Choosing where you wish to spend your retirement is a major decision, especially if you’re considering moving out of your home and into a senior living retirement community. Home is comfortable, but a retirement community may be easier in the long run. What choice is right for you?
“Both living at home and moving into a senior living community have pros and cons,” says Kevin DeAcosta, President and CEO of The Highlands at Wyomissing®, the only nonprofit Life Care Community in Berks County, PA. “The decision on whether to go or stay is a very personal decision, and the physical, financial and emotional costs of each option should be carefully considered.”
What does living at home look like for seniors?
Older adults, especially those who are still “young” seniors, may consider staying at home for as long as possible. If you’re leaning towards this option, you already have a clear picture of your current living costs, including taxes, maintenance, insurance and other costs. However, as you get older and your health needs change, you may require an increasing level of care in order to live safely. The fact of the matter is that everyone who ages will have some level of impairment that your living conditions will need to accommodate for.
This can include renovating your home so that it’s more senior-friendly: adding chairlifts, exterior wheelchair ramps, walk-in tubs, widening doors and walkways, adding walking and pull bars and such. These costs can range from moderate to extremely expensive, depending on how much you want and choose to do. You also will want to consider the cost of hiring assistance such as house cleaners, maintenance workers and other professionals who can help you handle home maintenance and other tasks that you won’t be able to do on your own.
And, of course, what happens if your health needs require you to retain the services of a live-in caregiver? Some seniors may choose to stay with a family caregiver, while others decide that hiring a professional caregiver as needed would be a better decision. These are both completely suitable options, but they are important factors that need to be considered and discussed with all involved parties. Some care services you may end up needing may also require you to be moved into a short- or long-term facility, such as assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care. If you choose to remain in your home, these potential situations must be considered so that you have an action plan in place if and when these situations transpire.
What services and amenities do the best retirement communities offer their residents?
Many older adults choose to move into retirement communities in order to mitigate the issues we already listed in the “staying at home” section. There are a wide variety of retirement communities to choose from: 55+ communities, independent living communities, nursing homes, memory care communities, group homes and more. Most people moving into a retirement community choose a place that has the full spectrum of care options, such as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Continuing Care Retirement Communities require residents to move in while they’re still active and independent, which is actually a good thing – it allows residents to make the community a true home and can more easily receive a seamless transition between care services.
Whatever community is chosen will require a monthly fee, which can cause some seniors to balk, especially since it seems like you’re giving up a mortgage-free home to “rent” a place. However, that monthly fee often is an all-inclusive fee that covers everything from room and board, healthcare costs, activities fees, maintenance fees and everything else that’s available and enjoyed on-campus. Fees vary depending on the type of community chosen. For example, CCRCs require an entrance fee, which is used as a form of insurance against future healthcare costs, but monthly costs remain fixed throughout your stay, no matter what. Other types of communities may not require entrance fees, but your monthly fee can increase if you require a higher level of care later in life.
What are the risks vs. rewards to moving to a Life Care Community?
Obviously, there are risks when it comes to moving into senior living. The biggest risk is that you may not like it. Fortunately, it is completely possible to change your mind after moving into a senior living community, even one that requires a large entrance fee like a CCRC. It may not be as easy as click-your-heels-and-wish-and-it’s-done, but just knowing that a decision can be reversed is enough to provide peace of mind to those who are on the fence. In order to avoid buyer’s remorse, it pays to do your due diligence. Many communities will let you do short-term stays in the community in order to help you get a feel for what living there might feel like.
As to the rewards … they are practically endless. A high quality of life, a lifestyle focused on health and wellness, a beautiful private home, peace of mind for now and in the future, a strong social community, healthcare available on site … it's no wonder that many people choose to move into a senior living community like The Highlands at Wyomissing to enjoy their golden years.
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 610.370.6668 for more information.