Can I Afford an Independent Living Community?
When you’re ready to upgrade your living situation and join an independent living community, it’s common to worry about costs. There is a common misconception that such active living environments are unaffordable or unsustainable; however, making the switch to an all-inclusive independent living community can be the best choice for your overall happiness and wallet in the long run.
Such a setup allows you to be as independent as possible while allocating your income in comparable ways to how you are living now. So, if you’re worried about independent living costs, here are some considerations that will help you determine if your budget will allow it.
Consider Your Current Finances — Now and in the Future
The first step you should take is to examine how much you’re spending every month. Whether you own or rent a home, most everyone has costs related to daily living and utilities.
- Your Home: the average homeowner spends a few hundred to a few thousand a year for regular maintenance like gutter cleaning, repairs around the home and replacing items. This depends on the age, size and condition of your home. There are also real estate taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and lawn upkeep to factor in. If you’re renting, then your landlord is paying for repairs, but you are paying rent, which usually increases every year with the rising costs of living. You may still be responsible for utilities, renter’s insurance and minor repairs as well.
- Additional Expenditures: owning a home and car also involve additional property taxes. You also need to factor in groceries, gas, car insurance and any other fees you pay to keep up with your personal properties and interests.
- Your Lifestyle: for a full life, meeting friends and staying active is a must! Therefore, monthly costs also include entertainment, fees like fitness center memberships and whatever else you need to feel fulfilled.
How is your income handling these expenditures right now? Would they be able to handle any major incidents like emergency repairs or the need for a new car? Would you be able to modify your home to match your mobility later on in life?
According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of remodeling a bathroom is $6,500. This can involve modifying the bathroom to change out the toilet, shower, sink and doorway to accommodate the need for more aging-friendly layout. In addition, you may have to install more gadgets like a stair lift, which can cost $3,000 with the installation. Cleaning a home that is too big for you also has its costs. The average 2,000 square foot house costs $150-$250 on average per session to clean – not to mention the time-consuming cost of cleaning yourself.
Healthcare and having access to it is a significant issue as well. Do you live far from the hospital or your doctor’s office? These conveniences factor in when every minute counts if you have an accident at home.
The Costs of an All-inclusive Home
Many active adults find that instead of taking care of a long list of repairs and home renovations to live independently (such as widening doors, adding grab bars in bathrooms and a standing tub) that it’s much easier and more cost effective to move somewhere in which these changes have already been made. There are no more stairs to deal with, no wasted space in the home that takes extra hours to clean and maintain. Plus, there are many benefits to decluttering and living small — the main one being less stress!
An independent living community takes everything and consolidates it into one place: transportation, medical needs, social activities, dining, your spiritual well-being and much more. So, all you have to worry about is enjoying life, not if your landscaper is going to come by and mow your lawn before it rains. There are no more unpredictable costs regarding home repairs, making meals, scheduling renovations and other necessities people pay for regularly when they live alone.
There’s Value in Simplicity
An independent living community takes so much off your plate and frees up time that you’d normally be cooking, taking care of your lawn, seeking medical care, finding activities to do, driving to and from places and more. Imagine not having to spend hours at the grocery store or depending on other family members to get basic tasks done. The all-inclusive amenities at an independent living community will give you the freedom to stay active and pursue your passions.
The value found in a redefined life that’s free from the previous chains of handling tedious tasks yourself is unquantifiable. Converting your house or other liquid assets into your next chapter can be a big transition, but you’re making your money work for you in a different way than before. You’re investing in your happiness and wholeness in this new chapter of your life. You’re surrounding yourself with the support and care you need to live as independently as possible without being far from amenities and being bogged down by responsibilities you no longer want to have.
The cost of a housekeeper, repairs, transportation, security, health care, hospitality, amenities, entertainment and enrichment programs are great individually, but having them under one roof where emergency responders are nearby and always on the clock can be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
There’s Value in Community
An independent living community offers a wealth of social opportunities that you can easily pick without having to search high and low. Alone at home, it takes internet searches and phone calls to find out what’s happening around town, then you need to drive to get there. An independent living community has everything set up for a healthy social life — a la carte.
A recent study showed that half of Americans feel lonely. Living in an isolated place and having to wait for visitors, going a long distance to meet friends or family and having to bring all your necessities with you for such activities can make living alone without help challenging as you age. This makes it harder for mature adults to get out and keep their social life in full swing, leading to feelings of isolation.
So, while an all-inclusive housing seems expensive, the value you get from being right in community with other active adults allows you to be close to friends and easily connect for meetups, game nights and exercise — all without having to worry about how to get together. The logistics are planned out for you and all you have to do is ask for a schedule of what’s happening around the neighborhood and jump in the fun!
Do the Math
To help you crunch the practical numbers, we have prepared a quick cost comparison sheet that you can print out and fill out at your leisure. The costs of living independently as you get older in your own home add up as tasks that you normally used to do need to be outsourced to others. This includes basic utilities, maintenance, upkeep, emergency response system, a security system and time-consuming chores like:
- Landscaping and lawn care
- Housekeeping and linen services
- Scheduled transportation or car payments
- Taking out the trash
- Meal prep or delivery
However, when you live in an all-inclusive community, you greatly simplify your finances and consolidate everything to where these services are under one roof; or the need for some of these “necessities” are eliminated completely. For example, you don’t ever have to worry about your lawn again when you live in an independent living community as the staff provides these services for the whole community. Independent living rolls everything under one roof:
- All day dining
- Beauty salon/barber
- Fitness center
- Wellness programs
- Entertainment options, such as movie theater, game room or performing arts center
- Other social activities
By filling out this cost comparison guide, you can itemize the regular expenditures you make on entertainment, repairs, social outings, rides, taxes, mortgage, utilities and any other costs that apply to your current living situation. Then, figure in all the amenities that come with independent living that include everything you could possibly need to live comfortably that’s rolled into one flat rate. You may be surprised to find that the cost of staying in your current situation will end up being higher than living with a community of your peers!
After crunching the numbers and considering the unquantifiable value of friendships, freedom and social opportunities, the cost of an independent living community is comparable and perhaps even more affordable than staying at your own home long term. If you’re wondering if you can tap into extra resources, you certainly can. Many adults turn to additional funds found in life insurance, reverse mortgages and other public benefits they can qualify for.
- Life Insurance: you can pull some money out of your plan from the built-up cash value to support the costs of independent living. You can also fully cash out if your policy allows it. You may also convert your policy into a long-term care payment plan. Though this option does result in a reduction of value to your policy, it will support your lifestyle when you need it the most.
- Veteran Benefits Administration: if you’re a vet, then you may qualify for financial aid in assisted living. There are certain conditions under which you need to qualify, so to find out if you do, apply through the VA.
- Sell Your Home: if you own a home, it could have accrued a lot of value or be paid off. Selling your home gives you a lump sum you can use for the next chapter of your life.
- Rent Your Home: this is a great option for retirees. By basing the rent off the home’s current market value, you can make over a thousand a month just off someone living in your home. A reverse mortgage/renting combo can give you a lump sum and steady income to support your new living situation.
Find Your New Home at Homestead at Hamilton
Independent living may seem expensive upfront, but it ends up being a more affordable option than home upkeep or dealing with rising rent costs. Quite simply, sticking to a monthly budget is easier when prices are included in one flat rate. There are no individual variables to fuss about.
Homestead at Hamilton has everything you need and could ever want to have a thrilling and comfortable retirement. We focus on whole-person wellness and aim to make living here fun and easily part of the best season of your life. To find out more about us and how our community can be the perfect fit for you, contact us today.