Naples Senior Center with Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, CEO, President
10 WAYS BABY BOOMERS ARE RESHAPING SENIOR LIVING
There are 74.9 million Baby Boomers, which represents almost 40% of the nation’s population. As this group starts to age, senior living communities are adapting to the cruise-ship mentality of this generation. Here are some of the ways:
1). FLEXIBLE DINING SERVICES
Many senior living communities now offer flexible dining hours, a variety of dining venues (casual to formal), chef presentations and vouchers which can be used to purchase meals, liquor and even groceries. Menus are heart healthy and many offer gluten-free choices, freshly grown herbs, organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, free range poultry and sustainable seafood. “To go” menus are available for those who desire to dine in the comfort of their own residence.
2). ABUNDANT FITNESS / WELLNESS PROGRAMS
Baby boomers want to stay active and healthy. Tai chi, yoga, Zumba and even Pilates are now norms at some senior living communities. Fully-equipped fitness centers with personal trainers, lap pools, tennis, pickleball, bocce and even golf are often available. On-site spa services are common which includes a variety of massages, facials and pedicures.
3). LARGER APARTMENTS / UPSCALE FINISHES
Today’s senior community residences are no longer designed for a single elderly individual, but instead are more suited for couples who want large open floor plans with plenty of closets and ambient lighting. Kitchens have modern stainless steel appliances, granite or quartz counter tops and upscale cabinetry. Bathrooms are luxurious but also have safety devices so residents can age in place.
Baby boomers are internet savvy and spend many hours of their day on the computer. Senior living communities now offer internet cafés and personal residences are wi-fi compatible. Some communities actually provide a tablet to each resident so they can reserve seats for entertainment or see the daily menu.
5). CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES
Continuing Education is huge for today’s baby boomers. Senior living communities offer programs either online or live with university professors. There are even some senior living communities located on campuses of major universities so residents can attend classes to further their education.
6). ART INSTRUCTION / CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
Access to creative types of programs is important to today’s Baby Boomer. Many senior living communities offer painting classes, photography, pottery and wood working. Cultural programs either on-site or nearby are frequently available to the residents of the community. Investment clubs, wine tastings, book groups and card playing are enjoyed.
7). HIGHER ENTRANCE FEE REFUNDS
Senior living communities now offer entrance fee refunds as much as 90% to provide residents the flexibility to move out, leave to their estate or to a charity of their choice. Baby Boomers are philanthropic and leaving a legacy is important to them.
Baby boomers want to remain active in the local community through their place of worship or local charity. Senior living communities embrace these folks by hosting on-site events, providing transportation and contributing to many local organizations. Residents can also volunteer to serve on several resident council committees or be a welcome ambassador to new residents moving in.
9). MAINTENANCE-FREE LIVING
No longer being concerned with home maintenance and repairs allows today’s residents more freedom to enjoy their life and pursue traveling, taking up a new hobby or perfecting an existing one. Not wasting time waiting for a repairman or being concerned about the cost of the repair are major benefits of living in a senior living community.
10). ACCESS TO ON-SITE HEALTH CARE
Being proactive and pre-planning is in the DNA of a baby Boomer. Knowing that there is health care available provides peace of mind. Baby Boomers do not want to be a burden their spouse or to their children as they age. Some senior living communities even offer on-site physicians services which adds another level of convenience.
In summary, Baby Boomers are reshaping senior housing. The age wave is here and these changes to the senior housing industry will have long lasting effects.
To find a senior living community that meets your needs and preferences, call 239-595-0207 or visit our website at www.seniorhousingsolutions.net
Selecting a senior living community is not an easy task. These are common questions we get asked.
My children live up north, should I move to be with them?
As a son whose mom lives nearby, I truly understand the importance of having family close. Fortunately, we both live here in Southwest Florida, and we can be part of each other’s lives. The idea of moving out of state to be nearer to children is a big decision that involves many factors and changes. First and foremost, is the question of whether you are ready to give up your current lifestyle? Do you have friends or a social network in their area, or will you be depending upon your children to provide you with the socialization you need? Will you live with them, or will you find a place of your own? You will need to think about changing your primary care physician and specialists, your bank, and your church. How comfortable will you be driving during winter conditions? Will the winter weather hamper your activity level and lessen your independence? Are your children committed to continuing to live in that area, or could their careers take them to another location? What happens if they retire, will they want to stay in that location? As you can see, there are many factors involved in deciding to move closer to your children. I would recommend before making that decision, to visit the senior living communities in this area. You may be able to fulfill yours and your children’s desire for security and peace of mind without such a drastic change.
