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July 23rd, 2021
When picturing your retirement and making plans for the future, chances are a global pandemic never factored into the equation. As vaccination numbers increase and the light at the end of the tunnel brightens, you may start revisiting plans that had to be put on hold, plans that could include a safe senior living community. Not sure if now is the right time to start exploring your senior living options? You’re likely not alone. Millions of Americans planning for retirement are wondering the same thing you are right now. The truth is, uncertain times like these make it easier to see the many benefits of senior living and all the comfort and security provided by a Life Plan Community.
The Safety and Security Communities Provide
Despite many common assumptions, Life Plan communities, also called Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), are incredibly safe options for those looking to move during retirement. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic forced communities to adapt quickly and responsibly to the new normal, resulting in some of the most satisfying and comforting environments seniors could be fortunate enough to call home.
Reflect on the past year, for example: During this most unusual time, far too many older adults found themselves more alone than ever before. Families and friends isolated themselves from their larger communities, and many of the everyday things we take for granted, like running to the store for groceries or simply going anywhere in public, became complicated tasks that required extra planning and care. And within that rapidly changing world, all the regular challenges of homeownership like yard work and house repairs still persisted, only now made exponentially harder to address.
Now consider that same experience from inside a senior living community where best practices for safe socialization were executed immediately. Stringent testing protocols were put into place for residents, loved ones and staff along with the distribution of personal protective wear, safety practices and infection prevention controls. Indoor and outdoor activities were planned to keep residents engaged. Meals were prepared and delivered door to door. Home maintenance was handled by the community and opportunities for lifelong learning or even live, socially distanced entertainment were made readily available. In fact, throughout the pandemic, many senior living residents were able to maintain and develop new social relationships and interests, pursue hobbies, access on-site services and support, and remain just as active as ever. All this still remains true today.
Of course, the most pressing concern during a pandemic, no matter where you live, is health care. In addition to delivering food directly to residents, medications can be dropped off as well when necessary. CCRCs also offer access to a medical clinic on-site for primary care, medication management, prescription refills and even specialty services like physical therapy. Many offer state-of-the-art fitness centers and outdoor exercise spaces fully integrated into the community that are reserved exclusively for residents.
Controlling the entire community environment is key to keeping everyone on campus healthy and safe. This includes making sure all common areas like lobbies, elevators and hallways are regularly sanitized and working closely with state and local health officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to maintain a safe community for all.
Navigating a More Complicated Moving Process
While living in a senior living community during a pandemic is a smart option, actually moving there is slightly more complicated than it used to be.
When starting your search, you’ll find almost every experience is now a virtual one. From touring the community to meeting sales counselors and even personalizing your residence, almost all of it can be done online. For most places, this switch to a virtual experience was done out of necessity due to COVID-19. However, after seeing how efficient and convenient it is to do everything online, expect many communities to keep this option in place going forward.
If this more streamlined and less time-consuming approach to finding the right community works for you, the next step will be preparing to sell your current home. According to recent data from real estate agents across the country, roughly 63% of home sellers were undeterred by the pandemic in their plans to move. The housing market right now is filled with serious buyers, many of whom are finding themselves putting multiple, over-asking offers on homes so they don’t miss out on the right one. Knowing there is a waiting and willing market out there just might make your decision to leave your home for the comfort of a senior living community that much easier.
Of course, you won’t be taking all of your things with you to your new community. It’s never too early to start rightsizing in preparation for an impending move. A large number of senior living communities partner with moving specialists to provide guidance to future residents on how to know what to keep and what to give away.
Once you’re ready to make the move, expect the actual process to look different from what you’ve previously encountered. In addition to temperature screenings and masks for anyone who’s yet to be vaccinated, don’t be surprised if move-in day includes a designated time slot to allow current residents to properly socially distance. In some places, certain elevators will be reserved specifically for those moving into their new residences. Things may also move a little slower as you could be limited in the number of friends or family members allowed on-site to help. The entire process, from the initial search for a community to choosing your new home and selling your current one, and finally physically moving in, will all have changed since the last time you moved, but the benefits of life in a senior living community are just as prominent as ever.
Why Moving During a Pandemic Is the Right Choice
In uncertain times, it’s natural to want to find a greater sense of comfort and security. Throughout the pandemic, senior living communities proved to be absolutely essential in providing invaluable peace of mind that comes from certainty over your future health care needs. Moving to Independent Living eliminates the worry of where you’ll go or who will care for you should your health decline. Your new community will feature a compassionate and experienced staff that knows how to provide personalized care specifically tailored to you or your loved one’s needs.
Once you become a resident, you no longer have to worry about maintaining a private home and all the expenses that entails or whether or not you’ll get back its full value once you decide to sell. Instead, you’ll find yourself in a financially stable community surrounded by unique and inspiring friends and neighbors with all the services and amenities you could hope for provided for you. Bills can add up quickly in your own home. Mortgage payments — if you’re still making them — monthly utility costs, food, gas,and more could all become harder to manage. Moving into a senior living community rolls almost all of these costs into one monthly fee in addition to your initial entrance fee. There are still other costs of homeownership you may not have considered, like trash and snow removal, HOA fees, landscaping services, housekeeping, gym memberships and home repair costs. All of these are also likely to be included in the monthly fee for most communities.
If you’re ready to begin exploring your senior living options, get as clear a picture as possible of what your future could look like to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family. A community like eliseoTM could be exactly what you’d hope to find. eliseo has even partnered with Seniors Better Together to help explain how moving to a senior living community makes more sense now during a pandemic than before. Once you’re ready to learn more about us, we’ll be more than happy to talk. Visit our website or call us at 253.319.3947 to schedule an appointment to visit our Tacoma, WA, campus.