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Life Care vs. Rental: What’s the Difference?

Posted on July 13, 2021

Once you’ve made the decision to move into a retirement community, you then have to decide what type of community will meet your needs best. Do you want a “rental” type community? A Life Care Community? Something else? While there is no right or wrong answer, it’s something that should be carefully researched and considered, says Kevin DeAcosta, President and CEO of The Highlands at Wyomissing, the only nonprofit Life Care Community in Berks County, PA.

“While there are many similarities between a rental and a Life Care Community, there are also some distinct benefits to each,” he explains. “Some individuals may prefer the flexibility and convenience of a rental community while others will prefer the peace of mind that goes hand in hand with a Life Care Community. The right choice for you will depend on your health needs, your future goals and your overall approach to how you want your senior years to look like.”

What does that look like? We’ve put together some explanations about these two different types of communities, as well as their benefits. It’s a good starting place to research and see what option makes the most sense for your situation.

Rental Communities: Freedom and Flexibility.

Have you ever lived in an apartment or another rental situation? If so, you already understand how a rental community works. Generally, a resident joining the community pays a deposit – usually one month’s rent – and then pays a monthly fee from then on out. Your fee will vary on what level of care you need. For example, if you’re an residential living  resident, you’ll generally pay less per month than an individual in Assisted Living, who requires more care and assistance. It’s a lot like renting an apartment – you pay for the privilege of enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle.

The Benefits of Rental Communities:

●      Flexibility. Rental communities offer convenience and flexibility, which can be a big draw for seniors. Rental communities don’t require a large up-front entrance fee like you find in a buy-in or Life Care Community. You pay your fee each month – it’s just that simple. For seniors who may want to move around in their golden years and want that convenience, a rental community may be an excellent choice. If you decide you wish to move somewhere else for whatever reason, you can easily and affordably do so.

●      Enjoy the benefits of living at home with none of the downsides. One monthly fee covers everything – from utilities to groceries and everything else. There are no surprises, and you never have to worry about things like the heater going out or paying the landscaper again. Everything’s taken care of for you, which means you get to sit back and enjoy life your way.

●      You can choose the services that work for you. At a Life Care Community, you have all levels of care available on campus. At a rental community, you may have options for additional care – but if you decide you want to go elsewhere for assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, you have that flexibility. In other words, you don’t have to choose the care available on campus and can go elsewhere to someplace that might work better for you.

●      You don’t pay for services you don’t need. Rental communities allow you to pay for the lifestyle you have now, without “paying in” to any sort of future care. If you expect to be relatively healthy throughout your seniorhood, a rental community gives you the opportunity to only pay for what you use, which can be useful for your finances.


Life Care: Care for Life, No Matter What.

The first question we need to answer is: What is Life Care? Well, at its core, Life Care is a certain type of lifestyle that’s provided by Life Care Communities like The Highlands at Wyomissing. Basically, it gives you peace of mind that no matter how your health needs may change in the future, you’ll always have a home at the community.

At a Life Care Community, you pay an entrance fee, plus a monthly fee for as long as you live in the community. The entrance fee is, in a sense, a payment against the cost of your future care needs. It ensures that you have guaranteed care and quality of life, whether you need assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing or rehabilitation services – all for the same monthly fee as you currently pay now.

A Life Care Community requires individuals to move to the community when they’re active and independent – in other words, to Independent Living – which is actually an excellent perk because it allows residents to make the community their “home” and take advantage of everything that’s available to them. It’s the best of both worlds: the independence and convenience you desire now and the peace of mind that you’ll always have what you need in the future.

Benefits of Life Care:

●      You don’t have to worry about healthcare costs. It’s pretty much a given that as we get older, our health needs will increase (and so will our medical bills). Life Care takes away any worries associated with that because it ensures seniors care for life. Once you’ve gained entrance into the community, you’ll be protected from rising health costs – you’ll only pay one monthly fee, just as you have been, no matter what.

●      Your care needs will always be met. In a similar vein, you have peace of mind because you know that you’ll always be taken care of, right in the place that you’ve come to call home. Neither you nor your loved ones will have to worry about taking you out of a community you love and finding a new place to live. It’s all there for you, always and forever.

●      You have everything you need to age as well as possible. “Aging well” means living your best life while caring for your body, mind and soul. As we get older, it can be difficult to do everything that’s needed in order for us to remain social, active and engaged. At a Life Care Community, the focus is on helping residents live and age well for life. Every solution you can imagine is within reach, from healthy dining opportunities to fitness classes, lifelong learning and so much more. Proactive about your health and taking care of your whole person – mind, body and soul. As we get older, it can be harder to do things like stay social, stay active and keep our minds engaged. At a Life Care Community like The Highlands at Wyomissing, the entire community is designed around wellness – keeping senior adults as active and independent as possible by providing services and amenities like fitness classes, lifelong learning opportunities, healthy and nutritious dining and countless opportunities to socialize, make friends and spend your time doing things that are fulfilling and meaningful. Living an enriched and engaged life is the best way to age well – and give you peace of mind for the future.

Questions To Ask

So, what’s right for you – a Life Care Community or a rental situation? Here are some questions to consider when deciding what sort of lifestyle works best for you or a loved one:

-       What are my current health needs, and what do I expect to need in the future?

-       What sort of retirement lifestyle do I desire?

-       What are my priorities: never having to move again or having the flexibility to move elsewhere if that’s what I so choose?

-       What is my instinct telling me?

No matter what you choose, one thing is for certain: you want the best possible life for now and in the future. Contact us today to learn more about the lifestyle at The Highlands at Wyomissing and determine what situation will work best for you or a loved one.

Your Remarkable Future Awaits.

The Highlands at Wyomissing opened its doors in April of 1989 with apartments for those who needed a helping hand with daily activities. Since then, we have grown into a large community of homes and apartments, amenities and services, and so much more.

With over 113 acres of gently rolling hills, lush walkways and towering trees, The Highlands at Wyomissing has offered stunning amenities, engaging activities and endless opportunities for more than 30 years. Located just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, we’re proud to be the only nonprofit Life Care Community in Berks County, where residents are free to live their active, independent lifestyles with a continuum of care available right at home if they ever need it.

When you choose The Highlands at Wyomissing, you’re free to create a retirement that mirrors what you’ve always wanted for your future. What are you waiting for? Get a taste of what life is like on our vibrant campus at The Highlands at Wyomissing by contacting us at 610.775.2300 for more information.