Times change…. That’s a given. And, for those of us at or approaching retirement, how we expect to live out our senior years has certainly changed. In the not too distant past, many seniors could expect to live with adult children or other loved ones as their abilities to care for themselves diminished. But, in today’s world where seniors are living longer and families are overextended in many ways, including financially, such expectations are often unrealistic.
In approximately the past 15 years, Long Term Care Insurance has gained prominence as an option. This type of insurance aims to cover all or a large part of costs associated with home health care, assisted living, nursing homes, and other long term care services that may arise. These services are typically not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.
Now, another care option is gaining the attention of older, financially secure adults. The Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers a somewhat different approach for seniors. Usually restricted to individuals aged 55 and older, CCRCs offer a sort of one stop shopping arrangement often referred to as “aging in place.” Requiring a sizable up-front entry fee plus basic monthly fees, individuals start off living independently in houses, apartments, or condos. The independent living arrangement may include a variety of recreational options and communal activities for active residents. However, if residents require assitance with daily living as they age, CCRCs provide such services, including nursing home care as needed. No need to leave the community and make other arrangements. No need to worry about space availability. The CCRC will care for you on location, placing you, as needed, in the appropriate facility within the community.
Of course, when considering such options it is critical that you carefully review the terms of the contract. Marketing brochures and other sources of information won’t necessarily tell you everything you need to know. Will you get back any or all of your up-front CCRC payment if you change your mind and decide to leave? How are increases over time, if any, determined? Who makes the decision as to when additional services/living arrangements are needed? Do your heirs inherit any of the upfront CCRC payment? What happens if your financial assets are depleted during your residency? Contracts must spell out exactly what you will and won’t get. So, be sure to read them carefully, ask questions, and, if you’re still uncertain about terms and conditions, it’s highly advisable to seek assistance from a professional such as an attorney or financial advisor.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Estate Planning and Elder Care Attorney, Elga A. Goodman, can help you explore elder care options and understand contractual terms and conditions. Contact us today at 973-841-5111
Posted in: Long Term Care Planning