As an older adult, your vision for the next stage in your life is likely presenting a bit of a learning curve for you.
You might be encountering terms you’ve never heard before. Maybe you’re discovering options you never knew were available. Surely, you’re assessing your own lifestyle needs. This is a good start.
This blog offers you a list of questions that will help you find a senior living community that is right for you.
Life Plan Communities
A Life Plan Community (sometimes called a CCRC or Continuing Care Retirement Community) is a senior living community that provides independent living to its residents and also offers a full continuum of care. When a resident’s health care needs change, Life Plan Communities are poised to offer additional levels of care to their residents.
Life Plan Communities are ideal for older adults who want to maintain their independence and ensure that their future health needs are met. In the event that a resident needs care services like memory support, skilled nursing or rehabilitation services, they can have this higher level of care at the community without significant interruption to their lives.
Life Plan Communities offer an array of contracts, each with its own set of financial benefits to you. The most comprehensive, value-rich agreement is called LifeCare, or a Type A contract.
As you begin to reach out to communities, there are some basic questions that you’ll want to ask about the health services and personal care they provide as well as the contracts each community offers. Below are five questions that will get you started in the right direction.
What LifeCare contracts do you offer?
Many residents enter a Life Plan Community at a point in their lives when they are still able to live independently. LifeCare contracts offer residents the flexibility to access a higher level of care as their needs change. When you choose a Life Plan Community, there are three types of contracts for you to consider:
These are the most inclusive service agreements. To enter these contracts, you will pay a one-time entrance fee and a monthly service fee. With this agreement, your expenses will not rise significantly as care services increase or be subjected to the ever-rising market rates. You can access additional levels of care with ease and without disrupting your budget.
These contracts are slightly less inclusive agreements. Your entrance fee will likely be lower than with a Type A contract, and you will pay monthly fees to cover your personal care. You will have access to the care services you need at the time you enter the community, and as these needs change, additional levels of care will be available to you at a discounted rate.
These contracts offer access to a full continuum of care but at market-rate prices. There is a monthly fee that will reflect the care services you receive and will increase if you require a higher level of care.
What amenities and activities can I expect in your community?
The health services that you can expect include assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing. You can also find a community that offers rehabilitation services to help you recover from a medical crisis, injury or accident.
Assisted living services can include personal care like dressing, grooming and medication reminders. Often, you will find that your Life Plan Community provides housekeeping services, nutritious meals served in a private dining room, and transportation services.
Many communities offer amenities like a dog park, beauty salon, pool, wellness center, or community library. You’ll want to check their calendar for classes, entertainment and religious services that interest you.
Ultimately, you will want to determine the care services that matter most to you and assess the value of a Life Plan Community according to your needs.
What if I require a different level of support than my spouse?
It may be that when you enter a Life Plan Community, both you and your spouse are able to live independently. There is no way to know if or when this could change. And it is likely that, at some point, the level of care you require will differ from the needs of your spouse.
As you work to find a community that is right for you, be sure to inquire about this situation. Different communities have different solutions for a spouse needing a higher level of care. In some cases, you may have to live in a different part of the community than your partner. But one of the profound benefits of a Life Plan Community is you’ll stay near your spouse and friends, even if you need care.
May I visit your Life Plan Community today?
Any community that you consider should have representatives available to answer your questions. If a Life Plan Community is not eager to give you a tour when you are ready for one, this is a red flag.
How is the food?
This may seem trivial when you consider the significance of the health services a community provides, but food is an integral part of our lives. You will want to find a community that offers fresh and nutritious dining options.
For those residents who can still live independently and want to have the option of cooking for themselves, you might want to ask about and evaluate the kitchen amenities in individual residences. Is it large enough? Are the appliances to your liking? For those who want a community dining room experience, you will want to take a tour when you can sit down for a meal.
Now that you’re equipped with questions that you can ask a potential Life Plan Community, we at East Ridge at Cutler Bay would like to extend an invitation to you. Come see firsthand our continuum of care and our communal dining experience. We would be happy to answer all your questions about your personal care needs and help you envision life in our community.
About East Ridge at Cutler Bay
East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community. The nonprofit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent living, assisted living and memory support residences in a neighborhood setting; respite care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation are available within Three Palms Health Center.
For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 305-290-2346.