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Alternative Living Arrangements: Two Options When It’s Time To Leave Your Home

Elder law attorney Cedar Knolls, NJ

There comes a time for many older people when, for various reasons, they must leave their homes.  For some, moving in with children or other close family members is the solution.  For others, a different solution is needed.  This post describes two alternative living arrangements that have gained prominence: 1. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and 2. Assisted Living.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

CCRCs are usually restricted to individuals aged 55 or older.  Different levels of care are available to an individual as his/her needs change over time.  It’s a sort of one-stop shopping arrangement.  No need to worry about leaving the community to find a suitable new living arrangement when the time comes.  It’s all available within the CCRC.

– A person may start off living independently in a house, apartment, or condo.  Various social activities and recreational facilities are often available.  Depending on the community, on-site swimming pools, tennis courts, beauty salons, dances, card games, and off-site trips may all be part of the CCRC experience.

– As the person ages and requires assistance with daily living, such services are provided, including nursing home care if needed.

– CCRCs typically charge a high one-time admission fee in addition to a monthly occupancy fee that rises only modestly (if at all) over time.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living  is a housing arrangement for older people who need some assistance, but not to the extent provided by a nursing home.  Assisted living aims to help people live as independently as possible, providing some modest individualized support services along with limited health care services.

– An individual typically has his own room, furnished with his own things.   There are communal areas, including a dining hall where meals are served, and a variety of social and recreational activities are available.

– Occupancy fees are paid on a monthly basis.

It’s All In The Details

Whether opting for  a CCRC or Assisted Living, it is critical to carefully read the contract.  Marketing brochures and other sources of information won’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know.  For example, if a one-time admission fee is required, check the contract to see if you will receive a refund of some of that money if you decide to leave.  Also make sure you understand exactly what your basic monthly fee will get you.  There may be additional fees for a variety of things such as administering medication or emergency ambulance services, and, if you assume these are included in your monthly fee, you may be unpleasantly surprised.  Such separate fees can significantly increase your monthly costs.   So, to the buyer beware!  It’s all about the details; and they’re in the contract.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Estate Planning and Elder Care Attorney, Elga A. Goodman, can help you explore elder care options and determine what meets your needs.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111.

Posted in: Elder Law, Long Term Care Planning