As an estate planning attorney who has worked with hundreds of older clients and their families, I know that preparing an estate and planning for your later years can be difficult. It can be hard for you or your family to adjust to this new stage of life.
You or your parents may be thinking about moving into a retirement home or may be facing an inevitable nursing home stay. There are many things that you can do to prepare yourself—both financially and emotionally—for these transitions. To prepare for a nursing home stay, read my article about the 10 things you must know about nursing homes.
A helpful Time magazine article can help give you peace of mind when deciding whether or not to move into a retirement center. The article dispels several of the negative myths that still surround retirement homes. The article cites a study done by Age Wave, a consulting firm that focuses on aging in America.
- Myth #1: My home will be the best place for my retirement.
- Most folks think that living at home will give them more independence and freedom. However, the study found that retirees living at home spent twice as much time doing chores and grocery shopping as those living in a retirement home. They also spend less time socializing that folks in retirement homes.
- Myth #2: My home is a better option if I want to stay active and socialize.
- The study found that over half of folks over 80 reported feeling lonely, which is twice the number of younger adults. This isolation can increase when you stay in your home while friends and family move away. Socializing has been linked to better health, which makes it even more important.
- Myth #3: Living at home is less expensive than living in a retirement home.
- This is not necessarily true for several reasons, depending on your individual circumstances. 84% of those over 65 have paid off their home mortgage. However, you may not have done so yet. In addition, a home still has costs even after the mortgage is paid off, from things like property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. That, with your other expenses, may rival the cost of a retirement home. The article does mention, however, that you should look into how well the retirement center is doing financially, as many have suffered in the recession.
- Myth #4: It’s easy to get the care I need at home.
- While it may not be too difficult to get the care you need at home, depending on the circumstances, this care is still very expensive. (Those facing illness later in life should plan for a possible nursing home stay or should invest in long-term care insurance to ensure that they have enough to pay for their care.)
- Myth #5: Retirement centers are only for folks who are ill or dying.
- Improvements in recent years among retirement centers mean that this doesn’t have to be the case. Many people decide to move into a retirement home for the activities and friendships that it offers.
Of course, you and your family will know what’s best for your personal situation and finances. With some planning and the right attitude, a nursing home stay or the move to a retirement home can be a new chapter in life.