What is Lifecare?
Lifecare at The Admiral at the Lake provides the most comprehensive retirement plan for active, independent living in Chicago today. Enjoy an active life, financial security and priority access to long-term care if and when it is needed.
Any assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing services that may be required will be provided in private accommodations and familiar surroundings by skilled, caring professionals the resident knows and trusts. The cost of these long-term services will be covered by the one-time entrance fee and the monthly service fees. This setup is what’s known as a continuing care retirement community.
Lifecare vs. Continuing Care Retirement Communities
A continuing care retirement community, or CCRC, is exactly what it sounds like: a community that offers a continuum of living and service options that residents progress through based on their needs. Typically, a resident at a CCRC (also known as a life plan community) would go from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. Of course, it’s entirely possible that someone living at a CCRC would stay in independent living throughout their residence. It all depends on your future health needs.
If an unexpected health issue should arise, residents of a CCRC or life plan community already have a guarantee of quality care. There’s no need to worry about health care decisions—it’s a benefit for both you and your loved ones.
So, what’s the difference between a regular continuing care retirement community and Lifecare? Well, a CCRC might offer different levels of service, but they might not necessarily offer everything that Lifecare does. CCRC is a broad term to describe a type of community; Lifecare is a specific program that guarantees residents will have access to independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support services as needed at guaranteed monthly rates.
One of the most frequent questions we receive here at The Admiral at the Lake is: “What is a life plan community?”
Some advantages of Lifecare include:
- Easy budgeting. There are no unexpected health care costs, just set fees and contracts, so you don’t have to worry about unforeseen expenses.
- Guaranteed access to long-term healthcare.
- The option for home health within the community.
- Guaranteed estate protection through an entry fee that is partially refundable to the resident or their estate.
- Compatibility with long-term care insurance. Lifecare usually works effectively with long-term care insurance plans.
- Built-in financial protection to safeguard against future medical needs.
Lifecare Costs: What to Expect
The exact cost of any CCRC or life plan community depends on the type of contract and the individual need for care. However, there are typically two types of fees associated with a CCRC or life plan community: a one-time entrance fee and a monthly service fee.
The benefit of those fees is that they guarantee priority access to on-site assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing. Another benefit of monthly fees? Stability. Lifecare fees remain predictable even when access to community healthcare services are required. Residents need not worry about the financial impact of long-term healthcare requirements.
What is an entrance fee?
With payment of the entrance fee, applicants are guaranteed lifetime residence. The amount of the one-time fee is based on the size and location of the residence chosen. Depending on the community, it may be refundable. The Admiral at the Lake offers a variety of contracts, based on apartment type. These contracts are 90, 50 and 0 percent refundable to the resident or their estate if they were to leave The Admiral for any reason.
What is a monthly service fee?
The monthly service fee is a comprehensive charge that varies with residence size and number of occupants.
It covers the cost of a variety of services such as:
- Chef-prepared gourmet meals
- Interior maintenance
- Exterior maintenance
- Household utilities
- Scheduled transportation
- Community amenities
- Most activities and events
- Fitness center
- Swimming pool
If you have questions, residency counselors are available to review all aspects of the Lifecare program including the financial details described in the residency agreement. Simply contact us.
What if I have long-term care insurance?
Many residents who have long-term care insurance and require assisted living, memory support or skilled nursing services have been able to apply their insurance benefits to Lifecare services. Residents can contact their insurance representatives directly to further explore how their long-term care insurance benefits may be applied.
How will Lifecare affect my taxes?
Good news! Under IRS guidelines, a portion of Lifecare community entrance fees and monthly service fees are deductible as prepaid medical expenses. A tax advisor can help you understand how this may benefit you specifically.
Lifecare Levels of Service
The levels of service within the Lifecare program include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehab, and memory support. Residents move through the various levels based on what their needs are, which is a decision that’s based in part on input from a dedicated team of care professionals.
Wondering what the process of moving to assisted living might look like? Well, at The Admiral at the Lake, it’s a collaborative effort. Typically, the conversation begins when a nurse or someone in housekeeping starts noticing changes. Perhaps someone isn’t eating as much as they used to or their apartment isn’t as clean as usual. After that, the nurse or admissions coordinator will go to the resident to check in with them and ask if they feel they would benefit from assisted living services.
From there, the resident can tour the assisted living apartments to see if they’re interested in moving. Together with their physician and The Admiral’s nursing staff, the resident then makes the transition to assisted living, where they’ll have an individualized care plan. Of course, at any point during this process input from family members is welcome.
