Exploring Different Types of Retirement Communities

Many pre-retirees and retirees know that their current living arrangement won’t make sense for their needs forever. There are approximately 21,000 senior living facilities in the United States as of 2019, and a growing senior population. The reality is that many seniors may want or need some kind of senior living community as they go through retirement. 

Of course, senior living doesn’t always mean assisted living or a nursing home. With many retirees staying healthy and living longer, the need for alternative senior living communities has grown in recent years. Let’s explore different types of senior living facilities that are available - whether you’re looking for yourself or a loved one.

Independent Living and Age-Restricted Communities

Otherwise known as “retirement communities” these neighborhoods often boast a wide range of amenities that might include:

  1. Yard work and home maintenance done for you.
  2. One monthly payment that includes access to your home, facilities, events, and utilities. 
  3. Community engagement and events. 
  4. Unique facilities (like restaurants, a fitness center, or a clubhouse). 
  5. Exclusive to individuals and couples age 55+. 
  6. Cleaning services for your living area.

While these facilities can be costly, the fact that they offer so many services and perks to residents often is appealing to retirees who are tired of managing their home on their own. These facilities typically don’t offer medical care or any type of living assistance. They’re strictly a senior-living community that’s designed to make the life of a retiree easier and more enjoyable.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

These communities often start out as independent living facilities but have options within the community to upgrade to assisted living or even skilled nursing should you ever need it. If this is the type of facility you’re interested in exploring due to family history of health problems, or just because you want to feel secure that you’ll be able to stay in one community for the long haul (regardless of future health problems), it’s important to do your research. Every CCRC is somewhat different, and some provide all care for one fee, and others offer different levels of care for an additional fee depending on the services you need. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living is ideal for retirees who can no longer live safely on their own. They may need some help with standard chores, keeping up with their living space, taking medication, eating or preparing meals, bathing, or other daily living tasks. 

Nursing Homes or Skilled Nursing

If you or a loved one is in need of around-the-clock care, a nursing home or a skilled nursing center is the right choice for you. These facilities usually provide more intensive medical care, or they may have a skilled specialty (like dementia or Alzheimer’s care). These campuses are typically the most expensive, but are often the only viable option for individuals who need more care. 

Knowing What You’re Looking For

As you search for a retirement community that’s the best fit for you or a loved one, it’s important to know what you’re looking for as you start to set up tours. Just as you would with house hunting, make a list of “have to haves” and “nice to haves” to help clarify which option best fits your needs and your budget. 

Need help planning for the financial aspect of a retirement or assisted living community? Get in touch! We’d love to speak with you about your unique needs, and how to create a financial plan that supports this new chapter in your life. 

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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