCRCs Are The Best Choice

CCRCs are designed to accommodate your current and future needs. Making a move to a CCRC also relieves you or loved ones of having to make a quick decision of where you will receive professional medical care if it is ever necessary. Choosing a CCRC is a big decision, so it is essential that you know the type of contracts that are offered.

The three most popular contracts are Life Care, Modified and Fee-For-Service. All three contracts will provide living accommodations, residential services and amenities.

Life Care is essentially an all-inclusive contract. It will offer unlimited long-term nursing care without an increase to the monthly service fee (except for normal increases related to the operating cost, inflation adjustments and ancillary items in a health care setting). This contract assures no single resident will face financial ruin because of personal care, memory care or skilled nursing costs. A modified contract can vary, but essentially will offer a limited amount of time in a health care setting before charging a daily rate. A fee-for-service contract will typically offer a refundable entrance fee, and if long term care is ever needed, an additional daily rate would be incurred.

Health needs can change quickly. It is important to educate yourself and know the options available to you for the future. Be sure to plan ahead and take the time to share your plans with loved ones, so they will respect your choice.