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I am 63 years old and in good health. However, as I age, I realize that there will be circumstances where I will need care. My spouse is terminally ill. My house is paid off and I will have a comfortable amount of liquid revenue to support myself as long as I am healthy. I would like to find an independent living facility which would offer care should my health decline or I become too ill to take care of myself. Do you have any suggestions for a facility that offers independent living and elder care if it is needed? What is an average price for such a facility and where are they located in Chester or Lancaster County, Pennsylvania?

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and there is more good news for us family caregivers from NPR
Article, thanks for the link, here is another
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/16/235384054/family-caregiving-can-be-stressful-rewarding-and-life-affirming
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Thanks Argiope, I enjoyed that too! I've bookmarked it for later reference. I'm a single (never married, no kids) vegetarian and I'm imagining a group of vegans/vegetarians living together as we age. I'm actually thinking about working towards that goal.
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Thank you, Argiope, that was a fascinating article. What a great idea!
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I heard this article on NPR about seniors sharing a house and thought it sounded like more fun than giving all your money to a facility. Since your house is paid off, you might consider it. You could choose and screen your housemates and share expenses if you need a maid or gardener:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/05/22/183903991/Boomer-Housemates-Have-More-Fun
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As a Hospice Nurse, I see this all to often. Advance directives, living will, HCS, financial and medical POAs are all important paper work to get into place now. Furthermore, seeking the advice of an elder care attorney may not be a bad idea. There are many agencies that reputable in helping individuals like you to navigate this important aspect of life. Independent living or assisted living facilities are great options to make new friends and build relationships. Consider getting a geriatric case manager.
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Two perspectives - actually three as I will include my circumstances
1) a friend of many years. aged mid 60s, sold her home after her husband died, and moved into an ALF. She had/has arthritis and decided to skip apartment living which is the next step for many, she has a small I bedroom unit, and one meal a day plan, She had an older friend there and it works well for her. Her kids can visit and use her pull-out couch and the guest room in the facility. It runs about $2300/month, and she has done well with the husband’s insurances.so she is financially secure. She did not work throughout their marriage.
My mother moved west at about age 80, into a two bedroom apartment. She sold the family home a number of years before and worked till she was 65, living very simply as she had to help support my father in a facility - he was older than her. Between the proceeds of the house sale, and whatever she saved after my father died, all of which was invested, she has a decent income. Out west she rented a nice 2 bedroom apartment, and in her last year there, we hired a senior live-in nanny for her - with her funds. Up until then all she needed was someone to help grocery shop the last few years, and a cleaning lady. Mother has a personality disorder, so the nanny did not stay. About 3 years ago she moved into assisted living -2 bedrooms and a small but complete kitchen. Due to food intolerances she cannot eat in the dining room, though she still pays the same. Home care makes her meals, and she has a shopper for groceries. She is 101 now. She is using some of her capital now, but her financial advisor says her money will last another 8 years or so. Hopefully that will be enough. There are cheaper places and also smaller ones if needed.
I am 76 and worked till I was 73 to optimize my pension and had to quit then as it was too much with helping mother during her transition to an ALF. I am still in my home which is paid off and cheaper than living in a condo or apartment. I have a sig other who looks after snow shovelling, garden etc. or I probably would have had to move by now, It is not easy to hire people for that where I live. I did have a couple of rooms rented out at one point and one of the ladies did some house cleaning. We plan on building a senior friendly home in a few years somewhere further south where it is warmer in the winters and near both sets of parents. We both come from stock that lives long and stays pretty healthy. We have a healthy diet and he is very physically active. I am active intermittently. Once a home becomes too much, we (or one or the other of us) will move into an facility with levels of care. I still look after the inside of the house, shopping, cooking etc, (all exercise in itself), but really need to hire someone to deep clean periodically.
For several people, I know there home is/was there main asset. Think carefully how you can capitalize on that. There are some good suggestions. My pension is decent but I have considered working part time for various reasons. Good luck and come back and update us.
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Here's an article from Consumer Reports about how to buy long-term care insurance smartly: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/08/long-term-care-insurance/index.htm
