I’ve been thinking about when to move into senior living, but I’m a perfectly healthy senior right now. Independent senior living costs sound like a daunting expense I don’t need to incur just yet. I’m comfortable with my current lifestyle and don’t want to face the hassle of moving…
It’s easy to put off such a big decision, but you may want to think twice about waiting too long. If you’re wondering when to move into senior living, here are some reasons why independent senior living costs could actually save you money as opposed to staying in your home, and why you should move to a community sooner rather than later, while you’re still healthy:
The Soft Sell: Your General Well-Being
Don’t underestimate the effect your daily environment has on your health and general well-being. Look around you – do you have fulfilling relationships in your life? Do you find joy in each day? Do you feel good? A sense of belonging is vitally important to your health, and so is your daily routine.
- The Power of Social Belonging: Humans have an innate and powerful need to belong to a group. As you age, it’s important to maintain friendships with people other than your family, because you need to be able to relate to people like you. Living in a senior living community can be considered preventive care in that your quality of life will improve and your stress level will reduce when you’re among others in a similar stage of life and mindset, whom you can relate to.
- Your Daily Habits: It’s true what they say: It’s your day-to-day habits, such as choosing the apple over the cookie or taking the dog for a walk rather than just letting him outside, that lead to a long, healthy life. Senior independent living communities give you everything you need to practice healthy habits daily to improve your life. Fitness centers, 5-star dining, and curated social programs make it easy for you to exercise daily, eat healthy, be creative, practice mindfulness and socialize – all key elements to living a long and healthy life.
The Hard Facts: Your Health and Finances
If that’s not enough reason for you to consider moving into a senior independent living community, let’s think about some hard facts:
- Your Health
- The Health Test: Some Life Plan Communities (aka CCRCs, or continuing care retirement communities) require a senior health evaluation before signing a contract, so it’s better to move in now when you’re healthy, rather than later. Communities offering a Type A contract, which guarantees access to long-term care at costs significantly lower than market rates, are most likely to require you to meet certain senior health standards to be eligible to sign a continuing care contract. The evaluation usually consists of a health questionnaire, medical exam, and possibly a request for medical records from recent years. Meadow Ridge is a LifeCare® community, meaning we offer the Type A contract.
- Facing the Facts: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that approximately 70% of seniors 65 and older will need some type of long-term senior care, with an average stay of about three years. Moving into a senior independent living community now, that has a continuum of care already paid for by your entrance fee, (which can be partially refundable, depending on the community) can save you major costs on senior health care, so you have more to secure your estate for yourself and your heirs.
- Your Finances
- Cost of Maintenance: You may pay thousands of dollars a year on home maintenance, not to mention the hassle. All that is wrapped into your predictable and steady monthly service fee at a senior independent living community. So if you encounter unexpected home damage, you won’t have to face an untimely large expense.
- All-Inclusive Experience: The monthly service fee also covers several utilities, property taxes, a certain number of meals depending on your contract, and a lot of social engagement and entertainment opportunities. You can save on all that by moving into a community now where you don’t have to worry about paying expense-by-expense; it’s all wrapped into the monthly fee.
- Tax Breaks for Living in a Retirement Community: Several IRS rulings have established that a portion of the senior independent living community entrance fee and monthly fees is deductible as a prepaid medical expense. This is one of many tax breaks available for seniors. Consult with your tax advisor for details.
If you’re wondering what age to move into a full-service retirement community, but you don’t think you’re ready yet, you may be considering moving into a rental community. While this may be right for some, consider the fact that there isn’t a tax break for moving into a rental community. Though monthly costs are usually lower, a rental option often ends up being more expensive if and when your health begins to decline, and possibly may require multiple moves to get the long-term care you need. Therefore, choosing the Life Plan Community track instead can save you money and give you peace of mind that any future health care you might need will be provided in a familiar place by care providers you know and trust.
We’ll make it easy for you. Meadow Ridge offers move-in and relocation services, along with a panel of experts including a move manager and relocation and transition specialist, to make your move as smooth and seamless as possible. The best age to move into senior independent living is as soon as you start considering it a possibility for the future.