Plan smart for continuing care
There are nearly 47 million Americans over the age of 65, and every day another 10,000 Baby Boomers reach that age. This trend will continue until 2030, when 18 percent of the country will be at least 65 years old. As life expectancy continues to increase, retirees are recognizing the stark reality that their longevity may ultimately require increasing care and medical support. They also need to identify – sometimes well in advance – who will provide that care and how they will pay for it.
For seniors with the financial means, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a popular and effective way to plan for the increasing levels of healthcare services that may be needed. There are many different CCRCs available in which to live, and they come with an array of pricing options and fees – including entrance fees, monthly fees, insurance requirements, conditions for transfer within the community to higher levels of care, partial refundability of entrance fees and stated levels of healthcare quality at every step.
This “continuum of care” lifestyle begins with Independent Living for which a CCRC can offer a wide variety of housing choices, amenities, dining, transportation, social activities and health/wellness centers that promote functioning, motivated and active social lives. Thanks to advanced assistive medical technologies and improvements in ambulatory devices, more seniors can opt for independent living far longer than previous generations.
The next level of CCRC care is Assisted Living, defined as non-medical care for those who require help with one of the six activities of daily living (eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming and mobility). It may also include medication management. While assisted living recipients are not capable of living independently, they do not require 24-hour medical care.
From there, progressive levels of service at a CCRC include Skilled Care and Skilled Nursing Care that encompass both healthcare and rehabilitative therapies. Patient management, observation and evaluation often are administered by licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses or registered nurses.
As more seniors are being diagnosed with cognitive disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, an increasingly common component of CCRC living is Memory Care. It is typically offered in a community residential setting with the level of care increasing as the illness progresses, often leading to increased costs for 24-hour medical attention.
If you are considering the transition into CCRC living, sit down with your team of advisors – your attorney, CPA, investment or insurance professionals – to assess your options. They can review the CCRC contract or help determine what your long-term health-care policies will pay toward this lifestyle. Your financial advisors can use software tools to project how your portfolio can support CCRC living, or recommend changes to your portfolio to support such a move in the future.
A successful transition to a CCRC takes planning that is best conducted well in advance so your financial plan meets your needs.
Steven V. Greenstein is executive vice president of wealth services at The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company. For more information, call 239-472-8300 or visit www.sancaptrustco.com.