Planning for life in retirement can be difficult as one begins sifting through all of their available options. Although there are books and pamphlets galore, wading through everything can be daunting at best, and if you don’t know where to begin, it can be a downright nightmare.
Do you have clients that need a nursing home or a senior apartment? What type of health care services will be provided? How should they plan for long-term finances? Will their lifestyle change drastically? Do they need to bring new furniture? From the important life decisions to the simple everyday questions, it’s imperative to get some proper guidance.
To help your client get started, here is a guide with six factors they should consider when starting the process of retirement living planning.
Consider all of your interests and needs before choosing the type of facility that will work best for you. (Photo: iStock)
1. Type of facility
This may seem obvious, however one of the first things you’ll want to consider is the type of facility best suited to your interests and style. Perhaps you want to stay in your home, or you’ve always dreamed of downsizing to a small condo on a golf course or near the beach — or maybe you’re looking for a community that can adapt to your changing needs, like a Life Plan Community. Whatever it is you’ve envisioned will help guide you on your path.
The type of facility you choose should also match your current needs — as well as needs you see on the horizon. Given your health history, aging at home may ultimately prove difficult (and costly.) You may want to consider a facility with several levels of care that will be able to accommodate your needs and lifestyle now and into the future. Taking into account both your lifestyle wishes and your health will help ensure you choose a community that can serve you well into the future.
Something to note: Some people have a negative perception about “nursing homes” as bad places — feeding into some old stereotypes about these facilities as places that “warehouse” people. There may be some places that fit that description, but, in general, the field is filled with a lot of capable people who perform an important and complex service with dedication and care.
Trade organization Leading Age is a great resource for those researching senior living options as they provide continuing education, best practices, and information about trends and developments in senior living.
If social activities are important, be sure to look for options that offer plenty of opportunities to meet other people. (Photo iStock)
After determining what type of facility is best for you based on your interests, desires and needs, you should now think about how the community you move into will work with your lifestyle as it currently stands. Are you a social, active person looking to meet new people and take up new hobbies? Would you rather spend time quietly reflecting or puttering? Is there one specific interest you have that you would like to spend the rest of your days enjoying?
Figure out the answer to these questions BEFORE committing to a retirement facility, as this will inevitably determine at least part of your overall happiness level.
Something to note: Your interests and overall activity level may change with time but, in general, it’s good to choose a community that suits your personality at the time of entering retirement.
How much a retirement living facility will cost is usually a top concern. (Photo: iStock)
Likely top of mind for many planning for retirement, finances will be a big factor in your decision-making process. Figure out your budget early on in the process and start compiling notes of the costs (and expenses) that come with each potential option on your list. Determining your financial commitment in advance and having a strong understanding of what you will be able to afford is key in the decision-making process.
Retirement communities, condo associations and private services providers all have fees. Make a detailed list of what is and isn’t included in the regular fees to better gauge what additional expenses may arise that you will need to consider. For example, if you choose to remain in your home, one-time expenses and repairs can be hard to plan for in advance. Although there may be an upfront cost, Life Plan Communities, 50+ communities and condo associations may take care of the upkeep of the property allowing you to better anticipate your budget needs.
Something to note: Make a list of day-to-day expenses included with each facility’s offerings to determine the added value (or additional costs) of each option. For example: cleaning, landscape, food and additional amenities (fitness equipment, educational offerings, etc.) can add up should you choose to stay at home, or even move to a smaller condo, while they may be included in the regular monthly fees for a life plan or an assisted living community.