July 12, 2019

What to Look for in a Home After Retirement

Filed under: Boomer,Real Estate,Retirement,Senior Housing,Taxes — Tags: , — seniorlivingguide @ 10:27 am

Real Estate After RetirementCourtesy of Anita Ginsburg 

You’ve waited for what seems like a whole lifetime to retire. You’ve pinched your pennies and are now ready to enjoy this new chapter of your life. However, buying a new home after retirement isn’t the same as buying your first home. Depending on your financial situation, it can feel impossible to finance an investment this big at this point in your life.

To make the best decision for you and your budget, read on to learn about the most important points to consider when buying a home after retirement.

Location Matters

When it comes to real estate, there is one thing that everyone thinks about: location. People who are older need to carefully consider where they want to buy their retirement home. Although a sunny area may sound good on paper, it might not be your kind of paradise for the long-term. Consider important factors such as the climate, cost of living, crime rates and access to resources before you decide on a location.

Elderly people’s homes are often prime targets for break-ins, so you want to make sure that the security in your neighborhood is safe.

Also consider the average age of the members of your new neighborhood and if there is a strong senior citizen community that you’ll be able to take part in. Staying social after retirement is an important part of health and wellness, especially if you’re considering relocating to a new state or a new country. Make sure that you choose a destination that is as practical as it is alluring.

Pick a Home That’s Right for Aging

Purchasing a multi-level home is not ideal as you get on in years. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and accommodate your changing body over the next several decades. Amenities like a walk-in shower, easy wheelchair access and no staircases are all good criteria to consider. You may want to look for ranch-style homes that offer a wide layout with everything on the same floor.

You should also consider the size of the land you purchase. Having a small garden may be nice, but caring for excessive land can be a hassle, especially as you age. Ask yourself if the landscaping is something that you will be able to manage as you get older, or if the space will fall into disrepair or become too expensive to maintain.

Don’t Put All of Your Money into the House

Many financial planners highly recommend that you don’t pay for a new retirement home with cash. Instead, use your money for a down payment and take out a mortgage. Your retirement savings have to be evenly distributed, so you shouldn’t spend every penny you’ve saved over the course of decades to buy a house.

If your current home has equity, check whether or not you can apply that to the purchase of your retirement home. Discuss your options for payment with a real estate office in your desired location; offices have qualified, experienced agents whose job is to make sure you not only find your dream home but also get the best deal for your money.

Keep Taxes in Mind

Before even thinking of moving to a new location, you must consider how much you’re going to pay in taxes. Take a look at the sales tax, real estate tax and your retirement income before deciding on a new home. You should also consider how taxes after retirement will affect your life. Taxes taken from your pension, social security benefits and your 401k may be more than you imagined.

Draw up a retirement budget that takes taxes into consideration so you have a realistic perspective of how much you can afford for a retirement home and daily living.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of age, buying a new home is difficult. Working with a real estate agent will make the process much easier, especially if you’re moving to a brand new location. The home you choose to retire in will probably be where you live for the rest of your life, so don’t worry about rushing into the first decent property you see. Take your time, lay out your finances and consider a home that you can see yourself in for many years to come.

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April 11, 2019

4 Ways to Choose the Right Type of Care for Your Aging Parents

Choosing the right Senior Housing

Courtesy of Emma Sturgis 

Selecting care for an aging parent is a concern shared by millions of children as their parents begin to have difficulties fully attending to their own personal and medical needs. There’s no universal right or wrong answer, but there is a best answer and right type of care based on the answers to some fundamental questions.

Give Your Parent A Voice In Decisions

Whenever possible, include your parent in his/her own care plan and decisions. Start talking about care sooner rather than when a health crisis actually erupts. A huge problem caregivers face, is resistance to care as their loved one is afraid, angry, and saddened by their loss of independence and privacy.

Numerous studies have shown that patient involvement improves both acceptance of care and care outcomes. The Mayo Clinic outlines some helpful tips to help manage resistance to care:

•Plan care talks when the parent is relaxed and open to the conversation.
• Ask their preferences and expectations.
• Describe care in a positive light, but outline the pros and cons of each option.
• Have answers to cost concerns.
• Enlist professional help from medical providers, lawyers, and care managers.

Some parents may be at a point where they’re mentally unable to contribute to care talks. If so, determine if they’ve ever created an advanced healthcare directive, such as a living will. Such documents give a voice to a parent who can no longer make their wishes clear. It also removes some of the decision burden off of care-taking children.

