As a resident at Shell Point Retirement Community (SPRC), I have had a number of interesting, eye-opening conversations with my neighbors. Many of them believe that living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is an opportunity to safely let go of their long term care insurance (LTCi). I do not recommend this!
Before you make this potentially dangerous decision for yourself or your parents, please read through these 3 experiences. Hopefully, they will serve as a cautionary tale and help you from repeating their mistakes.
1. Living in a CCRC Doesn’t Always Include Payment for Home Care
Sally’s mother lived in SPRC for 26 years. Although she needed care, her mother did not own long term care insurance (LTCi), since she believed the CCRC would cover the costs of her needs. Over the years, Sally’s mother was unwilling to accept the fact that her health was deteriorating and that she needed additional care. Ideally, she would have moved to the on-site assisted living facility or elected for home care.
The majority of CCRC’s pay for assisted living or nursing home care, but they don’t pay for home care.
As you’ll hear in Sally’s video testimony below, her mother was unwilling to pay for home care, preferring to preserve her estate for the benefit of her children. Her situation got so dangerous that Sally had to enlist intervention by a professional to “force” her mother into better care. Sally realizes now that the entire situation could have been avoided if her mother had been covered by a LTCi policy.
2. Nursing Care Paid Out-of-Pocket
When Hugh and his wife moved here to SPRC, they assumed that they no longer needed their LTCi since the CCRC would pay for their assisted living and nursing care. So they stopped paying their monthly LTCi premiums and let their policies lapse.
In her last months, Hugh’s wife became extremely disabled, needing care above and beyond what the assisted living facility could legally provide. Hugh was advised to move his wife to the on-site nursing home so she could receive the care she needed. While the assisted living center provides a cheery, home-like atmosphere, the nursing home is more sterile and institutional. Hugh just couldn’t bear moving his wife into the nursing home.
By remaining in assisted living, Hugh had to pay for round-the-clock caregivers out of his own pocket. As he shared his story with me, I told him about my work. He recognized how much he regretted giving up their long term care insurance. He knows that if they’d kept their policies active, the cost needed for his wife’s additional care would have been covered.
3. The Unexpected Need for an Off-site Facility
Nancy’s husband was stricken with Lewy Body Dementia. If this sounds familiar, this is the same illness that actor Robin Williams suffered from. This form of dementia can damage thinking and alertness. Symptoms can include physical stiffness, hallucinations and even violence.
As a result of his condition, Nancy’s husband became physically violent and needed more care than SPRC could safely provide. Despite their best efforts, SPRC was unable to keep him onsite. Nancy was forced to find an off-site facility that could properly care for her husband. Those unexpected costs (paid without the benefit of LTCi coverage) nearly demolished her savings.
Learning from Experience
You don’t have to have these experiences in order to learn the same lessons. Moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) does not mean it’s time to end your long term care insurance policy. In fact, this may be the time you most want that peace of mind.
Click here to receive a free, no-obligation quote for your own LTCi policy.