The current model of healthcare services provided for our elderly who require assisted living or skilled nursing is not only passe but depressing. Anyone who loves their loved one who is faced with having to make a decision concerning where they will spend their golden years understands the heartbreaking options that await them. Our current Medicaid system needs a revamp and Capitol hill is far behind on making the changes that are necessary to meet the growing need of care. If you haven’t done any shopping in what the cost is for getting skilled nursing I would highly encourage you to begin shopping. One of the major changes that need to take place is the choke hold that skilled nursing facilities has on medicaid provision as well as long term care insurance options. Today, there are better options available to those who fall between the areas of skilled nursing and assisted living and quite frankly the cost for services of the better option comes with a much more reasonable price tag.
It makes more economic sense and common sense, especially if Medicaid is supposed to serve the people rather then the industry to encourage elderly people in need of assistance to stay in an assistant living facility as long as it is possible. By leveling the playing field and widening the market as far as options the competition would actually push more skilled nursing facilities to provide higher levels of service recognizing that families get to not only choose between skilled nursing, but also assisted living and memory care facilities. This provides a greater incentive for nursing homes to fix their own internal problems and fine tune their services. Those who have persevered in working to build this country and make it what it is today deserve better then a place to hold them until they die. A place that neither our loved ones want to be and their families want to visit them in. After years of toiling and turning, making a way for your children and sacrificing to meet their needs it seems unfitting that the end game would lead to seclusion in a skilled nursing facility where your basic needs of health are neglected unless micromanaged by your family.
We who are in the working class need to have a shift in our priorities. Rather then spending our money on a timeshare that gives you one week a year to escape the hustle and bustle of life we need to begin shifting our extravagant vacation fund into retirement property. Obviously setting aside funds that can’t be touched such as a funeral trust or funeral insurance that would need to be at least $10,000 if you plan to be buried underground with a tombstone and as low as perhaps $6000 if your goal is to be cremated. Whichever one you decide this needs to take high priority because you are not guaranteed to live long enough to be old and enjoy retirement living, but death is almost a certainty for most of us and having funds set aside to accommodate that need is key to having your wishes honored. However, if you do live long enough to make it to old age, or even if you find yourself falling prey to a debilitating illness it is important that you be prepared for what the cost of living is for aided care. This is a topic that many of you know I have been passionate about ever since my loved one suffered a debilitating sickness. The options out there are few and far between and the compromises you have to make especially if you are not financially prepared for such a catastrophe is quite limiting.
The baby boomer generation are all reaching a point in their life where retirement services of some sort on some level are almost guaranteed to be a must. Driving may become taxing or due to vision and reflexes could be completely out the question so being in a community that has other transportation options available will be very important. Cooking and cleaning is another chore that many of our elderly people are less able to do, whether vertigo becomes a problem making looking up or down a challenge, or energy levels fluctuating causing the chores of doing daily tasks difficult, but you’re still able to use the bathroom, bathe yourself adequately, and the like then a senior community is an ideal situation to be in. Having had to look for out of the box answers to meet caring for my loved one who lives hundreds of miles away, while meeting their desire to stay out of skilled nursing we had to consider every possibility within his budget to provide for his care. What I have found is that many places are heading in the right direction, with of course the most important ingredient to success being having quality workers who desire to provide quality care. However, probably the perfect marriage between this rental based living is a full continuum care community that extends its reach to not just providing rental property, for assisted living and memory care residents but providing purchasable real estate property for self sustaining seniors who can still live independently or with their families in a 2 or 3 bedroom home.
Let’s face it many of us who are in the working class now live a certain lifestyle that we are accustomed to and certainly we aren’t working ourselves as hard as we are to end in the corner somewhere at a institutionalized nursing home if we can help it. Thus, the next wise development would really be to provide senior living communities that incorporate short term rehab, nursing home, assisted living, and memory care within a housing community that also extends itself by providing cottage style housing options. While assisted living apartments and memory care apartments would not be purchasable real estate property, many seniors would enjoy the amenities and environment of being in a senior community, but a steak they can actually buy not just sink their teeth into. Which is where patio homes or cottages around the enclosed community would be an ideal situation. This housing would require that selling of the property must be only provided to residents who meet the age criteria, but otherwise is a place that their children could inherit as they get older or as they require senior care needs.
As stated one thing is for sure we will get older and our ability to go up twenty stairs everyday will change, these luxurious garden tubs will become a pain, and cooking and cleaning well that will become as old to us as we are. Having the ability to have a retirement community that extends its housekeeping, therapy plans, dining options, and community resources to those who own homes within the community is a major plus.