Consider Your Own Involvement In Care

Just as many caregivers forget to give their parent a say, some also tend to forget their own needs in selecting the best care for their loved one. It’s important to consider the following as it relates to your ability and time to attend to your parent’s care needs:

• Do you have children and/or a significant other vying for your time?
• Do you have professional obligations that keep you occupied at a set schedule, on-call hours, random or late hours?
• Can you mentally and physically attend the care needs of your loved one alone, with assistance, or not at all?

The answer to such question are often very different depending on what stage of life you’re in professionally, personally, physically, and mentally. It’s such answers that are often just as crucial as your parent’s state of health in determining the most appropriate source and type of care. Know what you can do, when you can do it, and what assistance you’ll need to do it.

Consider The Level Of Care Needed

Care for seniors can be met through an array of services and housing options. Which one is best will greatly depend on your parent’s mental and physical needs.

• Long-term Care Facilities

LTCs, also commonly called a nursing home, are available for structured, skilled 24 hour nursing care. These provide everything from medication and wound care services to daily routine group activities. As the name suggests, LTC facilities are designed for the long-term management of both acute and chronic disease process.

• Assisted Living And Independent Living

Assisted living and independent living facilities provide less structured care for those capable of attending the bulk of their activities of daily living. Assistance and guidance with things like medication reminders, transportation to and from appointments, housekeeping services, and laundry services are generally offered. The facility usually also offers community spaces for dining and group recreation. The communities are specifically for seniors, but different ones will offer different amenities.

• Memory Care Facilities

These are akin to nursing homes in structure, but they specialize in the care and security needs of people with cognitive diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s that often leave seniors physically high functioning and mentally low functioning. Note that many senior AL and IL communities are integrating separate memory and LTC facilities on the grounds to make the transition between levels of care as easy as possible for seniors and their loved ones.

• Home Health

This is a care option that can allow seniors to age in place longer. They will remain in the comfort of their own home (or a loved one’s home) with support caregivers that either provide services around the clock or come in at assigned times to perform specified duties. Home health services are vast and cover areas such as personal care, household chores, meals, medication reminders and administration, wound care, medical equipment services, and money management.

• Adult Day Care

This is a service akin to daycare for children. Skilled and semiskilled attendants attend to your parent’s safety, medical, social, and physical needs during the day. This is a good option for working caregivers planning to care for their parent at home.

Do A Trial Run

The options for care are vast, which is good for comprehensiveness of needs. However, the choices can nonetheless be overwhelming. It may take trial and error to ensure that your aging parent is both happy and receiving the level of care they need.

Start by making a list of all the must-have services. You’ll likely find multiple options for care are a fit. Narrow the list down by price consideration. Give the end list a trial run:

• Take your loved one to tour the facilities and/or meet in-home caregivers.

• Go for a meal at a facility and ask if you and your parent can sit in on a group activity.

• Ask for help from local agencies, such Area Agency on Aging, in gathering information about local options.

• Gather references and read online reviews for care service options and specific facilities.

• Since most facilities and services charge on a month-to-month basis, it’s easy to test the waters for a monthly trial.

In closing, these four check marks can help ensure your parent receives the best care possible. Just remember to give both you and your parent a voice in the decision process, understand what care is offered by what specific providers, and realize that you may have to test multiple waters before finding an exact fit.

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November 2, 2018

Skilled Nursing or Assisted Living, What’s the Right Choice?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Making the right decisions for an elderly loved can be overwhelming and confusing. Often you may find yourself not really understanding what your options may be or if you even have options when it comes to be the best care of your loved one.  Clearly, you want what is best for them and what is the best facility that can manage their skilled nursing or assisted livingneeds and provide the environment that your loved one requires. Many caretakers ask themselves if they should be choosing an assisted living community or a nursing home/skilled nursing facility?

When making this decision, its important to consider your loved one’s physical, social, mental, and health needs. These will be indicators on the level of care that each will be able to provide your loved one making them a better fit.

Let’s discuss a few of the differences to better assess what each facility will be able to provide your loved and the long-term goals that you are looking to achieve or financial options available to you.

Assisted Living Communities: Typically, the residents at these communities are still active and maintain their own privacy. They may not require significant medical care or constant monitoring, but still receive 24/7 care support. They will have assistance nearby if they do need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication. Activity programs are provided, keeping residents active and social and thriving. Although, there are different levels of nursing and medical care offered at some Assisted Living Communities which you may want to explore on an individual basis.

