Where will you live when you get old?
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who are scared to death of ending up in a nursing home when your health fails, is there anything you can do right now to make sure that you don’t end up in an institutional setting?
Fortunately, the answer is yes.
When it comes to housing later in life, it may seem like there are dozens of places you could live. That’s a mirage. In the end, all those options boil down to just two settings:
- In a retirement community, and
- Not in a retirement community.
How do you decide?
Living in a retirement community has two distinct advantages. First, you will be less of a burden on your family when you’re incapacitated. Second, if you are married when your health fails, your spouse won’t have to deal with social isolation. On the downside, you’ll be busy spending your children’s inheritance.
Living somewhere other than a retirement community usually means living in a private residence—either your own or that of a family member. If you choose this option, you will likely leave a bigger inheritance to your children, but you will be more reliant on their support. While you can greatly minimize the burdens on your family with the right planning, you cannot eliminate them completely. When you need care and services, someone will need to be there to make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of. That is a role you cannot take away from your family.
In the end, it comes down to this: What do you want to avoid more?
- Is it more important to avoid being a burden on your loved ones?
- Or is it more important to avoiding a moving to a retirement community?
It’s a tough choice. Don’t expect your financial planner or your estate planning attorney to offer any guidance. They won’t. If you want help thinking through your options, here’s where to start.