A retirement community is a place designed for people who are 50 and beyond. There are mainly four types of retirement community: independent living community, assisted living community, nursing homes, and continuing care community.

Retirement community is essential for middle-aged and elder people since it will affect their quality of life, health, and even longevity.

How does it work?

Independent living community

Independent living community is also known as senior apartments or 55-plus communities. This type of retirement community is designed for the ones who are able to take care of their daily life and do not need special medical care. Typical independent living facilities include utilities, housekeeping, meals, maintenance, transportation and doctor visit. Just like its name “senior apartment” suggests, independent living community is like a private apartment for seniors and they can live a life as if they are in their own home, but only more comfortable and have more opportunities to socialize.

Independent living community costs the least among all retirement communities. The rent may vary regarding its location, size, and amenities, generally ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 every month. Although the monthly fee is not very high, some independent living communities charge high buy-in fee which is between $750 to $1,500, but some of them have none.

Assisted living community

Assisted living community is the one between independent living communities and nursing homes. It is designed for the ones who have little trouble taking care of their daily activities, including bath and getting dressed. It is suitable for those who suffer from slight memory loss, aphrenia, and Alzheimer. Each assisted living community has its own regulations, varying from state to state in the United States.

Since assisted living community offers more service, its cost is higher than independent living community and it has already reached $5,444 per month in 2019.

Nursing homes

A nursing home is the most advanced type among all retirement community, offering a wide range of services. It is designed for the ones who need great medical care and basic daily living assistance. Some of the nursing homes are more like community while some of them are like hospital.

The cost of nursing home is much higher than the first two types. In 2019, a private room can cost $102,200 while a semi-private room can cost $90,155 annually. Therefore, we highly recommend to purchase long-term care insurance before moving in a nursing home.

Note that sometimes people may need to wait in list if they wish to get into a nursing home, and some of the nursing homes have special enrollment regulation regarding the types of patient and the types of service customers need. People are welcome to check U.S. News and World Report to get guides and ratings about nursing homes in the United States so as to satisfy their needs most.

Continuing care community

Continuing care community is a combination of all the three types listed above in order to provide a home for seniors in a long term. Elderly people can either live in an independent living if they can take care of themselves, or they can live in a nursing home if their health situation goes down. It is very convenient for elderly people since they do not need to move around once their needs change. However, continuing care community costs so much that it is hard to afford. Its monthly fee is about $3,000 to $6,000 regarding the types of service they need, but it has an incredibly high entrance fees which has reached $329,900 to $1 million.

Continuing care community offers three contracts according to people’s needs. The most expensive one is a life-care contract. It is an unlimited contract and offers service in a long term. The second expensive one is a modified contract which oblige the continuing care community to provide specific service for a certain period of time, and the price will increase in the end. The least expensive one is a fee-for-service contract which allows customers pay the current market price without any commitment.

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