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Just be very careful with the long-term care insurance. Many of them are written with so many exclusions that when it comes time to get your benefit, the answers is, "Oh no, that's not covered by the policy." Or there's so much red tape that you never get your money. Just Google "fine print long-term care insurance" and you'll get articles from the New York TImes and Boston Globe about how difficult and daunting it can be to collect on those policies. Also be sure to understand what is covered and what isn't and how they define their terms. I'm not saying they're not worthwhile, just be very, very careful about what you're buying.
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Look into long term care insurance that allows you to stay at home or helps with a facility should you need it. The longer you wait the more expensive it will be. I am 61 and looking in to a plan that will allow $4000/month in home or facility for about 4 years if I use the max from the beginning, longer if I don't need as much. My premium will be $211/month because of "my build". I am quite overweight but otherwise healthy. If my weight was not a facto I would only pay $150/month. The income from LTC along with my pension should help me live comfortably and not burden my only child. Right now we take care of my mother who did not have LTC and it can be very challenging. I have four sibs who are wonderful and we are working things. Please stay in your home and get LTC for a distant future need.
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But I'm not saying in my previous comment to start worrying about the future. Like someone else said, planning is smart and we do need to think about what we will do if our husbands dies before we do. Where would we live, what would we do, etc. I would definitely move to a smaller place closer to my relatives. Right now I feel stuck where I am because my husband does not want to move.
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I have not read all remarks but can tell you this GET LONG TERM CARE INS.
I was 65 and it cots me $290 a month in the St. Louis area. What a comfort it is.
I am financially "comfortable". but wouldn't be if I had to pay for in-home care, assisted living, (around $3000 a mo. In a decent place) or a nursing home. We are relatively healthy now, have two children, (mine from previous marriage). One who lives out of state and probably would have to take me out of my home, on which we have a reverse mortgage and are hopeful that with in- home care we can live her till we can't manage with in- home help or other circumstances beyond our control. It's with Mutual Of Omaha. I have. Type two diabetes, and have coronary artery disease, both well controlled, and they accepted me. 3 or four years ago. You might get it for even less, depending, I guess on the cost of care in your state. They figured at that time $4000.00 a month was MORE than enough to cover a nursing home in our area. It increases 3% coverage each year and they sen me notices when my coverage increases.
My husband got it when he was 50ish and pays around $109 a month. So even if we care for each other as long as we can, we can get help as soon as we need it. Pays for a nursing home short term if we broke a bone and need a place for re-hab. I hope you will check this out. My heart tells me it would give you much peace of mind. Hugs, Donna
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You are very young, but given your concerns, you're smart to plan well ahead. What I would do in your situation is protect myself as best as possible from the toll dementia might take on my judgement. Adult kids (while certainly not always a safeguard against bad decision-making) can sometimes see signs and prevent financial calamity. Designate an adult child 'substitute' (a trusted friend's child, or your lawyer or investment advisor) and have a regular review of your finances.
As for housing, I'm all for unloading the burden of the house. I realize some people are very invested emotionally in their house, but for me, I plan to downsize as early as possible once my kids are no longer needing the benefits of the family house.
For a younger person, a CCRC makes sense. You'll be there long enough to reap the benefits and you're young enough that you can buy in at the 'no refund' (much cheaper) rate. I'd put the rest of the money from the sale of my house into an annuity; one that's hard to get out of, so I'd have monthly income and I'd be protected from any bad decisions I could make in the future if my money were just sitting in a 401K for me to pillage at will.
If you don't mind moving (I hate it), you could first move to a 55+ community. However, shop around. You might find that some of the CCRC's are pretty youthful. Plus, let's face it, after age 60 or so, anything can happen and we can't count on bouncing back the way we once could. The ultimate insurance is living somewhere there is help always available.
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Have you considered getting a job, either part-time or full-time after your husband passes? You say you are healthy, and working would give you some extra money to put away, and also give you something to do. It would also help you to meet people. Sitting at home alone waiting to become infirm doesn't sound fun or healthy. I see lots of retirement age people working at the grocery store, the dairy queen, and other places. How about your local library? You could start as a volunteer somewhere, and move on from there.
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Those who have been caregivers are much more likely to look at the realities of their own aging.
I have observed it for YEARS with couples where the man predominantly dies first. He's well taken care of by his wife. She does the right thing for his funeral, etc. BUT, as the wife ages - and if there are kids, they are often geographically distant - and/or off doing their selfish adventures - so the wife ends up put in a "warehouse" (i.e., SNF, or whatever). That's a hard reality - but I've seen it over & over. I've seen some good cases where one of the kids has a mother-in-law home for the surviving spouse. Of course, that doesn't help those of us who are childless.

