Is a retirement community for you?

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Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I spent a day with my wife’s relatives. Our hosts live in a 55-plus community, are in their mid-60s and are considering the timing of their next move into a continuing care retirement community.

It brought home the point that seniors are likely to make one or more moves in retirement, and the decisions about these moves can be fairly complex.

The following information about continuing care retirement communities came from the New York State Department of Health website:

In general, residents of these communities and of fee-for-service continuing care retirement communities must be at least 62 years old and must meet certain criteria established by the communities.

Do I qualify?

These criteria can vary from community to community, but prospective residents must meet the community’s health standard, be capable of living independently and have sufficient financial resources to cover the entrance, monthly fees and any additional living expenses.

Prospective residents must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B and must enroll in and maintain a Medicare supplemental insurance policy. (That doesn’t quite match with a resident being at least 62, since Medicare isn’t available until age 65, but there must be exceptions.)

Continuing care retirement communities

Continuing care retirement communities and fee-for-service continuing care retirement communities are residential alternatives for adults that offer under 1 contract, an independent living unit (an apartment or cottage), residential amenities and access to a continuum of long-term care services, as residents’ health and social needs change over time.

These communities may offer 2 basic types of contracts: life care (type A) contracts and modified (type B) contracts. The primary difference is the amount of skilled nursing care received without a change in the monthly fee under each contract type.

Fee-for-service option

Fee-for-service continuing care retirement communities offer fee-for-service continuing care contracts. Fee-for-service contracts include independent housing, residential amenities such as scheduled transportation and social activities, and access to a continuum of long-term care services.

The long-term care services, enriched housing/assisted living and skilled nursing care are available on a fee for service or per diem basis. There is no long-term care benefit included in the contract; the resident pays for long-term care, if and when needed.

Are you living in a continuing care retirement community? Are you happy with the decision to move there?

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