If I move to a senior living community, do I need to change doctors?
When you live at a senior living community, you can continue the relationship you have with your primary care physician and specialists. As a convenience to the residents, many communities do have relationships with physicians and these doctors maintain clinic hours at the senior living community. You are under no obligation to use these doctors; however, residents find it time saving and worthwhile to establish a relationship with a physician on site. If you decide to keep your physician, most senior living communities provide transportation to and from your medical appointments to make life a little easier for you.
I want to move to a senior living community, but my husband does not. What should we do?
It is very common for one spouse to not be on the same page as the other when considering a senior living community. Many times, it is hard for someone to think forward and contemplate scenarios when they are less independent. Most likely, your current residence will not be suitable as you advance in age. It is not sensible to believe your health will remain as it is for the rest of your life. Share with your husband that not putting a plan in place now would place the entire burden on your shoulders if something should happen to him in the future. It is easier to make the move when you are both able to select a community together, sell your home together, pack and move together, and make new friends together. Hopefully, he will recognize the importance of protecting you and creating a life which you both can continue to enjoy for many years.
There are so many senior living communities to consider in our area, where do I start?
Locating a senior living community that meets your needs and preferences is not easy, especially if you try to do it alone. As a senior housing advisor, this is exactly what we do. We get to know you and discuss which options best fit your needs and preferences. We are familiar with all the options in the area and the nuances of each. We help you narrow down the search and create a road map of places that meet your requirements. We are also familiar with the new communities on the horizon and have much insight about a community’s operational history. If desired, we can join you on your tour and ask questions you may not know to ask. We help you understand the terms of the contract and even negotiate the fees, as appropriate. Trying to do it alone is a monumental task. The last thing you want to do is move somewhere and be unaware that the community is experiencing financial or operational issues. Taping into a knowledgeable resource will help you avoid these pitfalls.
Please explain how the refund programs work at Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)/ Life Plan Communities?
CCRCs/Life Plan Communities offer a variety of entrance fee refund programs – 0%, 50%, 75% and even 95% refunds. The entrance fee is typically earned by the community at a rate of 1% to 2% per month. There is usually a 2% to 4% administration fee earned during the first month. Each month that you live at a CCRC, a percentage is deducted (earned) from the entrance fee that you paid. If you select the 0% refund plan, your entrance fee refund will decline over 4 – 7 years until your refund reaches zero. On the other hand, if you select the 50%, 75% or 95% plan, your estate will have a set amount refunded. If you opt for a higher refund program, you will pay an “up charge” for these plans as compared to the 0% refund program. Basically, you pay more upfront to be guaranteed a higher refund.
Some communities will offer different refund programs based on their health care plans. For example, a community might offer a 95% refund, but you would also be responsible for paying for higher levels of care as needed. It is wise to consult with your attorney and financial advisor to determine which plan best fits your needs.
Are there resources available for low income seniors in our area?
Collier Senior Resources at the Golden Gate Senior Center has funding to provide financial assistance to low-income seniors in need. Call Maritza for more information at 239-252-4550. The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is another valuable resource. The Area Agency on Aging is committed to connecting older adults and adults with disabilities to resources and assistance for living safely with independence and dignity. They can be reached at 239-652-6900.
Are there any upcoming educational seminars for area seniors?
The Leadership Coalition on Aging (LCA) is conducting their Empowerment Series Panel Discussion on Sept. 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Collier County South Regional Library. The topic will be Advanced Planning – Getting your Affairs in Order. It will feature an attorney, a physician, an accountant, and a real estate professional. The event is free. For more information, please call 239-595-0207.
To have your senior housing questions answered in a future article, please submit your questions to: [email protected]
Senior Housing Expert and Advisor Bruce Rosenblatt is the owner of Senior Housing Solutions.
Do you think I will qualify to live in a senior housing community if I have a pre-existing condition?
Without knowing the specifics of your condition, it is hard to say. There are many senior housing communities that have medical criteria to be accepted for residency. The medical review process could include reviewing your medical history and a one-on-one meeting with a representative from the community’s medical staff. Someone who has a pre-existing condition may represent a higher than normal risk of requiring care and may not be accepted. Cognitive types of medical issues or progressive medical diseases are red flags and may disqualify you, so it is important to plan ahead. It is important to ask questions early in the process, so you don’t sell your home only to find out you did not meet the qualifications for residency. Medical acceptance varies from community to community, so you might find one that is more willing to accept you than another. If you are considering moving to an assisted living facility, the State of Florida requires a form called an 1823 to be completed by your doctor to verify that this is the proper living arrangement for you and to document the care levels you require.
