CCRC or Aging at Home: What's the Better Option?

older woman with pet dogWhen asked where they prefer to spend their final years, most Americans continue to state that they would rather stay in their homes than move anywhere else. While that appears to make sense on the surface, if you dig just a little deeper there are many reasons why staying at home to “age in place” might not be the wisest choice. 

New research cited in Forbes magazine earlier this year continues to support the conclusion that moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is probably a better overall long-term plan, even for those individuals who are physically independent.  

Let’s use the acronym “ABCs” (Accessibility, Budget, Chores and Socialization) to compare the reality of staying at home with the opportunity to move into a Life Plan Community such as Kendal at Granville (also known as a CCRC). 

 

Accessibility: Aging at Home vs Moving to a CCRC

woman in wheelchair around home

Aging at Home

Most private homes are not designed to accommodate the needs of seniors, including such common considerations as wider hallways for walkers or entry ramps and lower sinks for wheelchairs. Home modifications can add up quickly!  And, in some two-story homes, it simply isn’t possible for floor-plan changes that will be safe for octogenarians who can’t or shouldn’t be going up and downstairs.

Moving to a CCRC

Retirement communities are purposefully built to address the needs of older adults. Most are single-floor homes, with larger windows to allow abundant natural light, walk-in showers and comfort height toilets, levers instead of doorknobs, and a built-in call button or security system to ensure safety. Residents are often surprised and delighted by some of these little things that make life easier and more enjoyable.

Related Read: Resident Story: I’m active but my husband’s health is declining.

 

Budget: Aging at Home vs Moving to CCRC

calculator sitting on table

Aging at Home

While it may seem that a home without a mortgage would be the least expensive alternative, often that simply isn’t true! Those unexpected major repairs, like replacing a furnace or major appliances or fixing a leaky roof, add up quickly. Don’t forget that there are utility bills, annual property taxes and insurance bills, too. 

Furthermore, what happens when you need help? According to the article Living at Home Isn’t Living for Free, more than two-thirds of all adults over the age of 65 will need some type of care, sooner or later. When you choose to age in place in your home, in-home caregivers average at least $19 per hour. Many stay-at-home adults eventually wind up paying for assistance with housekeeping, maintenance, meal preparation or personal care, and such services are not inexpensive!

Moving to a CCRC

Life Plan Communities can provide budget stability. For a fixed monthly fee (and predictable annual increases), you will receive a luxurious “maintenance free” home complete with utilities, campus-wide Wi-Fi, Internet and television services, regular housekeeping and groundskeeping services.  Extra services such as a meal plan with chef-prepared menus, access to the fitness center, hobby spaces, libraries and beauty salons are often included. 

Additionally, certain contract types provide significant tax advantages by permitting you to deduct the cost of pre-paid long-term health care. Your first impression may be that you cannot afford that monthly fee, but if you do a side-by-side comparison, you may find a community will actually save you money!

You may be interested in using our free MoneyGauge Calculator. The tool generates a colorful chart and year-by-year analysis showing the projected impact of moving to a Life Plan Community on savings and asset levels over a lifetime. 

Related Read: Tax Benefits of Moving to a CCRC

 

Chores: Aging at Home vs Moving to a CCRC

dishes sitting in a dishwasher

Aging at Home

There comes a time when we just don’t enjoy keeping up with home maintenance,  groundskeeping such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves or shoveling snow, and daily chores such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etcetera. And, four out of 10 adults age 75+ report having at least one physical disability that impairs their ability to live independently meaning they may have to hire someone to provide these services … so for older adults, the “cost” for daily chores is both time AND money.

Moving to a CCRC

Retirement communities like Kendal at Granville give you the most valuable non-renewable resource:  Time! Freedom from home maintenance and other daily chores gives you the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life: to pursue old or new hobbies, to enrich your life with friends, to contribute to the wider world around you.  Now is the time to make each day count, by substituting what you “have to do” with doing what you love!

 

Socialization: Aging at Home vs Moving to a CCRC

group of older adults raising their glasses

Aging at Home

Your home address may be comfortingly familiar, but do you know your neighbors? If your home was once your castle, over time it can become more like a prison when children or friends are gone, and nobody visits. Isolation is a major problem for older adults who remain in their home, and the National Institute for Mental Health has declared depression a major public health issue, impacting nearly half of females over age 75 living alone.  

Moving to a CCRC

Socialization and feeling like a part of a community is an important predictor of happiness for older adults.  The first-of-its -kind longitudinal Age Well study conducted by MatherLifeways Institute on Aging found that 70% of individuals report that moving into a Life Plan Community has “somewhat” or “greatly” improved their social wellness. This makes sense because communities offer many places to interact with others of a similar age, through fitness classes, book groups, card clubs, hobby and activity spaces, lectures and outings.  Kendal at Granville’s Resident Association boasts 50 committees that cater to resident interests from Art to Urban Zen… there is truly something for everyone!

Related Read: What's to do at Kendal: Why Socializing Matters as You Age

 

Studies Show Community Improves Quality of Life

Having now compared the factors of Accessibility, Budget, Chores and Socialization for living at home versus moving into a Life Plan Community, are you surprised at the reality? 

Aging in place can happen no matter where you live. However, by living in a Life Plan Community, you gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you have a strategy that will allow you to grow old gracefully, because your home will be accessible, your budget will be stabilized, and many chores will be a thing of the past as you experience the joy of socializing with old and new friends.

Mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that living within a community setting may significantly improve the quality of life for individuals age 75+…so, what are you waiting for? Contact Kendal at Granville to learn more about how we can best serve your needs!

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