Breaking Down the Cost of Long-Term Care

We all know life doesn’t come with an instruction manual — but one might be helpful to have, especially as we move through our retirement years. 

No one hands over a guidebook explaining what a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is, what a Life Plan Community is, why we should consider such a community, or how to find one near them.

And certainly, nobody explains what Long-Term Care is, what the costs of long-term care are, and why we may need to plan for those costs one day. 

Fortunately, we’re here to help.  

We’ll explain the benefits of living in a Life Plan Community (which is the same thing as a CCRC), explain long-term care, and help you understand the costs associated with long-term care at a CCRC. We’ll also look at whether a CCRC might be the right place for you to live happier and healthier as you age.

Continuing Care Retirement Community vs. A Life Plan Community 

This isn’t meant to be confusing, but as we said above, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, is actually the same thing as a Life Plan Community. In fact, Life Plan Community is just a more updated term used to describe a senior living community that offers multiple living options, such as independent living and some additional levels of care, all on one campus.

Those levels, also called the continuum of care, may include assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, skilled nursing care, or memory care.

The benefit of a Life Plan Community is it offers older adults a plan for life — it’s an opportunity to live a full life without additional disruptive moves for future care needs. An older adult may make one move to the community as an independent living resident, enjoying the services, amenities, fellowship, and wellness opportunities the community offers. 

If the older adult ever needs a higher level of care, they know where they’ll receive it, and how much it will cost (often at rates well below what they would pay as a non-resident).

Now let’s look at one particular level of care commonly found at a Life Plan Community: long-term care.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care is designed for those who require 24-hour medical services and support. It’s typically a permanent residence for people who are no longer able to live independently. This type of care may be the best care option for an older adult who:

  • Has had an injury or illness and needs significant rehabilitation, such as speech, physical, or occupational therapy
  • Has a progressive condition, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Is unable to care for themselves due to chronic conditions or worsening health
  • Would benefit from 24-hour medical attention and on-site services such as nutritious meals planned by a dietitian

This type of care is not covered by Medicare; instead, it’s paid for by private health insurance, long-term care insurance, or Medicaid.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are 8 warning signs that help caregivers tell when long-term care is needed:

  1. A change in self-care
  2. A decline in memory
  3. Noticeable weight loss
  4. Mood changes
  5. Issues with driving ability
  6. Problems with mobility
  7. Loss of social connections
  8. Frequent falls

Because the need for long-term care can arise quickly, such as after a stroke or extended hospitalization, experts recommend that older adults learn about the differences in long-term care choices well before a choice needs to be made.

The Importance of Long-Term Care

Many older adults don’t think much about their future care until they need it. The problem with that is, by the time someone needs care, it’s often due to  a crisis — and care is needed right now.

And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors 65+ will need some type of long-term care. 

What’s more, a Genworth© Cost of Care Survey conducted by CareScout® indicated that the national 2020 market rates for care were:

  • At-home living options (like in-home nursing and other health aides) — $4,576 a month or $54,912 annually
  • Assisted living — $4,300/month or $51,600 annually
  • A private room in Long-Term Care — $8,821/month or $105,852 annually

Again, those figures reflect “market rates,” which is what an older adult would be paying out of pocket for care, if they went from their home or hospital directly into a long-term care community. 

Life Plan Communities are a plan for today and tomorrow

Consider the facts: long-term care costs are more than $105,000 a year, and more than two-thirds of people over 65 will need long-term care in their lifetimes. 

This is why many seniors are choosing to move into a Life Plan Community. It’s an opportunity to live independently today, knowing there’s a plan in place for any medical care that may be needed in the future.

If you live in the Tacoma area, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at eliseo. Our Life Plan Community offers residents independent living, along with assisted living, short-term stays and rehabilitation, long-term care, and memory care.

Learn more about eliseo and what it can bring to your retirement lifestyle by scheduling your personal tour.