Tag Archives: Assisted Living

TimeShare or Senior Continuum Care Communities

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:

  1. Home Ownership for independent structures.
  2. 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:
    1. Weekly housecleaning
    2. Meal Plans (both dining in and carry out services)
    3. Personal Fitness Programs
    4. Club Activities (i.e. bridge club, golf club, pool club, etc…)
    5. 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.

  1. Shopping Options
    1. Dollar store
    2. Gift store
    3. Fresh market
    4. Bakery
    5. Clothing boutiques
    6. Video Store
  2. Recreational Options
    1. Pond for fishing
    2. Golf course
    3. Miniature golf
    4. Botanical garden
    5. Walking trail
    6. Park
    7. Movie Theatre
    8. Library
  3. Services
    1. Medical services on site (vision, hearing, dental, general practitioner, chiropractic, naturopathic doctors, o.t.,p.t., s.t., therapy)
    2. Spa & Beauty Salons
    3. 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.

Preparing For Aging

https://www.periscope.tv/w/av3kCjFkcmplWlBWTHpORWJ8MWRqR1hFcFhRb2pKWuvh6s6eTzpT_jVlWPR-ojxm7OLMCVBJrSfckoIGFg3f
This video addresses the What if questions of aging should you find yourself in need of 24 hour care.  It provides suggestions for how you can prepare for life should you find your health deteriorating.  It probes you into proactively putting things in place to insure that those who love you won’t be off guard should you need immediate attention.  

A New Reality for Assisted Living

In the wake of considering the current situation we have and will have in our future it has helped me to re-evaluate what I would like to see in our world. Since I am old enough to have to face this reality for those I love who are older than myself, yet young enough to begin putting some thought and parameters in place to make my own decisions I would like to share my dream with you. Let’s face it those of us after the Baby Boomers are going to be in big trouble as we age. Our emerging machine oriented environment has neither equipped us nor our children with the social skills and emotional skills necessary to cope with what will be a major problem as I get older and those below me. Care and concern for the elderly is getting more and more callous and old school ability to stick it out and care for your loved ones till death do you part, well that is a thing of the past. Leaving us in situations where we are going to be more and more dependent on some sort of system to provide for the growing group of people who will be dependent on assisted living for one reason or another.

We are living longer now then any other time in modern history, we are told, but what we are not being told is the condition of the lives we are living as we age? We are not being told the cost of dying slowly and the misery involved as we age and our children and loved ones pretty much cast us aside to the professional doctors and nurses who are paid to care for us. This concern is however, emerging in an around about way for those of us in our twenties and thirties who are beginning to make better choices as it relates to food purchases, and investing in exercise plans. However, many of us based on our savings alone if we had to depend on it to ensure that we could age in a place that would provide for our needs in a way that we can maintain our dignity and not suffer from depression would be in big trouble. As we work we live the lives we want to live, and do the things we want to do, and it sets us up for a major let down if we had to face the reality of growing old in a government supported facility.

 

I submit to you, what if there was a way that you can plan for your retirement and live in a serene environment where your years of life on this earth would be both celebrated and put to use? If you could wake up every morning in a beautifully decorated home that gave you easy access and allowed you to have the independence you have always had, but in a resort like environment? If you could have healthy meals prepared, naturopathic doctors assisting you in prevention and traditional doctors available for routine maintenance at your fingertips, would that appeal to you? You wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning, cooking, or having access to relaxing amenities which allowed you to socialize when you like or retreat when you like. Enjoy the lively sounds of nature, the calming movement of water, and beauty that surrounded you at every angle. That would be the life, and it can be a reality for an affordable price for those forward thinking enough to start planning now.

 

I propose investing in an affordable fire extinguisher for your future. If you are not aware of the potential dangers involved in NOT planning for your golden years then I highly recommend you read my article, “Dangers of Throwing Caution To The Wind: How We Should Be Planning Ahead For Our Golden Years”. There I share some sound advice for those in the valley of decision concerning purchasing a family home and things you should consider to make wise decisions that can benefit your future. In it I propose questions you should consider, but saved planning options for your retirement for here. I personally became interested after my own family was faced with making such decisions and in my research on purchasing LTC (Long Term Care) insurance I begin to see the horror stories that befell so many people who have loved ones who paid years and years into a policy that they were unable to benefit from, based on technicalities, loopholes, and the outdated policies that did not cover the shift in current societal needs. Policies our parents purchased when they were our age didn’t anticipate the growing need for memory care and how that type of care could be financially draining. Insurance companies are probably easily getting bombarded with the growing influx of not only old, but younger than expected patients are depending on those policies to provide.