PROS:

  • Home Environment
  • More Private
  • Amenities offered at many
  • Lower Cost than Skilled Nursing/Nursing Home
  • Long Term Care Insurance and Veterans Aids and Assistance may help with costs
  • Scheduled Activities
  • Outings/Transportation

CONS:

  • Does not have extensive Medical Care on Premise
  • Many are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Homes: The residents rely on the staff to provide all or most of their daily living such as bathing, dressing, meals, using the bathroom. They are facilities that provide 24/7 skilled, licensed nurses on staff to provide medical care and assistance. Most of the residents have severe health and cognitive issues. They typically do not leave the facility unless they are being transported to a scheduled doctor’s appointment or hospital.

PROS:

  • Medicare and Medicaid may cover some or most of the cost
  • 24/7 Medical Care with licensed nurses and clinical staff

Cons:

  • Limited personal freedom
  • Hospital environment, including shared rooms
  • Less privacy
  • More expensive than any other Senior facility, but offers the most in subsidized funding

If you are just starting your journey in your search for either Assisted Living or a Skilled Nursing Facility for your loved one, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com . Visit each listing, taking notes on which one may offer your loved one what they need most, the costs and what insurance may provide before making an appointment to visit their location.

This may very well be the hardest decision you ever have to make, make sure that you have all the information and options available to you. Talk to your loved one if they are cognitive, know what their wishes would be for their own healthcare.  When visiting these facilities enter armed with as much information as possible and ask as many questions as possible to help you make the right decision on their behalf.

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September 13, 2018

The Keys To Start a Senior Housing Search

By: Darleen Mahoney

Its time to start searching for senior housing, but where to begin? The senior housing landscape can be very confusing for seniors, their family and caregivers alike.

Whether you are looking because your curious for future planning or have a specific situation or need, its important to keep it simple. Jot down a few simple steps and check those boxes until you narrow down a senior living community or facility that best suits your needs and will point you in the right direction.

Step 1: Know what you need– This may sound simple, but is it? Make a list of services, support with both long and short-term goals, including what your future needs may look like. Is there a need to maintain independence or a focus on keys to searching for senior housingadditional help such as medication management, bathing and dressing, and safety? Knowing these things will help in budgeting and senior housing options.

Step 2: Budget– Establish a budget. Knowing how much you can spend each month on senior living may narrow your options as many communities and facilities price points have a very wide range. Keep in mind, many current expenses can be included in monthly senior housing fees-taxes, utilities, and meals. If your budget is tight, there may be financial resources to help.

Step 3: Location! Location! Location! – Where do you want to live and why is it important to you? Do you want to be close to family, medical centers, or are you looking to move to a new destination in your retirement years?

Step 4: Must Have Lists– Make a list of what is non-negotiable in a senior communities’ amenities or options for your move? Do you want a pet friendly community, wellness programs, activities with travel options? It would be beneficial to make a list of items that would be everything that you would hope to have available, but not necessarily “deal breakers”, such as restaurant style dining, fitness center, pool, wine nights with your neighbors.

Step 5: Visit a Senior Living Website– Searching online for a senior living community in your desired location and specific needs will allow you to view multiple communities at one time; bookmark them, visit their listing pages, websites, and social media pages.  The key is to visit trusted senior housing websites such as SeniorLivingGuide.com which allows you to connect directly with each community and not any type of broker.

Step 6: Read Reviews– Make sure that you visit multiple review sites online

Step 7: Social Media– Visit each senior living communities Facebook page. You should see pictures of activities, residents, and how the staff is interacting with the residents. This is also a good opportunity to see if they are showcasing any dining options, organized outings, or long-term resident highlighted posts. Don’t forget to read the comments.

Step 8: Ask Around– Once you are starting to narrow down a community that fits your needs, ask around to see if you can get any feedback from trusted sources you are familiar with.

Step 9: Contact Your Senior Community List– After you have narrowed down your list of communities that you are interested in, make a short list of questions and call each one asking for the marketing department. If you feel comfortable with their answers, then schedule a visit.

Step 10: Visit Your Senior Community List– This is where you can really start to narrow down your search. Make sure that you look for resident and staff interaction, general vibe and feeling in the community. Are the residents engaging with each other, with the staff? Are they sitting by themselves in a corner? Check out all the safety issues that are important such as handrails, emergency call systems, slip guards in the bathtub. Is the community clean? The biggest question you need to ask yourself, can you see yourself living there?

Step 11: Consult an Attorney– Seeking professional advice from an Elder Law Attorney to review your Senior Community contract as well as seeking help with additional financial help such as Veterans Aid and Attendance and/or Medicaid may be beneficial.

Following these steps will help make the search for the senior housing solution that will best fit your health, lifestyle, and future.

