Your aging journey

Retirement living considerations

As we grow older, we will likely be forced to examine our living situation and whether it is suitable or appropriate as our health and wellbeing needs change. Many of us put off thinking about this transition, preferring to stick with our current arrangements; but the reality is that advanced aging means we will all likely need extra help. The question is, what degree of help and how should we plan for this phase of our life. Facing these key questions will help each of us determine the most suitable accommodation for our own unique circumstances.

One approach is to think of the later years in terms of three key stages:

  1. From 65-75: Ideally, you’re still active and healthy and enjoying retirement or semi-retirement.
  2. The late 70s and beyond: Many individuals may start to slow down, experience declining health and may require additional care.
  3. Additional care: The unfortunate reality for many of us is that we may eventually require more substantial nursing care provided by a long-term care facility.

What are some of the practical (financial and legal) arrangements you can put in place in advance and while you’re in the best position to make decisions? And if you’re an adult child, what can you do to help your parent or parents as they require increasing assistance?

One thing is clear, there is no single ‘best’ living arrangement for aging Canadians. The types of residential housing options cover the full spectrum of care. Beyond remaining at home as an active adult, perhaps with some additional help, these options include:

  • Independent living
  • Assisted living
  • Long-term care (nursing home)
  • Continuing care
  • Home care

The key difference between independent living and other housing options is the level of assistance offered for daily living activities. If you require round-the-clock help with eating, dressing, and using the bathroom, or require regular medical assistance, other housing options such as assisted living facilities or long-term care (nursing homes) may be a better fit.

Reframing the idea of independence

Many aging individuals equate moving out of your home into a retirement residence with a loss of independence; however, depending on the circumstances, the opposite may be true. Not all retirement residences are traditional care homes and many offer a variety of options from independent apartment living to advanced levels of care. Perhaps another way to consider the transition from your home into retirement living is to imagine how daily life can be made easier. In this way, the focus is less on the housing type itself and more on your quality of life.

Here are four key questions to help you determine what type of care may suit you or when to move to a retirement or age facility:

  1. How easy is it for you to maintain your current home?
  2. How easy is it for you to get around?
  3. How is your health?
  4. Is it difficult for you to connect with family and friends?

 


Financial costs

With the vast array of retirement living and care options, comes a wide variety of costs. More upscale residences can range in cost from a minimum of $5000 a month to over $7000 for greater levels of care. While seemingly expensive, these can be viewed against the cost of maintaining full-time professional care at home, among other expenses.


Estate planning

Beyond your financial plan, one of the most important areas to address is will planning. After you have spent a lifetime building your wealth, your will gives you an opportunity to transfer the assets you have accumulated to your beneficiaries, including your family, friends or charitable organizations. We can help you ensure that it is up to date.


Medical incidents

Also think about medical incidents and the possibility of a decrease in your physical and cognitive abilities – situations that can have a tangible impact or disrupt the last few years of your life.

One of the most significant challenges that older adults should plan for is the possibility of developing any form of dementia, which is rising sharply in Canada, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada.


Powers of attorney

For older individuals, two tools often used for managing financial affairs are powers of attorney and joint bank accounts. It is important to know how a power of attorney or a joint bank account works before you use them. Carefully consider all of your options before making any decisions. Find out more about these tools here or reach out to us if you have any questions.

Speak to us about putting the financial pieces in place to ensure your accommodation and living needs are adequately covered in your budget.