As it relates to traditional options for the growing needs of aging parents there are no remedies, cures, or options for reversing or slowing down the effects of aging ungracefully. However, the emerging naturopathic field is making great strides in using alternative, non or minimal invasive methods for either slowing down the rate of declining health trends and for some reversing diseases that had been considered terminal by traditional medicine. What needs to occur is a return to whole, organic, non “substantially equivalent” or also known as GMO foods, fresh air environments, and plainly put simple living facilities that don’t wreak of the havoc of our stressful environments. Even for those who are retired everything in our world is geared towards go, go, go. After spending 30 or more years working now our elders need a place they can retire in peace and enjoy the laid back life away from the constant bombardment of living. We have become so accustomed to irreversible diseases that traditional medicine, and nursing home, and assisted living facilities no longer even attempt to focus on getting people well enough to live independent of them, but has instead grown comfortable with the idea that those who enter their doors will be there for life. While I don’t offer you a utopia that will ensure that your loved ones will regain the life they once had, or promise that they could get well enough to ever live on their own, I submit to you that I do envision a place where that is the goal. The goal is not just to make you comfortable until you die, but to help you live a full life, and should you die here you can die with your life full not empty. Your years of wisdom tapped into, captured, put into use, and passing on so that your life has meaning till the day you die, and continues to live on through those you were able to impact until your last breath. While people can die even doing everything they should do, the ideology of naturopathy is vastly different then that of allopathic medicine. Every individual should have access to both, a naturopath that will focus on helping you reach your best, and the allopathic who will keep you from dying. You need someone who will you find out the root cause of your sickness, and you need the person who will keep you from dying as a result of the immediate damage an unhealthy lifestyle has caused.

 

I submit to you that it is possible however, to have the best of both worlds and the way to do that is to apply some of the principles of the time share model to what I call the life care model. Purchasing a timeshare is frivolous, but it gets its support from those who see the economic benefit in buying a service that allows them to have access to a resort that they intend on using year after year without having to pay retail pricing. Essentially buying your vacation time in installments versus lump sum payments. This too is one reason why insurance is usually so favorable. We trust the insurance companies to do what we typically are not disciplined enough to do ourselves hold our money for us until we need it. The problem comes when stipulations and access to get that money out has to meet insurance policies. What I am proposing is similar to a time share in that you are buying over time into a system that has shared investments based on need of use. The difference is unlike a timeshare should you need assisted living it will become the place you stay for life, not for a week or two. However, the shared part of this equation has more to do with how this system can function at an affordable cost and can be passed down to other members of the family based on need. Which is what makes it an investment. You would be in effect paying two mortgages in a way. At first more aggressively paying for the building of your structure, and then as you get older less aggressively paying for the amenities and the property that it lies on. The only benefit to this approach is if you don’t need it, and if no one in your family needs it, you can elect to rent your space out to someone who could use it now. Since most people haven’t prepared in advance for such a need you having a spot in an exclusive and progressive assisted living residents makes your property prime real estate for a family in desperate need of a good home for their loved one. This means you have the option as the owner to rent it out at what you pay or more at your discretion which would in effect mean you would be paying off the principle for your property before you actually need it.

 

Imagine having a retirement home already ready to go with the ability to accommodate any growing needs you may have. A place that provides services to keep you well as well as address your immediate needs. Imagine that this possibility for your life could be paid for right now would you be interested in it? I am working on a proposal that will allow for you to plan for your families needs and for larger families to invest together in an assisted living haven that would be accessible should their parents, themselves, or their children need it in the future. Something that would be affordable, provide for 24 hour staff, quality care, alternative care, and accommodate the lifestyle that you worked so hard to acquire, even when you can’t do for yourself. This would be a viable alternative for those concerned about current insurance policy loopholes that could limit your option for you and your loved one, and bleed your bank accounts dry. These facilities would provide state of the art care, luxurious facilities, residing in a retreat like atmosphere.

 

Those who think they might be interested in this proposal please fill out the form below and you will be kept up to date as this plan is put in place.

The Danger of Throwing Caution to the Wind: How We Should Be Planning Ahead for Our Golden Years:

Nothing is more heartbreaking then having to prepare for the inevitability of growing old not so gracefully. The sting of haphazard lifestyle choices and “treating ourselves” with unhealthy eating plays a toll even more as we get older. For those of us who live long enough and are just strong enough to require assisted living the traditional options ring of a bleak existence. The growing issues of dementia and the possibility of becoming disabled due to too many falls have made the need for either home care, nursing homes, or assisted living a reality that doesn’t just affect our parents, but also impacts how we must live in the wake of our parents aging.

 

However, having our parents dependent is still preferable to not having them at all. Anyone who has had good parents, want their parents to have the best, if we are not freed up to care for our loved ones we want the next best thing for them. Which in many cases requires assistance from outside of our home to accomplish. Smaller families with less children means for a growing trend to have to depend outside of the nucleus family for help. As I watch my parents and Aunts and Uncles age and many suffer from the unfortunate mishaps life can bring I am seeing the difference it makes in having a large family. My mom’s family there exists ten siblings and nine surviving and most of them still live in the town they were born and raised in. Having this large family structure meant that my grandmother could finish her days living in her own home, even with dementia, being cared for by her children with home health care being provided in assistance with the family surrounding her. My uncle who is not even the oldest who suffered some medical trauma himself that required him to be admitted to a facility for therapy has the benefit of several siblings who are popping in and out to ensure that he is getting quality care and encouragement. For my immediate family such a buffer doesn’t exist. As for my mom she only has two of us and as for my dad he only has three of us to depend on in which all three of us live a considerable distance from them in the event they were in need. Our circumstances would require that either our parents would have to leave the place they called home to stay with us, or would have to depend on their remaining siblings and/or facility aided care.

