Seniors & Aging

Grandpa and Grandma deja’ vu! Part 4

Some recent feedback:

Reader M: “OK, how can I enhance my digital skills?” Opportunities abound: CCU/OLLI, HGTC, advertised and on-line seminars, long-term care residents’ classes, private tutors, neighbors and friends, computer clubs -- and your grandchildren.

Also, these two:

Reader W: “Our long-term care insurance premium has tripled. It’ll cost less to buy into a continuing care retirement community than to live at home, paying for the services that we’ll need, plus the LTCI premium, plus the inevitable bankrupting beyond-the-insurance-maximums cost of institutional care. So, we’re dropping the LTCI and moving into a CCRC.”

Reader A: “We Grand Strand retirees sold our home and joined this CCRC. Happy surprise: Discovered that a big chunk of the cost is income tax deductible!”

Long-term-care options include independent and assisted living institutions, nursing homes, specialized Alzheimer’s facilities, private group care houses…

…and the resurging at-home family homestead -- resurging because of enabling services such as those mentioned last time, years of lower cost than residential institutions, and a burgeoning different kind of “at-home family homestead”.

A Place For Mom offers numerous free excellent senior-living articles on line. Currently among them: “Senior Housing 101: Senior Care Types Explained” averages institutional monthly pricing nationally for us: Independent living, $ 1,500-$ 3,500; Assisted living, $ 2,500-$ 4,000; Nursing, $ 4,000-$ 8,000; Alzheimer’s, $ 3,000-$ 7,000. No wonder so many of us now opt to stay at home, right? That is, until our longer life expectancy and its resulting longer-lasting and more severe and costly impairments reverse the cost advantage catastrophically.

Readers W and A have discovered the continuing care retirement community, the long-term-care institution industry’s contribution to the “at-home” trend, but at a lower expected long-run cost. Instead of retiring to a retirement-magnet neighborhood and seeking long-term care later when we need it, we retire to a CCRC while we’re still relatively young and healthy.

CCRC offers the same services that we need, or will need later, but they’re all there for us on-campus, to access over time as our needs grow. The developers’ cost-saver idea is to attract folks to join or buy in long before they need heavy-duty care, and to use our up-front money for a long time -- the pre-payment concept -- before we need to consume it in the form of assistance. Thus, it’s in effect discounted, and the younger and healthier we are at the start, the more “discounted” it can be.

“While CCRC costs may seem higher than other types of long term care at first, they can actually be lower overall when spread over a lifetime”, says Senior’s current “How much does it cost to join a Continuing Care Retirement Community?” which describes it all. Entrance fees start as low as low-end $ 20,000, and buy-in fees can reach high-end $ 500,000, varying according to the kind of deal and the chosen luxury level.

Of course, like the conventional residential community, you also pay the usual recurring house and community expenses. It’s truly “at-home”.

A law firm newsletter tells us of a tax court ruling that grants federal income tax deductions for part of both the up-front and monthly charges, in proportion to the portion, possibly 40%, that they are provably attributable to the delivery of community-provided allowable health care. Hey, if you’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, wow!

Surely there must be CCRC downsides. Maybe quality, limited options, add-on charges, lock-ins, contractual liabilities, Boondocksville isolation? Got stories to tell us?

News: Speaking of resurging, elder loving now also is a surging part of elder living. The General Social Survey cited by the Washington Post this Spring claims that, because of societal stresses and distractions, sexual activity is declining among both marrieds and singles. But it ignores the growing seniors segment, where observers report that because of longer healthy living, the opposite is happening!

Not so deja’ vu!

Contact Gary Newman at Your ideas and comments are always welcome.