Last week, I wrote about the true cost of remaining in your current home as you grow older. As I reflected on the post, I began to wonder whether it inadvertently came across as a sales pitch for life plan communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs.

I was bothered by this because one of the things that has always been important to me about this blog and all that we do at myLifeSite is to remain as objective as possible. I seek to provide a balanced perspective in the hopes that it might help you consider all angles of the senior living decision process and closely related topics.

My goal in last week’s post was not to suggest that a life plan community is always the right choice or that it is necessarily less expensive than living at home. Rather, it was to point out that living at home may be more expensive than you first realize, and therefore, the difference in cost between living in a retirement community and staying in your home may also be less than you think.

>> Related: What’s the True Cost of Staying in the Home?

But there’s a counterpoint to consider around this important topic of senior living costs. I received a response to last week’s post from one of our loyal followers who has worked at several different retirement communities over the years. She made a really good point that living in a retirement community may also cost more than a person may think, and this must be carefully considered.

In the spirit of providing a balanced perspective, I want to delve into this topic a bit more…

Additional life plan community cost considerations

While services such as housekeeping, maintenance, and landscaping may be included in the monthly service fee at the retirement community, it is important to understand exactly what these services include. Depending on the level of expectation, some residents may find they want more than what is provided, thereby necessitating the need to hire their own help to fill in the gaps.

Also, there may be additional costs associated with certain resident outings and various other activities. In essence, it is advisable to consider all aspects of your lifestyle desires and expectations, and then be sure you know all the costs involved.

>> Related: The Cost of a CCRC vs. the Value to Residents

The in-home care cost factor

In her response, our blog follower made another valuable point regarding the cost of in-home care. Residents at life plan communities or other senior living communities often prefer to remain in their independent living residence for as long as possible. This is usually permissible if the resident’s health and mobility have not declined to the point where remaining in an independent living setting would pose a safety risk to the resident or other residents.

Bear in mind, however, if the resident requires in-home care or other assistance as some point, the associated cost of these caregiving services is nearly always the responsibility of the resident.

For many people, this may not be a problem. After all, if they remained in their own home, as opposed to moving to a retirement community, the same would be true and the cost would be comparable. But as you consider the total costs, it may be particularly helpful to factor in the associated cost of possible in-home care, especially if the resident has paid for a residency contract that offers deeply discounted rates for care services in the healthcare center. Long-term care insurance would certainly help cover this cost, although not everyone has this coverage.

>> Related: What Will Long-Term Care Cost and How Long Will I Need It?

Weighing your senior living options

In short, the cost of remaining in your home may be more OR it may be less than moving to a CCRC or other senior living community. That’s why it is so important for seniors to understand exactly what costs they could be looking at in either scenario and factor those expenses into their retirement planning. It’s also why you need to know the terms of a CCRC’s contract to understand exactly what costs are included and what might cost you extra.

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