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August 17, 2018

Aging in Place- Not Just A Buzz Phrase

By: Darleen Mahoney

Aging in PlaceCertainly, you are hearing the term “Aging in Place” more frequently. Have you wondered what this really means? The very clear definition of Aging in Place is quite simple. It defines a person living in the residence of their choosing for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes the ability to receive any home health care services or other services over time even as their needs change. Ideally, the goal would be maintaining a higher quality of life for a elderly person as they are in the home of their choice, addressing their health, social, and overall emotional needs.

Why are some seniors choosing the Aging in place option?

  • Comfortable and familiar environment
  • Feeling of Independence
  • Convenience to familiar services
  • Security
  • Close to family

Ideally, Aging in place is a well thought out plan that you have in place for your future long before it becomes necessary. It requires specific financial planning, choices and making your choices clear to your family and friends. Aging in place does not necessarily mean that you are burdened with doing everything yourself, there are multiple resources available such as the National Council for Aging Care.

Home modifications should be considered when making the decision to Age in place. Today, there are products that exist that allow people to change their homes to fit their physical needs. You do not have to outgrow the place you love. There are even home remodelers that specialize in making a home “senior friendly” or “senior safe”.

As you consider making home modifications and weighing your options, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development notes why aging at home may save money for some seniors. If a senior no longer has a mortgage to pay and would need to make improvements on their current home to sell, it may be advantageous to remain in their own “mortgage free” home and make renovations that would suit their senior lifestyle and age in place.

When deciding if Aging in place is ideal for you, making a list may be a good option. Its important to be honest and consider what your physical, emotional, social, and financial capabilities will be. You need to ask yourself a few basic questions:

  • Is this the ideal solution for me to spend my Golden years?
  • Is this the environment that I see myself in? Do I not want to be in a more social environment?
  • Am I concerned that I might need additional healthcare that may not be available if I Age in place?
  • Will I require multiple home care services?
  • What are my other options, and have I weighed them?

You have decided that Aging in place is the best of option for you.  You need to start planning but want to make sure that you are making the right choices and planning correctly. The good news is that The National Aging in Place Council provides a planning template to simply your steps and helps you plan accordingly, providing peace of mind as you move forward. The Council also provides great information with practical advice.

While Aging in place, a home health care service can provide many benefits for you medically and many other personalized services. When deciding on which home health care service you might like to choose, please visit SeniorLivingGuide.com and review each one to see what they offer and which one is the best fit for you.

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August 8, 2018

Why Move to A Senior Living Community?

By: Darleen Mahoney

Your neighbors did it, your best friends did it, your newly retired co-workers did it. They all moved to senior living communities, but why?

You arSeniors moving boxes to new senior living communitye now contemplating making the move yourself but want to make the right choice. The house is too big, and the yard is so much work. Now that you are retired, you want to start enjoying it. In truth, that is the point, right?

According to Senior Housing News, in a survey of residents and non-residents of a retirement facility moved to a senior living community they found the following:

  • 5% -current residents made the move because they had a health change
  • 9%- non-residents said that a health change would motivate them to move to a senior living community
  • 6%-current residents moved to avoid home maintenance responsibilities
  • 5%-non-residents said that they would move to avoid home maintenance responsibilities

What you may not realize is that so many of today’s senior living communities are designed just like a vacation resort. These communities have beautiful, modern and spacious floor plans, resort style accommodations and social activities.

You can finally downsize and sell that lawnmower! Check out all the possibilities you may be getting when choosing to move to a senior living community!

  • Lawn maintenance– While you appreciate and want a well-manicured lawn you want to retire from the work. Lawn maintenance is typically included, but still allows those with green thumbs can still consider communities with gardens or patios for small planter gardens.
  • Transportation– Reliable transportation at your fingertips. Even if you are still driving, its always quite a comfort to know that you have transportation available, if needed.
  • Concierge/Housekeeping – Hotel like accommodations such as housekeeping and laundry services and on-site maintenance.
  • Social Activities– scheduled events, trips and activities. Many seniors may discover new hobbies as they enter senior living communities and retirement as they didn’t have the time while working.
  • Restaurant Dining– Meals prepared by Chef’s three times a day. Some communities have multiple dining locations and options if you choose.
  • Medical Care Available– The peace of mind of having proper medical care and staff that can handle a medical situation when needed.

Finding what you are looking for in your area, budget and interest is key. The Senior Housing News survey also found that the majority of respondents aged 70-79 did or would utilize the internet to search online to learn about their senior housing options. A great one stop shop for senior housing options is SeniorLivingGuide.com as the website provides many communities with links to their websites, their social media, and phone number. We invite you to visit when you decide to sell that lawnmower and downsize that home.

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