Senior Living Myths: Myth Number 3
Age Wave, a research and consulting company, surveyed the thoughts and perceptions of the 65+ population concerning various forms of Senior Care. Five myths prevailed among this age group. Age Wave discovered a dramatic difference between perception and fact. Age Wave pointed out that the misunderstanding and mythology surrounding Senior Care created so many misconceptions.
The five myths that prevailed among this age group were:
- “My current home will be the best possible place to live in retirement years.”
- “I will stay more active if I stay in my own home.”
- “It is less expensive for me to stay in my home.”
- “I can easily get the care I need in my own home.”
- “Retirement Communities are filled with old people who are sick and dying.”
It’s time to address the cost of retirement living.
Is it always true that staying in your own home is more cost-effective?
One of the most critical issues in making the decision to move to a senior living community is the concern about finances. Understandably, each individual is unique in their retirement planning. Most people have saved during their working years and, along with Social Security, have a fixed amount of money to work with.
Whether an individual lives in their home that is paid for or decides to downsize and move, costs are involved. It is an excellent idea to compare costs in each situation. This comparison chart might be helpful to print out and complete. These are basic expenses, but homeownership is costly even when there is no mortgage payment left.
Living in your own home estimated additional costs:
|Home maintenance, including HVAC||$|
|Landscaping, mowing, maintenance||$|
|Utilities (gas, electric, water, garbage etc)||$|
|Additional expenses, either annually or monthly||$|
While it is unpredictable to know these costs in years to come, it is apparent that homes will decrease in value if they are not well maintained. Therefore, deferred maintenance is the number one issue with selling homes.
There are real estate agents who specialize in Senior moves. It is always a good idea to get reliable advice from a knowledgeable company.
Renting vs. Owning
While there are many unknowns when calculating expenses for homeownership, Senior residences like McCrite are based on monthly rent with all of the homeownership responsibilities included in the rent. It is a matter of peace of mind to know exactly what your monthly expenses will be.
Living at McCrite Plaza cost comparison:
|Monthly rental payment based on the floor plan||$ monthly rent|
|Home maintenance, including HVAC||included|
|Landscaping, mowing, maintenance||included|
|Utilities (gas, electric, water, garbage etc)||included|
|Additional expenses, either annually or monthly||included|
|Total||$ monthly rent|
In addition to the basic rental costs of living in a Senior Community like McCrite Plaza, there are numerous amenities that are included that would be costly if a person was paying separately such as:
- Exercise classes and state-of-the-art fitness equipment
- Activities like playing cards, happy hour, music, entertainment
- Bus tours and outings
- Educational classes
- Arts and crafts
- Guest speakers
- Chef prepared meals
- Weekly housekeeping and laundry
- Beautiful dining rooms for meals and snacks
- Theater and daily movies
- In house library
- Living spaces designed for socialization and friendship
- 24×7 emergency care on site
It isn’t easy to measure the value of all the amenities included. Residents are free to take advantage of all that is available. If they prefer quiet time, reading and relaxing in their apartment, or if they want to be out and about in the beautiful McCrite Plaza community, they are free to choose.
Lois came to McCrite Plaza from her home in Colorado. Her living expenses were high because of rising taxes and utilities so she decided to move close to family in the midwest. Lois was able to get a premium price for her home even though it needed a great deal of deferred maintenance. She was glad to be free from all the responsibilities of homeownership espeically the annual snow removal bill to get in and out of her driveway! Most of all, she was very excited that a young family was moving into her home to enjoy it as she had. After she moved into her spacious apartment, she felt completely liberated. She could spend her time enjoying her family and all the new friends she was making.
Considering the likelihood of a significant homeowner’s emergency, like a new roof or a basement filled with water, it makes a monthly rental arrangement more reasonable. It is manageable and predictable and much easier to budget.
In addition, it means that the adult children are not always on call for repairs. It leaves more time to be family and not caregivers. The kids are relieved too!
The myth that it is less expensive to stay in your home may be wrong for many reasons. First, the cost of staying put is higher than you think. In the meantime, the value of the real estate itself may deteriorate. Taking your money out of this asset allows many seniors to live in a beautiful retirement community like McCrite Plaza for the rest of their lives.
What is the price of peace of mind?
The single most important value of living in a senior community is security. It is impossible to put a value in dollars and cents on peace of mind. That security is not only for residents but their families. It seems that emergencies always happen at night. There are falls that occur on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night and the temperature spikes that always happens after bedtime. Those late-night emergency calls create a panic for everyone.
Even if you have a medical alert button, it may still take valuable time for emergency vehicles to arrive. It is especially true for singles that have no one at home to assist or make a 911 call. For all those reasons, living in a retirement community provides 24×7 emergency care. The comfort of knowing that you can get the help you need is priceless.
What do families want?
We hear daily from families worried about their parents living at home alone. Those phone calls are from anxious children who are desperate for their parents to move into a safer senior community. While the elders may be worried about leaving an inheritance to the kids, the children are begging their parents to use their savings for safe and beautiful senior housing.
When the bottom line is the cost of living of a Senior Community versus staying in your own home, the safety and security elements are often overlooked. The parents think they are just fine at home, as they have been for decades, while the kids lay awake at night worried about them.
When Betty to McCrite Plaza, it was the first time she had ever moved from the home on the farm she inherited from her parents and grandparents. One of the most delightful outcomes of the move was that her five kids would come to share meals and visit, and there were no chores to do around the 100-year-old farmhouse and barn. As a result, she actually had more family time than ever in her life. Her new life at 80 years old was truly a gift to her and her family! Her kids told the staff frequently that they were so relieved to be free of all the upkeep on the farm house and loved coming to McCrite Plaza.
It is essential to have a candid conversation about finances.
When families tour Senior Retirement Communities together, it is critical to have a serious explanation of the costs and any hidden expenditures involved. Everyone needs to feel comfortable with the explanations and with the ability to ask any and all questions about costs and amenities. No one should feel awkward about this aspect of finding the right community for each individual.
Come for a tour and bring a list of questions. Talk openly about costs and possible increases in levels of care. McCrite Plaza is committed to helping each individual make the right decision.