Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of a well-planned life. Choosing how and where to spend your golden years is a decision that comes with a slew of questions. Do you stay in your current home or downsize? What are the benefits of the different types of retirement living communities? What will you do if you need care down the line?

We’re here to help you make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll outline the main differences between a 55+ community and a Life Plan Community and why the latter could help you get the most out of your retirement lifestyle.


The Basics

Both 55+ communities and Life Plan Communities are designed specifically for seniors. Despite the label “55+,” minimum age requirements vary by community. Most retirement living options of either type offer amenities and services that make life more convenient, but many of the similarities end there.


Payment Structures

At a Life Plan Community, a new resident pays a one-time entrance fee (often funded by the sale of their home) that’s highly repayable; that is, when they leave the community, a large percentage of the entrance fee is refunded to them or their estate. Once moved in, a resident pays a flat monthly fee that consolidates several of the costs of home ownership, like most utilities and maintenance, unexpected repairs and property taxes. The monthly fee also covers many expenses of day-to-day life – a dining plan, access to fitness amenities and several options for entertainment, social events and other attractive activities.

At a 55+ community, seniors buy their residences like any other home purchase. They are often responsible for the home and yard upkeep and pay monthly bills like homeowner’s insurance and utilities.


A Plan for the Future

The biggest difference between a Life Plan Community and a 55+ Community is the plan for future care.

Unlike at a 55+ community, residents at a Life Plan Community like The Glen at Heather Farm will have priority access to the adjacent health center for assisted living, memory care and long-term care in a skilled nursing center, if ever needed, providing an all-encompassing solution for their needs now and in the future. Because of the Life Plan Community fee structure, the costs for care remain stable – a tremendous value over time.

This also means that residents won’t have to move again, even if their health needs change. By planning ahead, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’ll be taken care of regardless of what the future holds, and never have to worry about the hassles of moving as you get older.

In contrast, residents of a 55+ community would have to shop and find an in-home care provider or move to a different location for care. In both scenarios, the individual will pay full market rate for the ever-rising costs of long-term care.


Cost Breakdown

While 55+ communities offer a range of amenities and social activities, not everything is included in the base price. Residents still must pay for the costs associated with home ownership, like gas, electricity, HOA fees and more, along with everyday costs like meals or morning coffee runs.

At a Life Plan Community, nearly everything is consolidated into one monthly fee, including maintenance, yard upkeep, dining, access to on-site activities and amenities, and even biweekly housekeeping. Not only does this simplify monthly expenses, it also protects residents from having to pay for unexpected home repairs – if, say, their refrigerator breaks or roof leaks, or even if a bulb goes out.

Another financial advantage of choosing a Life Plan Community is the potential for tax benefits. A portion of the fees paid to a Life Plan Community may be tax-deductible as a prepaid medical expense. Always consult your tax advisor for details on this benefit.

With a 55+ community, there are no tax benefits to offset the expenses and rarely is there access to on-site care.


The Right Choice

While a 55+ community can be a suitable option for some, a Life Plan Community stands out as the better choice for a fulfilling lifestyle today and a solid plan for the future. With so much included, a Life Plan Community puts more in place to help you enjoy the next chapter of your life.

To learn more about the tremendous financial and lifestyle advantages of choosing a Life Plan Community like The Glen at Heather Farm, contact us today.