resident on exercise bike

There are many different types of senior living communities being built as people of the baby-boom generation approach retirement. Understanding the differences between varying types of communities, their costs, and what they offer is important, so that you can find the right community for your needs.

Kendal-Crosslands Communities (specifically our Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands campus) are Life Plan communities. This means our residents join the community living independently, with the benefits of having a maintenance-free cottage and access to many amenities. Our residents have the guarantee of Life Care, meaning that as they age and may need assistance, all levels of care through skilled nursing and hospice if necessary, are provided as well, as part of their monthly fee, with no additional charges even as their care needs may increase over time.

This differs from Personal Care, often referred to as Assisted Living Communities.

Understanding Personal Care, commonly referred to as Assisted Living

Personal Care or Assisted Living is meant for people who are starting to find it difficult to live on their own. They could be starting to have some memory or cognitive issues, and it’s becoming harder to pay the bills. People may start to become socially isolated, because it’s harder to keep up conversations in a group. They may need additional help bathing or dressing or with meal preparation.

music group

Assisted Living or Personal Care communities are designed to provide enhanced level of care to help residents manage daily tasks and care is available 24 hours a day. Typically personal care communities help with medication, meal preparation and transportation and some health care is included. This is a long-term care option and has options for a private room or shared space in a small apartment, with costs varying depending on the selected options.

When you consider assisted living or long term care options, it’s important to know that often the monthly fee will vary depending on how much care is needed, so you may need to consider whether the initial monthly rental fee in a community will grow over time, and what plan is in place to meet those increased needs and costs.

How Continuing Care Retirement Communities Are Different

While Life Plan/Continuing Care Retirement Communities like Kendal-Crosslands Communities are licensed in Personal Care and skilled nursing and provide innovative and high-quality memory care services, they are available to members of the community who joined the community while in independent living, and have transitioned over time into higher levels of care as needed.

What does this mean?

Personal care at Kendal

While living at home, if you break a hip, you might need to go to an extended stay in a rehabilitation hospital or nursing facility, while you work on improving your mobility while healing. At Kendal-Crosslands, we have a skilled nursing residence on campus, and you would just temporarily relocate to the skilled nursing section of campus until you are ready to return to your cottage.

Likewise, if there comes a time when you need more daily assistance managing medication for example, or need more help in personal care, you can move from your cottage to the personal care apartments on campus, while still engaging in every activity, eating in the main dining room, and stay engaged in everyday life in the community. There would be no increase in your monthly fee for this higher level of care, and even if you ever ran out of funds, all your health care is covered and has been guaranteed.

If You are Considering a Life Plan Community, Don’t Wait!

The key to Life Plan communities is to move in while you are ready for independent living and still maintain an active lifestyle. If you are already having memory-related problems, or significant medical issues, you may not qualify for admission.

In addition, it’s important to note that all higher levels of care are part of the monthly fee when entering Kendal-Crosslands, so no matter what additional care you require, you will never pay more than the monthly fee for your cottage you lived in independently.  That’s the piece of mind you get with a Life Plan Community – continuity of high quality care, whenever you many need it, for the rest of your life.

The Best Advice for Families

It’s important to know the terminology used by different senior living options, and understand the associated costs.  Will costs be fixed or will they adjust over time? Will there be extra costs as the resident needs more assistance over time? Are people with mobility issues welcomed in all parts of the community, or are they required to spend all their time within a particular area? Are there any tax advantages to one type of care over another?

Understanding the difference between independent living, personal care, skilled nursing care, and how the transitions between these stages can be managed are important factors to know when making choices about retirement living.  If you have more questions, there’s a great Retirement Living Sourcebook you can consult as well.