Do you have plans for a dream home after retirement? You’re not alone. Most people plan their retirements based on living near families, close to hobbies or in houses with certain features that they’ve always wanted. Still it’s equally important to ensure that your retirement plans take into account your current and future health status. If you want to live in a community that allows you as much independence as possible while still providing for your needs, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) could meet your needs.

Understand Levels of Care

The first step in deciding whether a CCRC will be a good fit for you is to understand the levels of care that are available.

Senior communities are designed for active, healthy, independent adults, who want to live with people their own age, take care of their own homes and require little, if any, assistance.

Independent living communities, which are meant for healthy seniors, provide some planned activities, housecleaning, meal services and other amenities.

Assisted-living residences offer seniors with some disabilities, dementia or chronic health needs a chance to live as independently as possible, while having trained and licensed personnel supervising their care.

Skilled-nursing facilities care for more seriously ill or disabled seniors who need 24/7 attention from highly skilled health providers.

Many senior communities will offer one of the above levels of care. For example, a gated community on a golf course may provide a great environment for active seniors but not for those who need medical supervision. At the same time, nursing homes can care for seriously ill patients, but they do not provide the home environment that more active seniors demand.

A CCRC provides several levels of care in the same community in order to provide a long-term home for seniors as their needs change. This arrangement can include private homes for active seniors, apartments for independent or assisted living, and health centers for nursing home care. The CCRC approach helps to ensure that your needs will be met without having the disruption of a move, even as your health needs change. In addition, if your spouse requires a different level of care, he or she can receive it in the same community and often without having to change your residence within the community.

Evaluate Your Priorities

Obviously your health needs may change as you go through life. One reason CCRCs appeal to so many people is that the communities are designed to help people stay in familiar surroundings as their needs change. The exact services and amenities offered can vary greatly among CCRCs, so determining which features matter most to you, and are likely to benefit you in the future, can prove a great help in deciding whether a CCRC is the right choice. Here are a few tips to help you gather information when you consider retirement living arrangements:

1) Take a tour. You’ll want to see your potential new home before making a decision, but take the opportunity to tour facilities for other levels of care, too. This gives you a chance to see whether you’ll feel comfortable there if your needs should change. The visit will give you a chance to ask other residents about their experiences, too.

2) Look into transportation options. If you drive, inquire about parking and maintenance services. If you don’t drive, ask whether the community offers shuttle service to shops and activities and transportation options for medical appointments.

3) Discuss personalized care arrangements. Find out whether the community develops written plans for its residents in assisted- or independent-living arrangements. Typical plans cover social activities, fitness, diet, medical care and related needs. Ask how much input residents have into the plans and whether personal caregivers, such as medical doctors, are consulted when the plans are developed.

4) Remember your dream home. If your retirement happiness depends on proximity to golf, access to a swimming pool or plenty of socializing, look for a CCRC that can provide it. Sometimes the small details are most important to happiness, so keep your personal goals in mind as well as your long-term needs when choosing a CCRC.

Some Important Details

Before finalizing your choice for retirement living and senior care, keep these factors in mind, and make sure you’re comfortable with making the commitment.

1) Determine the licensing and certification requirements for health providers in senior communities in your state. Make sure your residence choice complies with these standards.

2) Carefully review all contracts and service agreements. Remember, you will have to follow this agreement for an extended period. Be sure you understand your personal and financial obligations, and that you understand which services the CCRC must provide for you. You may want to share the documents with a financial planner and/or attorney before you sign.

3) Tell your health care providers about your decision to move into a CCRC, and ask for any advice they have about services or levels of care you might require now or in the foreseeable future.

CCRCs provide seniors with a wide range of living options, from independent lifestyles to around-the-clock care. To learn more about the advantages of making a CCRC your home, contact Lexington Square.

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