When retirement planning and considering a move into senior living, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost. The initial reaction is to bypass the benefits of moving and narrow in on the cost of moving into an independent living community. However, many people need to consider the price one pays by delaying the decision; especially when it comes to independent living.
Moving from your house, where a life has been built, into an independent living community is a significant life decision. And since it is a decision that is not driven by a care need, it can be delayed over and over again. And why not? Staying at home is familiar and comfortable. The unknown and pushing off a decision like this is far easier than making the move.
As we all know, sometimes the easy route is not always the best. Forestalling a choice like this can have a greater impact than one may realize. The most expensive thing you can do is nothing. Consider these four hidden costs one will pay for delaying the decision:
The Opportunity Cost:
The Boomer generation is the largest adult generation in the United States, and as they enter their advanced years, there will be an increase in demand for senior living. Currently, this means more Boomers than senior living providers. As seniors wait until the right time, it reduces selection opportunities.
Right now, you have the benefit of choice and can be selective in choosing the right independent living community that fits your lifestyle. Waiting can limit those choices or, even worse, a situation with no choice. Unforeseen changes in health or finances can predicate a lifestyle change that can result in adult children or medical professionals deciding the future for you based on what is available and affordable at that time.
Unfortunately, no one can predict the future. However, we know that over time costs increase, and options become fewer. Putting off a decision today is more likely to reduce your choices and potentially exert less control over your circumstances.
The Financial Cost:
Such as there are financial costs to consider when making the move, and there are also costs to consider for delaying it.
You may think, “well, I will say at home as that is my least expensive option.” However, this can be a misconception. Although you may no longer have a mortgage, the secondary costs of owning a home are countless. Real estate taxes, homeowner insurance, home maintenance costs, HOA fees, utilities, etc., increase annually. The worst part, those costs do not account for healthcare needs that may arise over time. Prices continuously increase over time. Moving now can lock in a rate that can save you significant savings over your retirement than if you move later when rates are higher.
You have worked hard your whole life. Please do not spend your retirement years worried about home maintenance or unexpected expenses arising from owning a home or one’s health. These are your years to enjoy. You have earned it. Moving into an independent living community will allow your retirement years to be comfortable, carefree, and full of experiences you have worked hard to enjoy.
The Social Cost:
Socialization and companionship are detrimental to one’s health. COVID-19 has proven that isolation and social distancing harm seniors’ mental and physical health. Even before the pandemic, health professionals knew the importance of socialization.
Independent living allows residents to form close and lasting friendships. Bonds are created based on shared interests and life experiences. Independent living communities bring back the tight-knit community we once enjoyed, where neighbors are friends and trusted companions.
More importantly, through the active lifestyles of independent communities, you can take advantage of amenities, excursions, volunteer opportunities, and a vast calendar of activities you can choose from. One of the best benefits of active independent living communities is that boredom is never associated with them. The opportunities are endless for you to explore, learn, and live retirement to its fullest.
However, to truly enjoy the active social environment, it is best to make the move while you are an active young senior. Even if you believe you are too young for senior living, that is truly the best time to experience it. This allows you to make the most of the experience and create a retirement lifestyle full of social benefits.
The Overall Health Cost:
We highlighted above that the socialization that comes with senior living dramatically impacts one’s mental and emotional health. However, what about overall wellness? Well, the answer is simple. The more active you are, the more independent and healthier you remain.
Exercise, healthy eating, regular doctor visits, and nourishing our mental, physical and emotional health are all in our control and impact our overall health. These are all things that independent living communities provide. Many offer healthy dining options or even consultations with a nutritionist at no additional cost. Participating in excursions or activities will keep you active while impacting your mental health. Onsite doctor visits or complimentary transportation services to your physicians will make your routine doctor visits much more effortless. All of these can be negatively impacted when we stay home because we become confined to the house without ever realizing it. Our social calendars diminish, fast meals are made, which are primarily unhealthy due to convenience, and doctor appointments may be missed.
The goal of an independent senior living community is to help its residents maintain an active, healthy, independent, and purposeful life. Allow one to be your partner in achieving your wellness goals. You may even be surprised how younger you feel after moving in.
Now is the time to make the most of your opportunities and retirement. Sit down with your loved ones and choose to decide now. You have worked hard over your lifetime to be able to enjoy retirement. Do not delay a decision today that could cost you tomorrow.
Not sure where to start this journey? That is why we are here. NC Senior Living Solutions (NCSLS) is your guide through this process. We can help you every step of the way, from the transition journey and consultations to coordinating the move. You do not have to navigate this process alone – we are here to help. Contact us today to begin the retirement you have always dreamed.