What is a Life Plan community?
A Life Plan Community is a replacement name for the category known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). The name change from a CCRC to Life Plan Community switches the emphasis from passive care to active living and planning – a shift that appeals to younger, healthier senior adults.
A Life Plan Community is a residential community for people 62 and older that provides a variety of living options, along with services, amenities, and a continuum of care designed to address the changing needs of residents as they age. In exchange for these services, amenities and care, residents typically pay an upfront entrance fee and a monthly fee.
We are independent and not sure if we are ready to move to a retirement community. What are our options?
Basically, you have four options to consider. First, you can do nothing. You can continue to stay where you are living and wait for something to occur to force you into a decision. This option may seem to be the easiest but has many implications that you need to think through. By waiting for a medical incident or a change in health, you run the risk of not being medically accepted. You also place a great deal of responsibility on your spouse, your family, and your friends to provide daily assistance. Managing care at home is not easy and can be quite costly. Keep in mind that thinking nothing will change is not being realistic.
The second option is to find a community geared specifically for independent living. There are some rental apartment communities in this area that provide a “maintenance free” lifestyle. This might be a good first step to lessen the responsibilities of homeownership.
The third option is to move to independent living in a senior living community. Most people who choose this option claim it was the best decision they have ever made. They have peace of mind knowing they have made a plan for the future should they require care and services as they age, all the while enjoying a vibrant lifestyle.
The last option is to move in with your children. This is probably not the best solution; but, for some this may be the only option due to limited finances.
I am not a social person, are there senior living communities that will fit my lifestyle.
The lifestyle at many senior living communities is geared toward providing social opportunities for residents to enjoy. Most offer a wide variety of activities such as exercise classes, lectures, wine tastings and cocktail parties, art classes, and book discussions. However, choosing to participate is totally up to you. If privacy is a concern, ask questions up front to see how the community will respect your privacy.
Are there any tax implications to living at a senior living community?
Yes. It is wise to consult with your tax advisor for the specifics to your situation. If you live in a Life Plan Community (CCRC), a portion of your entrance fee and monthly fee may be considered a medical expense. This percentage varies from community to community and year to year. If you live in an assisted living or skilled nursing residence, your care may also be able to be deducted as a medical expense.
We have a small dog, are there senior communities that are pet friendly?
Pets are important in people’s lives. There are studies that show that people live longer and healthier with a pet. Some communities will permit pets while others will not. There are also communities that have designated “pet friendly” residential buildings within their campus. Size limits and number of pets allowed also exists at many communities as well as rules regarding acquiring a new pet after you move in. It is important to note that if you move with a pet, you must be able to properly care for your pet. Most communities have a pet policy, and your pet must be well behaved and not be a nuisance or threat to other residents or to the staff.
Are there any senior housing communities in our area for low income seniors?
Low income housing in SWFL is a major problem facing many seniors in our area. Unfortunately, many times people will need to relocate out
of the area to find affordable housing. It is advisable to fully evaluate all your personal resources prior to visiting senior communities and identify any outside assistance that may be available to you. This may include Veteran’s benefits and even unused life insurance benefits. Speak with your family and your church to see if they can offer any assistance.
What are some other senior housing researching tips?
Tour the health care facility. One of the main reasons you are considering a move to a senior housing community is to have the peace of mind of future care should you need it. Take the time to tour the health care facility to see for yourself if the residents are receiving good care and if the environment is clean and well-maintained. Speak with family members, residents, and staff to learn as much as you can about quality of care. It is also important to learn what type of care the facility is licensed to provide, and what charges are associated with that care. As a senior housing advisor, we research state violations, license types, and annual state survey results. We will join you on your tour to ask questions you may not know to ask.
Review policies and procedures. Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts of a specific senior housing community before you move should be a priority to you. The more you know up front, the better you will know if this community is the right fit for you.
Sample the lifestyle. Finding a senior housing community where you can live with like-minded people is very important. If possible, enjoying a dinner at a community or joining in on a social activity before you move in will give you chance to meet people and see you want these people as your neighbors and friends. There isn’t a “one size fits all” senior living community, so being able to experience the lifestyle will help you see if this community is right for you.