Is elderly care a good option?

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 01, 2011

Elderly care housing considerations can be widely varied as well as potentially complex for the average senior. Elderly care in the form of continuing care retirement communities is generally designed for healthy seniors who are attempting to ensure their future security. Continuing care communities can successfully meet the needs of seniors who don’t want to worry constantly about where—or how—they will live as they grow older, or how they will cope with a future illness or even advancing frailty.  Continuing care communities offer an ideal balance of secure elderly care with the independence and dignity you want to maintain in your golden years.

Why You Should Make Your Elderly Care Decisions Sooner, Rather than Later

Most continuing care facilities require you to be capable of independent living when you move in, and few of these communities will offer you the option of moving in when you are currently unable to live without extensive help. Usually this type of elderly care requires you to sign a contract which states you will be entitled to the senior housing living facilities and health care services for more than a year, or for the balance of your life.

Some of these communities are known as Life Care Communities, and offer residents the peace of mind in knowing that should they become ill, their needs will continue to be met without the necessity of moving to a nursing home. In any case, this sort of decision needs to be made before you become incapacitated, leaving you with limited choices.  

Considerations When Choosing Elderly Care Facilities

Bear in mind that not all continuing care facilities will offer a complete range of care, including independent living, assisted living and nursing care. Some facilities will skip over the assisted living level, so make sure to find out exactly what is included prior to making your elderly care future choices. Most continuing care facilities offer fine dining, health club access, a wide variety of activities and necessary healthcare—one of the many reasons they are growing steadily in popularity among seniors. Over three quarters of a million older adults are currently living in continuing care facilities—a number which is expected to rise steadily as the baby boomers near their 70’s.

Financial Considerations When Choosing an Elderly Care Facility

Generally speaking, one of the defining characteristics of a continuing care facility is that you will be required to enter into a contractual agreement with the facility whereby they guarantee their offered services to you for your lifetime. Many of these contracts include an entrance fee, meaning you will pay a lump sum fee in order to move in, plus regular monthly fees, which will vary widely depending on the services offered and the amenities you choose.

Another type of elderly care contract will involve an agreement whereby you purchase a condominium or co-op unit rather than paying an entrance fee, and in much fewer instances, residents of the continuing care facility pay monthly fees only. What you definitely want to remember is that you must have a rock-solid contract which guarantees the services and care you need for an extended period of time. It’s a good idea to have your children, a trusted friend or an attorney take a hard look at the contract prior to signing and paying fees—keep in mind that in most cases the entrance fees are non-refundable should you decide you don’t like the continuing care facility you chose, and those entrance fees can be substantial.

Elderly Care Benefits for Spouses

Because the type of elderly care offered in continuing care communities allows varying levels of health and caregiving assistance, it can be an ideal solution for a husband and wife who may be at different levels. Couples find this aspect very important, since should one spouse require more extensive services they are still able to visit, regularly spend time together, socialize, eat meals together and participate in activities together. Both spouses can be secure in the knowledge that their husband or wife is receiving the services they require in order to thrive.

While continuing care facilities can come with certain risks, they nonetheless hold widespread appeal, primarily due to the security which comes in knowing that you will be taken care of, no matter how much your health deteriorates.



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