A group of senior women enjoying wine together

Questions to Ask About Life Care and Rental Communities

If you’re considering a move to a senior living community, you may be wondering whether a Life Care community or a rental community is the right choice for your long-term retirement needs. As healthcare costs increase, planning for the long-term has become more important than ever for older adults. 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself about your financial situation, care needs and lifestyle preferences as you decide whether a Life Care community or rental community is the right choice for you. 

What is Life Care?

Life Care communities offer residents long-term stability and predictable costs. In exchange for an entrance fee and monthly fee, residents gain all the benefits of resort-style amenities and services paired with access to higher levels of care, should they ever need it. Over 70% of older adults will need long-term levels of care and services, and in most cases, Medicare does not cover this. 

As healthcare costs continue to rise, more seniors are making plans for their future care needs now. Many Life Care communities provide a continuum of care from independent living to memory care and skilled nursing if ever needed, all included in a predictable monthly fee that can add up to significant savings compared to market price. 

What is a Rental Community?

Rental communities offer the benefit of flexibility, with the drawback of unpredictable costs should healthcare needs change. Rental communities may have on-site healthcare options and access to any higher levels of care, but it will need to be paid out of pocket at market rates, which are unreadable and rapidly rising.  

5 Questions You Should Ask When Vetting Senior Living Options

As you assess your retirement living options, these questions will help you prioritize what’s important to you and analyze your choices based on your financial situation and lifestyle preferences.

What Do Long-Term Costs Look Like? 

While rental communities may appear cheaper on the surface because initial costs are often lower than that of a Life Care community, external costs must be considered in the equation. Life Care communities aim to provide predictable costs for housing and healthcare over time, whereas rental communities do not offer inclusive access to care. Healthcare costs can add up quickly. Consider that if healthcare costs rise just 2% per year, then a 55-year-old couple retiring in 2022 could expect to spend nearly one million dollars in medical expenses. At a rental community, you would be paying whatever the current market rate is for your care costs. They would not be budgeted and accounted for ahead of time as they would in a Life Care community. 

If There’s An Entrance Fee, Is Any of It Refundable?

Life Care communities do have an entrance fee, but a portion of it may be refundable, depending on your contract type.  Additionally, you may be eligible to receive tax benefits based on your fee structure, as some Life Care community fees can qualify as prepaid medical expenses. Reach out to your top senior independent living community choices to ask for more specifics. Always speak to a tax professional before assuming any tax benefit. 

What Services and Amenities Are Available?

Available services and amenities can drastically impact not only the value received for your monthly fees, but also the quality of life you enjoy. It’s not uncommon for Life Care communities to offer a more robust amenities package than rental communities. Ask for a list of available amenities and compare these across your top community choices.  

What Level of Care Is Available On-Site? 

Hand in hand with available amenities, the healthcare available to you can impact your long-term costs as well as your long-term quality of life. Ask about the levels of care on-site, and what is included (and what isn’t) in your monthly fee. This will vary depending on your Life Care contract type or your monthly lease.  

What Does Life in This Community Really Look Like?

Perhaps the ultimate question you should ask each community you consider is what day to day life really looks like for the residents of a Life Care community. If possible, ask if you can speak to current residents. If you’re going to live your retirement years to their fullest, you should be able to get a sense for what that looks like in practice at the communities you are considering. 

Explore Senior Living Options at Edgemere

At Edgemere, we are proud to offer an exceptional lifestyle for our residents regardless of the level of care they need. We have a variety of living options available and unique programming and services that help each of our residents live their best lives. With amenities like our exquisite dining and wine grotto, elegant library, putting green, and private movie theater, our residents have so much to enjoy during this chapter of their lives. If you’re ready to envision your best years at our exceptional Life Care community, contact us to schedule a tour, or fill out the form below.