I am childless, about to turn 65, and have explored options over the years - just pre-planning, knowing what's out there. The more I learn about the "independent living" retirement facilities - the less I like them. There are rules that would be hard to live with. For starters,
1. One of our nicer, more convenient ones locally - when the Enron debacle happened, their monthly rent went up a whopping 10% higher.
2. They'll take you when you're ambulatory, and can move yourself in. BUT, when your health declines, and no longer able - then you have to move somewhere else (and you're no longer able to move yourself out of there or to somewhere else).
3. After you die, then Someone has to move you out within 2 weeks. It's all about money for the facility, and they have to move someone on the waiting list into the apartment you lived in. If you have kids, they'd move you out. If you don't have kids, who will move your stuff out timely?
4. I just found out that same rule pertains if a person dies, and has a reverse mortgage on their home - that the bank wants your stuff cleared out of your home within 2 weeks so they can sell the house & get Their money back.
5. I had a life-long dear friend who moved into our nicest independent living facility, with her partner (boyfriend) - and they lived there for many years, til HE became too ill to stay there. His kids ended up taking him 40 miles away to their area. And, my friend was left at the independent living facility - I *think* she moved from the double room to a single. Ultimately she got an oral cancer, and wouldn't want to have to go to the dining facility for meals - but the rule is that one can only have "room service" meal 3 times a year.

These are some real down-sides to independent living facilities.

What I would really like to do is find 2 amenable senior women to sub-rent my 2 spare bedrooms - and we'd share the kitchen, living as "Golden Girls". For my house, though, they would have to be women acceptable of a colder house (as I've had to be). But too, as I get older - having to deal with the "joys of homeownership" like water-well issues, plumbing, electrical, high property taxes, yada yada - gets less & less appealing!
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You are 63 and in good health- you likely have a lot of good life ahead of you. Lots of good suggestions to save you big monthly costs- stay at home, build a social network and enjoy life! Your house is paid for and if too big downsize into something more suitable. Even if you have to pay for a handyman or someone for yard work you are still coming out great. If you downsize look for something friendly to "age-in-place" even if you need to do some remodeling and add assistive devices and home service providers if you end up needing them. I wish you well with your husband in his remaining days but 63 (and healthy) should give you many good years ahead.
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Continued from above:
Of course, you'd want to be sure their personality, personal habits & basic philosophy of life meshed with yours. It also depends on the size of your home. You'd want everyone to have their own space. Anyway, it's just an idea & it does differs greatly from the "norm" .
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I agree with Madeaa. I'm also 63 and am just getting started! My dad died at 92 and my mom is still going strong (well kinda strong) at 93, so I figure I'll be around for a while unless I get hit by a beer truck. :) Some of my friends are talking about senior living facilities and when I think of where my mom lives (in independent living) there's no way in h*ll I want to live anywhere like that for a long, long, long time. I'm just hitting my stride!

So like Ferris says, stop expecting doom and gloom and live for a while! Once you hit 80 or 90, you can start to worry about what to do. Of course have your DPOAs all set up and your will, etc. But live! We only get one shot at this and sitting around waiting for our own infirmity isn't what we should be doing!
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Joanne,
It's not pessimistic to think about your future, it's realistic! Knowing you will be alone soon, you NEED to be as prepared as possible. After dealing with your husband's terminal illness & everything that follows, you will need the peace of mind it will give you. But, I agree you should keep your paid for house.
It's great you're in good health & have some resources. If you have no family/heirs that you want to leave your paid for home to, you could get a reverse mortgage. This would give you additional income. Could you consider sharing your home with other women? Being in a very similar situation, I plan to stay in MY paid for home & (while I 'm still healthy), seek out & cultivate friendships with other women. Women in similar situations could be good housemates, sharing expenses, housework, etc.
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Joanne, I sure wouldn't want to give up my paid for house, just to move into a retirement facility at $3000 + a month! You said in your profile that 'you will have to sell your house', why is that? You said your hubby is terminal, but are you able to talk to him about these concerns? I'd be interested to hear what advice he has for you. Sorry about your husband by the way. ♥
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At your age, I would get long term care insurance. That way, you can use the insurance plus any other monthly income you get to pay toward the facility. That's what I plan to do. I'm 63 and also have an elderly husband ..if he passes prior to me, I won't get his pension either. So I'm protecting myself by getting long term care insurance so I can afford a nice place!
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One additional thought, if your home is paid for, why not bring in a roommate once your husband passes, some additional income, someone to visit with, etc. Start your own version of Golden Girls.
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Are you looking into one of these facilities so that you have someone to spend time with? It that is the case, you should check local senior centers, though I am nearly 59 and consider myself too young for that. Find some activities for you to get involved in, volunteer at a local school or some non-profit that does work you are interested in. There are so many options. Would you think of going back to work to give yourself something to do and make friends?

