CCRCs: The Purpose of Entry Fees

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The vast majority of Continuing Care Retirement Communities require an entry fee. Naturally, people often ask, “What is the purpose of the entry fee?” Before answering this question it is helpful to understand the history of entry fees.

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How CCRCs can help couples stay together as they age

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About 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care during their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).1 On average, women will need care for a longer period of time (3.7 years), compared to men (2.2 years), and 20 percent of those age 65 and older will need care for more than five years.

An active, healthy lifestyle can help protect your mind and body from disease and injury—which often leads to a need for long-term care. However, there are no guarantees in life and the question of whether—and how long—you or your spouse may need care remains unknown.

Since aging is an individual thing, a couple should not expect that both partners will have the same needs throughout retirement. As a couple ages, one partner may require assisted living or skilled nursing services, while the other partner remains able to live independently.

A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) can help couples prepare for the challenges that an unknown future may offer. CCRCs provide a continuum of services—from independent living to nursing home level health care—that is available if and when needed. If, after moving into a CCRC, one spouse eventually needs a higher level of health care services, the couple can still be together at the retirement community.

Here is an example of how a CCRC can meet the needs of both partners over time:

Jim and Jane move into an independent living unit at a CCRC. A few years later, Jane is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The couple continues to live together for a couple of years, but as Jane’s needs change, she moves into another section of the CCRC to receive additional care and support. Jim continues to enjoy the social benefits of living within the retirement community and can visit with Jane, who is just a short walk away, whenever he wants.

Couples who seek peace of mind in the face of uncertainty may want to consider a CCRC as a viable retirement living choice to ensure that both partners will be taken care of now and in the future.

1 http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need/

The above content is legally licensed for use by myLifeSite.

Benefits of Technology for Seniors

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By: Kayla Statema

At The Wesley Communities, we understand that technology can be intimidating. It feels like every time we turn around there’s a new phone, app, or device! But we firmly believe that the benefits of technology are worth learning about. Technology can improve three main areas of seniors’ lives:

  1. Staying Connected

Social connection is increasingly important as we age. Facetime, Facebook, and email are all ways that seniors can stay connected. Seniors can video chat with their best friends and grandchildren from miles away using Facetime or Skype. They can stay up-to-date with the latest happenings from family and friends via social media channels. And, they can reminisce about the days of letter-writing while typing their emails, while fostering their social connection!

  1. Healthy Brain and Body

At The Wesley Communities, we put a special emphasis on brain and body health. And, technology is one way to engage in activities that improve overall wellbeing. From watches that track steps to games that keep your brain active—the possibilities are endless. And for seniors with a competitive edge, we recommend playing digital games with family or having a “step challenge” with your best friends!

  1. Safety

Phones, medical alert systems, and even tablets can increase seniors’ safety. Cell phones come in handy, especially if seniors are still driving. Things like breakdowns and flat tires happen almost every day, and having a cell phone handy will bring everyone peace of mind. Medical alert systems are also helpful in case of a fall or if an individual is living alone. These systems allow seniors to push a button for emergency help.

At The Wesley Communities, our staff is extremely knowledgeable regarding many digital devices. Here, our friendly, trusted professionals take pride in helping seniors with any technological problems that may arise, so our residents can focus on living life well.

What to Look for in Memory Care Communities

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When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or is faced with another serious memory loss condition, there is a good chance they will require professional memory care services at some point. Finding a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or “life plan” community) with memory care will make life for the patient, loved ones, and caregivers more comfortable and enjoyable.

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Pricing Structures in Assisted Living

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As seniors or their family members research various assisted living facilities, they will inevitably see statistics showing the average monthly cost of assisted living and other types of care.

These are great tools for getting a ballpark idea of assisted living expenses, but the cost can vary dramatically among different regions, facilities and even among different residents within a facility. Understanding why begins with understanding how pricing works.

Here is a breakdown of the types of fees you can expect:

Upfront fee (one time)

Most assisted living facilities will charge future residents a reservation deposit. Sometimes referred to as a “community fee,” this deposit may be a couple thousand dollars or so and reserves the accommodations of your choice for a certain period of time. Typically, this deposit is not applied to any other charges and is sometimes refundable only if the would-be resident is unable to move into the facility for health reasons.

Base fee (monthly)

In short, this is your monthly “rent” once you live in the assisted living facility. The cost varies depending upon the size of the residential unit and whether you live alone or have a companion. Most base fees are inclusive of most utilities, basic housekeeping, maintenance, and some meals. The base fee is also based on the type of services you need; i.e. independent living, assisted living, or memory care.

Care services fee (monthly) 

This fee typically uses a tiered approach based upon the level of care you need (or want), and it gets added to the monthly base fee. The level of care is usually based on the number of ADLs (activities of daily living) for which a resident requires regular assistance. ADLs include activities such as bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, etc. For example, the monthly cost of care services may range from $150 or so for tier one and could go up to a few thousand dollars per month for tier five assisted living care. Accurately assessing the amount of care needed is one of the most important aspects of the decision process and also one of the more difficult to understand. The more thorough, clinical, and detailed the assessment, the better the plan of care and understanding of the cost.

Example: Suppose one assisted living community says the cost per month will be around $5,000 and another says it will be around $6,000. Also suppose you actually like the higher cost facility better but ultimately choose the lower cost facility because it will save $12,000 per year. However, after about a month of living in the community you get a call saying that more care is required than originally thought and it will bump you into the next tier. Now it will cost in excess of $6,000 per month, which is more than the other facility that you liked better to begin with.

Medication management & other ancillary services (monthly)

Many seniors need assistance remembering to take medicines at the right time and in the right

dosage, so most assisted living communities provide medication management services for an additional fee – usually a few hundred dollars per month, depending on the complexity of the medicine administration. If needed, additional ancillary services like physical or occupational

therapy would also be charged on a monthly basis, as well as non-care related services, possibly including parking, additional meals, and some activities.

All-inclusive assisted living pricing

An assisted living provider that operates under an all-inclusive pricing model spreads the total cost of services for the entire facility across all residents. In theory, some residents would pay more than they might pay in a la carte facility and others will pay less, depending on the amount of care they are receiving. The advantage, however, is that residents can more accurately plan for their monthly cost over the long term, regardless of the level of care received. Yet, some all-inclusive facilities may have a cap on the degree of services they can provide under the all-inclusive price. They may also charge for other ancillary expenses on occasion so be sure to inquire about all of the potential costs or limits.

Low income options

For seniors that qualify a government-supported assisted living facility will provide services at a lower overall monthly cost. You can contact the specific agency in your state to learn more about affordable senior living options in your state and qualification guidelines. Most of these facilities will also accept Medicaid.

Medicare will not help

As you can see, the monthly costs associated with assisted living vary widely and can really add up, so it is important to plan ahead for this potential expense. A major misconception among consumers is that Medicare will cover the cost of assisted living, but this is not the case if assisted living is the only type of care required. Medicare only covers skilled (medically necessary) care, and for a temporary period of time. Medicaid, on the other hand, may cover the cost of assisted living if your assets have virtually been exhausted.

The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.