It’s a collaborative decision—no one is forced to move. If residents prefer not to move to assisted living, The Admiral at the Lake has an on-site home health care agency that’s available 24/7. Residents can contract a la carte services if they wish to stay in their independent living apartment but need a little help with everyday activities.
Wondering what level of service you or your loved one might need? Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of service.
What it is:
Independent living is a way to continue living your active lifestyle—just in a more convenient way. In independent living, residents enjoy apartment living with amenities and plenty of social, educational and creative activities designed both by and for residents.
Who’s a good fit:
People who live in an independent living community must be able to live on their own. This is why it’s a good fit for active older adults who don’t need hands-on medical care—just the assurance that it’s there when or if they need it.
What it is:
Assisted living is for residents who need a bit of help with daily activities from a dedicated care team. The benefit of being in a Lifecare community is that you have priority access and you’re already in a familiar setting if ever the need arises.
Who’s a good fit:
An easy way to determine if assisted living is right for a loved one or yourself is by determining how many activities of daily living (or ADLs) require assistance. If someone is struggling with multiple ADLs, like dressing, bathing and eating, they likely need assisted living services.
Skilled Nursing and Rehab
What it is:
Residents who have an illness or struggle with physical health issues can receive care in skilled nursing. Think of this as a more intensive version of assisted living—it’s a higher level of service for those who have more serious health issues.
Who’s a good fit:
If a resident needs 24/7 care, skilled nursing is the place for them. In addition to medical treatment, assistance with daily activities like eating and bathing is also provided. As mentioned, if a resident has an unexpected health set-back, rehab is an excellent way to get them back on their feet.
Rehab services are also available for residents who suffer a health setback, such as a broken leg, and need rehab to regain their strength. Because rehab is a part of the health care spectrum, it’s possible that a resident might go from independent living to rehab, then back to independent living when their health is restored.
What it is:
Memory support services provide care for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia. Through enriching daily activities and personalized care, residents receive memory support from an experienced leadership team.
Who’s a good fit:
Memory support differs from skilled nursing in that it’s meant for people suffering from memory loss issues. Those with dementia or Alzheimer’s are a good fit for memory support services.
Best Age to Move to a CCRC
There’s no set age that’s the magic number for moving to a retirement community. It depends on your lifestyle and health needs, and your personal preference. However, the general rule is: sooner rather than later.
Moving into a life plan community in your 60’s or 70’s helps you get the most out of your experience, and also prevents running into healthcare emergencies in the future. For example, to qualify for Lifecare, you must move in while you are independent and reasonably healthy. This is why it’s not a good idea to wait. If you have an urgent need for assisted living or skilled nursing, it might already be too late as many communities have wait lists. The Admiral at the Lake offers private-pay admission to Assisted Living, Memory Support, and Skilled Nursing for residents who do not move into Independent Living, but priority goes to Lifecare residents.
There’s also the convenience factor to consider. You may love living at home, but is that really the easiest way to live? By moving into a life plan community, all the hassle of homeownership is lifted from your shoulders. You no longer need to worry about maintenance, cooking and transportation—that’s all taken care of for you.
Don’t forget the social benefits that come from a retirement community. Whether you move in as a single or as a couple, you’ll soon become immersed in a vibrant, dynamic community with plenty of chances for socializing.
What to Look For in a CCRC/Life Plan Community
When you’re deciding between different life plan communities, there are a few things you should take into account. You’re trying to decide if it’s a good fit for your interests and needs, as well as if it’s worth the investment. Here are the three main things you should look for in a life plan community:
- Lifestyle.This is a crucial consideration. This will be your new home, so you want to make sure it’s a good fit.
- Cost vs. Benefit. When considering the cost of a life plan community, you’ll want to take into account which amenities you’ll actually use.
- Financial Stability. Moving into a life plan community is a big investment, so it’s natural to want to make sure that your investment is in good hands. Involve your financial advisor in your decision-making process—they’ll know what information to look for to ensure a community is up to snuff.
While it’s good to begin your search online, meeting with a counselor at the community for a tour can help you get a clearer picture of what life at that community will look like for you. It’s your chance to ask questions about amenities, contract types and any other questions you might have.
What Can Lifecare Do for You?
Wouldn’t you like to know more about Lifecare at The Admiral at the Lake? Contact us today—we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about what the right plan is for you.