 

It’s heartbreaking and emotionally draining, as children you would like to be the one caring for your parents who brought you in this world and cared for you, and what’s even more disheartening is when they haven’t prepared for what could possibly happen to them during their golden years, so while you would like for your parents to have the very best possible care and living situation, your finances may at worst put them in a predicament where they could be miserable and neglected. This has caused me to re-evaluate a lot of things, not just for my family, but for myself, if God forbid I find myself in a future situation that would require me to have to make such decisions. I personally could find myself on my own since I have no biological children which is really causing me to analyze my future options and weighing how I should plan for that possibility.

 

While I have always been an advocate for living healthy so that you can live until you die, and this of course is the best way to avoid many tragedies that befall those who become sick due to auto-immune disease, the reality is it doesn’t protect you from a plethora of other things that could happen that can cause you to have to live out your days in an assisted living situation. Tragedy can strike in multiple ways in which diet, exercise, and proper rest can’t prevent. We all know that person who ate healthy, exercised, and slept on a clock who either died young, or tragedy struck. On the other hand we know that person who smoked a pipe, ate ice cream every night and lived to be 103 having no need of assistance. So I say that to say nothing is for certain, and no one is untouchable as it relates to sickness, disease, or the potential for disability.

 

For those of us who bought into the belief that less is better and cut our family down to one or two, or if you are one of those unfortunate enough to not have children then even more so you’d better start planning and saving for the facility that you would like to go into should you find yourself in need.

 

There are several options available for the financially prepared that may be most comparable for an assisted living situation should you not find yourself in a completely dependent state. You can opt to have in home care if you were wise enough to own a home that is already set up or easily convertible for handicap assistance. This may be the most affordable option for those who are in a limited financial preparedness situation. If you are in a situation where you are in your early thirties or forties I would encourage you to consider these factors when choosing a house. Many of us purchase homes with stairs and many of those stairs are needed to access places that are essential to daily living. Such as kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms being located between or at the top of the stairways. If this is you expect that you will probably have to move should your lifestyle situation have to change due to impairment. If you own the house this would only be a temporary setback, which can be major if you don’t have a spouse, living children or trusted people to care for you.   If you live in a house that is loft style or open concept then making the adjustment will be relatively easy to live out your days or as many of your days as possible within your home with daily assistance or home care provision.

 

Unfortunately none of us know what our future holds, obviously advance notice could allow for us to prepare for the future more carefully and would possibly change the way we live our lives in the here and now. But since we don’t know, the smartest option is to install the fire extinguisher in our lives. Fire extinguishers hopefully will never have to be used, and in many homes it isn’t, but unfortunately there are times when it is needed and there is far less damage when one is there then when it is not. If you know that you have limited income and you don’t expect to win any lotteries nor have any rich uncles or aunts who just love you to pieces then you should consider when purchasing a home or moving into neighborhoods what would be the fire extinguisher necessary in the event you should find yourself in need of medical attention or assistance.

 

  1. Buy a home that is in close proximity to the hospital you would want to be admitted to in the event tragedy struck. Many times we don’t think about this as being an important factor in choosing where we live. We focus on school zones, but the reality is after you begin looking for a home that will suit your needs not just a family home the most important thing you want to ensure is that you live close to a hospital you would be okay with going to in the event assistance is needed. Many places don’t let you choose the hospital you go to when EMT is dispatched. You are forced to go to the nearest hospital and the nearest hospital might not be the best option for you or the one you would like to be admitted to. But this is critical because it is nearly impossible to get transferred once you’re there.
  2. Choose your home style wisely. When you buy a house you aren’t thinking necessarily about future possibilities, but in the midst of you falling in love with the kitchen, décor, flooring, and grand entrances, make sure that you look at things like how open is the area? Do I have to go up stairs to access main areas of the home like the kitchen, bathroom, etc… Is there at least one bedroom or an area that could be a bedroom accessible on the main floor? Are there stairs outside the home? These are things that may not cost you a lot in purchasing, but can cost you your life or your lifesavings in the event that you had to function at limited capacity in that home.
  3. Do I live in a desirable neighborhood? More important than having the fancy home is living in the fancy area. Even if your house value depreciates due to wear and tare, if you live in a sought after area, you would still be able to quickly sell your home if that became necessary to move into an assisted living facility. This is critical because unless you have $20,000 or more stashed away somewhere if you had to move into an assisted living situation tomorrow, this is not a scenario that would be cheap. Depending on the assistance you need and where you live you can easily be looking at anywhere from $2000 to $5000 a month. While that covers all your necessity of life living expenses it certainly doesn’t leave most money for anything else, and since your working days would be over having cash on hand will be essential and being able to sell your home quickly will be as well.

For more information on assisted living planning, please read my article A New Reality For Assisted Living.