After selling your home nobody wants to find themselves in a rental situation again, and should your health decline the advantage of a senior living continuum care community is that your one time community fee paid when you first entered the community provides for you to transition to whatever level of care your physical state requires without having to pay a hefty fee when you are least financially prepared to do so. By being proactive in your downsizing you have made it possible to be exactly where you need to be when changes occur and membership has its privileges as you would be able to easily transition to the next level of care at a membership rate, and because entrance is both limited and exclusive you have access to the most prime property which means that should you not financially be able to afford the next level of care, selling your home on site provides financial security for your transitional level.
Also, by being proactive by buying property onsite and paying your one time community fee at closing or at an age when you are receiving steady income versus a fixed income you forgo the community cost that is sure to go up over time to make the shift.
This model allows for greater affordability for even the middle class savvy senior to get in. By downsizing on a home that you may have paid off or come extremely close to paying off your equity plus your principal travels with you which will put you at a major advantage when starting fresh in our new community. You could easily find yourself in a position where your new home could be bought out right or at least completely paid for before you are 65 if you move in at 55.
Resort style living in safer locations. Smart shopping for property would require looking for land that allowed for turning a forest into a goldmine with natural water features, and fertile land, being a plus situated in an area that is not prone to natural disasters being more ideal. Let’s face it as beautiful as Florida is the constant threat of hurricanes and other natural calamities make it a recipe for disaster when you mix that in with seniors and especially senior citizens with disabilities. So, the ideal spot for this senior continuum care community would require paying close attention to safe locations.
Everyone should have choices and a senior care continuum community ought to be able to offer that and that should extend beyond the walls of the assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing unit. For this cause the next level of senior continuum care communities should include the following:
- Home Ownership for independent structures.
- A sliding scale association fee based on the amenities you choose to partake in. A base fee which covers the cost of the common area grounds, as well as your personal property, and in and outside home maintenance warranty, as well as supplemental services that can be added on for an additional fee. This service can be added on a monthly or yearly basis. Monthly services being able to be cancelled at any time and yearly services at a discount but nonrefundable. Supplemental services such as:
- Weekly housecleaning
- Meal Plans (both dining in and carry out services)
- Personal Fitness Programs
- Club Activities (i.e. bridge club, golf club, pool club, etc…)
- Utility package – (Pay a one size fit all fee monthly for electricity, water, internet, landline phone service, and water)
Again the grounds should also offer some form of recreation, as we age we become less mobile so having things available at arms reach is key to keeping our baby boomers, booming with active, vibrant, and healthy lives. For this reason these communities should offer shopping options, recreational options, and services.
- Shopping Options
- Dollar store
- Gift store
- Fresh market
- Clothing boutiques
- Video Store
- Recreational Options
- Pond for fishing
- Golf course
- Miniature golf
- Botanical garden
- Walking trail
- Movie Theatre
- Medical services on site (vision, hearing, dental, general practitioner, chiropractic, naturopathic doctors, o.t.,p.t., s.t., therapy)
- Spa & Beauty Salons
- Personal Fitness Services
These options are optional and should be based on the interest of the seniors of that area and should be considered on the front end of construction. The more rural the area the more likely you will have to provide services in house, the more centrally located the less amount of services you would need to provide onsite. Consideration of location and the interests of the people in your area should always be the priority when planning.
The baby boomer generation has a much greater appreciation of home ownership and having something to pass down to their children, even if their children aren’t particularly interested in what they would like to pass down. Nevertheless, this is a noble thing, and one thing for sure if their children keep living they will live long enough to appreciate the benefits of functional housing that is handicap accessible especially when in combination with a luxurious touch. If children are too young to take advantage of living in a senior community then renting out the property to other seniors in need of the space is also an option. Which in the end still makes this property a worthwhile investment attractive to anyone who fits the age criteria. By having the amenities that are available at arms length they can decide whether or not at any given time if they would like to add on services, and those services will be billed to them beginning that next month for those still independent they still will enjoy the basic services of carefree living, not having to concern themselves with mowing, or major maintenance issues. Either way this way of thinking and investment in Senior continuum care living is simply a wise choice offering amenities and options for both the independent senior and the assisted needs senior.
If you would like to continue to receive correspondence on this topic and dream with me just a little while longer in aging with dignity follow my blog. I will be posting more food for thought on this topic as well as reviews of facilities that I have visited. If you would be interested in investing in building a senior continuum care community also join in on the conversation, at some point it will be time to take what is being written on a blog and see it come to life on land. The first phase being to invest in land, and the second phase being to invest in architecture and landscaping. Finally, if financial investment is not something you can do you can begin changing legislation. Start making your voice heard concerning widening the use of medicaid to include assisted living and memory care as viable placement options or some sort of voucher program for Seniors requiring 24 hour care to be made available for assisted living and memory care facilities.