Since you are in good health, I would be hesitant to buy in or anything right now. Are there active adult living communities for 55+ in your area? These can be wonderful and very affordable with lots of opportunities to meet people through various activities while still living independently. If you are interested in Arizona, I would check that first.
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I can't believe at 63 you'd put yourself out of your paid home into a paid independent living center. You are living now independently! Get a will done, get a DPOA, POA done, if you have nobody close, get a lawyer. Put in writing what you want done when and if you need assistance, if you have to go to the hospital etc. Pay your bills direct debit, if you fear hospitalization. Hire someone to check on the house, take in the mail, cut the grass during that time. Get a home care nurse to help you should you require convalescence at home, someone to bring you meals, I think meals on wheels would do this for someone your age if sick. Prepare for yourself, then go on a freaking cruise you are making yourself worry over something that may or may not happen. Enjoy your life now and please stop being in a catastrophic mode of thought.
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Joanne---I live in the Charlotte NC area and the average cost here is pretty high---usually $3000-$4500 per month for a decent place. Notice I said decent place---there are cheaper ones but hardly the surroundings you would want to be in . It does depend on the size of the apartment you choose and I have toured a few of these places with my husband. Suffice to say, there are tiny efficiencies to a larger two bedrooms. Also, since the meals are provided for in the place we toured, you don't have a stove in your apartment, just a microwave and refrigerator. That was not appealing to us at all as we both like to cook but I am sure there are facilities that provide a stove if you want. You did not mention if you had any children---would there be a situation that you could move in with one of them if need be? I wish you best of luck and hope you find a comfortable and affordable place.
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Whoa there lady of 63! Stop being a pessimist and thinking you are in decline. I am going to be 65 in Nov. and just bought a house with a mtg. of 30 yrs. No, I don't plan on living that long, however, before I bought our home I checked out independent living first because my husband has dementia, and given our age difference of 22 yrs. I expect to outlive him. But, when I saw the cost of a gated, locked area on the same property, it was over $5000 per month. I cannot afford that, and since I am a nurse it was cheaper to buy a house and call for outside help when or if the time comes. The same will happen if I need help. With your house paid off, it will be less expensive to stay there and have live-in care, if you need it. But, if you are in good health, don't dwell on the "what ifs" life will deal you. Live for today, and tomorrow will come soon enough. We have now been in our home for one month, and I have met more single ladies on my street, and they manage very well. One of them is 89, and doing great. So, don't think negative because that in itself will generate negative effects on your health. Live each day as though it were your last, and make every day count. Get some people with whom you can adopt as your "family". There are lots of us without family and most of us prefer friends to family. You are not alone in this world, and there are many resources you can find to help. Don't give up that house. You'll wish you had it if you moved to independent living...
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Joanne, remember if you move into one of these communities you will eliminate many expenses that you currently have. For example, utilities for your home (electricity, gas, water, trash pick up), property taxes, home owners insurance, etc. some facilities offer 3 meals to the independent residents also.

If you have long term care insurance, they will assume the expense once you require the additional help of the assisted living.
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I worry about that too. My husband could afford that if he's left alone, but the way his retirement works, I will be left with only 1/3 of our present income. Even the least expensive assisted living is out of my price range.That $2-3000 is about the same as here in Utah. I won't even be able to stay in my home because I won't have enough to pay the utility bills. I fear I'll become a bag lady.
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Unfortunately, I would never be able to afford $2,000 to $3,000 per month. What I would like to find is a facility where I could "buy in" for a certain amount, depending on the size of my apartment, and pay a nominal monthly fee for my utilities, phone, etc. I am exploring a couple of places in Arizona (I used to live there), but none of them are remotely affordable. I would run out of money long before I needed critical care. Of course, none of us know when that will be, but the thought of being unable to pay for my basic needs scares me to death.
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There are many retirement communities in Lancaster County, PA, and you will find it less expensive than Chester County. Actually, this Saturday, the 18th, is the 3rd annual Explore Retirement Living expo in Lancaster Co, featuring abt. 17 different places. You can read about it at lancasteronline. Personally I have heard good things about Brethren Village, Landis Homes, Garden Spot - Willow Valley is great but really expensive; there is the beautiful Masonic Homes if your husband was a Mason. The wide variety of facilities offer diverse settings - some very country, some more urban, but there's certainly a lot to choose from.
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Chester County is home to one of the longest running and best continuing care communities anywhere -- Kendal at Longwood. It was founded by the Quakers and might still have an affiliation.
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