Short of moving to sun-drenched Arizona or state-income-tax-free Florida, seniors overwhelmingly prefer to stay in their own homes as they age.

But what happens when a home’s layout, ongoing maintenance, or distance from family makes aging in place more burdensome than blissful?

Two Models of Care

Retirement living options run the gamut—from houses to apartments and condominiums in small to large community settings—and meet a variety of preferences and needs.

Independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing are typically provided through one of two care models—a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or a traditional retirement community.

There are four CCRCs and 28 retirement communities in the greater Portland area—with some big differences, financially and otherwise, between the two models.

What is a CCRC?

Continuing care retirement communities are structured to provide all the care a person could need for the rest of his or her life in one facility.

Even if a resident outlives his or her money, most CCRCs guarantee to continue care.

CCRCs generally require residents be in good health and able to live independently upon moving in.

Lifetime Care Costs

The move-in price for lifetime care in the Portland area averages $200,000.

Many CCRCs will refund a portion of the entrance fee if a resident only lives in a facility a short while, either due to death or moving out. The longer a resident lives in the facility, the smaller the refund.

Monthly occupancy fees typically run $2,000 to $4,000, depending on size of unit and level of care required. Long-term care (LTC) insurance may cover a portion of the monthly fee, but most facilities will not bill LTC insurance directly.

As higher levels of care are needed, monthly fees increase.

Part of the entrance fee and monthly fees may be deductible as medical expenses.

How Does a Retirement Community Differ?

The key difference between a CCRC and a retirement community is that retirement communities offer no guarantee of care.

If a resident’s medical needs become too great, that resident may need to move to a facility that offers an appropriate level of care.

This can be hard on residents and their families, especially if the move needs to happen quickly in response to an unexpected event, like a stroke or a fall.

Retirement Community Costs

There is no entrance fee required to move into a retirement community, other than perhaps a deposit.

Rent is paid on a month-to-month basis and can range significantly depending on geographic location, amenities offered, and level of care offered and needed.

LTC insurance may provide some coverage, depending on facility type and the extent to which care provided meets LTC policy criteria. The same applies for Medicare coverage.

Make a Plan

When it’s time to look at retirement living options, there’s no one size fits all solution. But there’s one clear way to ensure a better experience: plan ahead.

Making choices now means options—and lessens the chance of having to make hurried decisions down the road.

Vista is happy to direct you to a number of resources that can help inform your decisions.