7 Important Reasons to Consider a move to Independent Living Communities
Many older Americans consider aging-in-place in their current home to be their “best” choice for living independently. Retirement communities vary in the types of care they can provide and how they are licensed by their state. Options include Independent Living Communities, Assisted Living Communities, Memory Care Communities, and Skilled Nursing Facilities.
If you visit an independent living community that caters to active adults, and you will likely be surprised at what they offer. Here are 7 important reasons to consider a move to an active adult community and the potential impact they can have on the quality of life.
Inflation. As your wallet likely realizes, especially in the last few years, prices of items rarely go down. This goes for goods and services, but also for healthcare costs. Locking in housing costs with a long-term contract can improve the chances of a positive outcome for financial planning and can help you leave a greater legacy.
- Simplification. Fewer monthly bills, less space to clean, fewer meals to shop for, prepare and clean up after. Some communities offer regular apartment cleaning and laundry services for a fee. It’s common to find communities with everything you need on-site—sports and activities, hairdressers, cafés, theaters, dining, and even lounges. With less to worry about, you can be able to spend more time enjoying all that is offered.
- Social Connection. Living alone in one’s own home is viewed by many as proof of independence. A 2020 study showed that social isolation increases the risk of premature death and showed an increased risk of dementia by about 50%.1 Living alone also increased the risk of heart disease, stroke, and incidence of depression, anxiety, and suicide.1 Making friends with neighbors and those who share common interests can add purpose to your days and a chance to try new things.
- Proactive Care Planning. As our longevity increases, the demand for care services also increases. Though your primary desire may be to have home care provided, limited resources and rising costs may make that option financially unfeasible over the long term. Some life plan communities offer the option to transition your care needs later in life, at a reduced cost, without having to worry about ever being asked to leave due to financial hardship.
- Limiting the chance of Senior Financial Exploitation. As we age, our fluid intelligence—the ability to use logic and reason to make smart decisions begins to fade. Older adults living alone with reduced reasoning abilities are at a greater risk of financial abuse.2 Socially isolated older adults may desire companionship and therefore be a more likely target for those looking to take advantage of them.3 Living alone and needing a heightened level of care can lead to “helpers” coming to the home to provide services.2 Limiting access to vulnerable seniors by strangers, and providing pre-screened healthcare workers can help mitigate the chance of financial abuse.
- Risk of Injury from Home Maintenance. As we age, home maintenance activities that were never a health concern can become a risk for serious injury. Loss of strength and balance can make climbing a ladder to hang holiday lights, trim a tree or change a light bulb a significantly more dangerous proposition. Strenuous yard work and shoveling snow results in hundreds of heart attacks and deaths in seniors every year. Hand off the heavy lifting to someone else so you can enjoy life.
- Improved Nutrition. Most communities have trained chefs and dieticians that build appetizing menus that can be a feast to the senses while being nutritionally well-balanced as well. Individual nutritional preferences such as gluten-free, celiac, diabetic, vegetarian, or vegan, and even softer food choices for those with dental conditions can be accommodated. An improved diet can improve other health-related concerns.
Consider taking a field trip to tour a few local active living communities to see what choices you like best and to get an idea of what different options will cost. Meeting with a financial planner can be helpful in finding ways to get your financial house in order and finding solutions designed to help your money last your lifetime.
1National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2000 Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities of the Health Care System. Washington DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25663.
2 Quinn MJ. Undoing undue influence. Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. 2000;12(2):9–16.
3National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA). Elder Abuse: Financial Abuse. 2001. Available: http://www.preventelder abuse.org/elderabuse/fin_abuse.html. [Reference list]
Keith Piscitello, MBA CFP® CRPC® CPFA™ is the founder and lead planner of Simply Sophisticated Wealth Planning, LLC., a firm that focuses on helping seniors and their families manage the financial aspects of care and longevity planning. He can be reached at (773)867-3660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keith Piscitello is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp, a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Simply Sophisticated Wealth Planning is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.