Less must-do. More want-to. | March 2022

The Best Time to Move to a Retirement Community

Written by Glenn Ruffenach for The Wall Street Journal

Question: My husband and I are considering moving to a LifePlan retirement community. We are in our early seventies, and both of us are in good health. But we recognize that we might need help in the future. Is there a “better” or “best” time to choose a LifePlan community? Residents in some of the communities we tour seem quite a bit older than us. Perhaps we should wait before moving?

Answer: The biggest potential issues people face in retirement come from postponing big decisions. Human nature (or, more simply, denial) is a big part of this. It is far more pleasing to focus on the positive aspects of later life: increased life expectancy, opportunities to pursue new directions, time to travel, and so much more. We are accustomed to planning for growth, but most of us are less familiar or enthusiastic about planning for decline. So, we delay.

We wait to downsize, to get our estate plans in order. We wait to talk with our elderly parents about their wishes. We wait to talk with our adult children about our wishes. And we hesitate to change living arrangements that feel comfortable now. For example, my wife and I have been debating about moving in our retirement — but we don’t do much more than that — debate and wonder if we’re ever going to decide!

All of which brings me back to LifePlan communities. As the name implies, these communities enable residents, if the need arises, to move from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing, all within the same community. Social, dining and recreational amenities aside, the knowledge that a person or couple can remain in the same community together while having clear and predictable future finances no matter how their individual health needs may change over time, is the biggest appeal of a LifePlan community. Who wouldn’t want that?

But here’s where “waiting” can backfire. LifePlan communities require prospective residents to be in good health and be able to live independently. Most require a medical exam. You mention that you’re in good health today. That’s great. But some retirees I have spoken with told me that they waited too long to apply; that their health had gone downhill, and as a result their housing options (at least as far as LifePlan communities were concerned) had dried up.

If you have done your homework and decided that a LifePlan community is the right lifestyle choice for you, I would err on the side of acting sooner rather than later. And that’s good advice for retirement planning in general.

If now is the time for you to explore an active life at Duncaster, call Lisa Greene, Vice President of Sales & Marketing today at (860) 380-5006.

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