Are you considering moving into a retirement community? That could be a smart move. Retirement communities are popular because they usually offer a wide range of activities, amenities and socialization opportunities. They also offer support for each phase of retirement, from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care.
You may find a retirement community helpful because it gives you the chance to enjoy your independence while also having support and medical providers nearby. You also may make a whole network of new friends, as all of your neighbors will be like-minded retirees. In fact, regular socialization with others could reduce your stress level and your risk of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s.
Before you sign the contract, though, it’s important to do your due diligence and ask tough questions. Every community will put its best face forward during the sales process. Not all communities are the same, however. Below are a few factors to think about as you consider your retirement community options:
Your retirement community is meant to be your final home. You may transition over time from independent living to assisted living or even skilled nursing care. However, the idea is that you’ll never have to move again after you move into the community. You could be there for several decades.
The only way to get the full benefit of the community’s services, though, is for the community to last for the duration of your retirement. If the community fails because of financial issues, you may not get a return of your deposit or other funds.
Don’t be afraid to ask about the community’s finances before you move in. The occupancy rate is an especially important point. If the community has a high level of vacancies, that could be a red flag. Ask why the vacancies exist and what’s being done to correct the issue. You may even ask to see the community’s balance sheet. Also, be sure to ask what happens to your deposit and payments if the community ever becomes financially insolvent.
Base Services and Extras
As you tour a retirement community, you will likely see flashy marketing materials that highlight fun activities and luxurious amenities. However, those items aren’t always included in your initial deposit and monthly payments. Many communities offer premium services and amenities for an extra cost.
For example, group outings could cost extra. While the community may have an association with a local golf or tennis club, you may have to pay membership dues to join. Also, it’s possible that your costs may change if you transition to assisted living or skilled nursing care. Ask plenty of questions to see how the costs will add up now and in the future.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If you’re in the early stages of retirement, you may not be thinking about long-term care. However, long-term care is an issue that many retirees will face at some point. It’s extended assistance with basic daily activities such as mobility, bathing and eating. Most communities offer some level of long-term care support, usually through an assisted living community.
If you already own long-term care insurance, check with your insurer to make sure it covers the community and its services. If you don’t have insurance, now may be the time to consider it. Your insurance policy could help cover some of your community payments should you ever need assisted living care or skilled nursing care. Your financial professional can help you determine which long-term care policy is right for you.
Ready to develop your retirement strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Heritage Financial North. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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