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You Are Ready to Retire. But What Is Your Plan for 20 Years From Now?

Category: Retirement Planning

March 23, 2021 — Whew, you finally figured out your retirement. You know where you are going to retire, what you are going to do everyday, and how you are going to pay for it all. Congratulations!

But before you get too complacent, there is an important part of your retirement plan that you might not have considered – how that plan might change if you survive into your 80s and 90s (and we hope you do!). In this article we will first talk about the key issues that need to considered in what is called forward planning, and then provide comments from Topretirements members about their planning for long term retirement.

At 65 or 70 most of us feel pretty good and are able to do most of the things we have always done. Our health might not be perfect, but we are getting along OK. Unfortunately, this won’t always be the case, even though most people don’t ever consider that. Our health can change in an instant – cancer, heart problem, Covid long term symptoms, stroke, or an accident. Even if we escape those scourges, old age is inevitable. If we are lucky, it will happen, and diminished faculties will come along with it. Sound long range retirement planning acknowledges this and takes steps to best manage it. Most importantly, taking forward planning into account early in the process can lead to a much more sensible retirement plan, one with fewer mistakes and do-overs.

The major long term retirement issues

These are some of the big long term retirement issues to consider. There are undoubtedly more, and we look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Health. Most of the problems that come with old age are health related. So beyond taking good care of ourselves, we need to recognize we will probably need a lot of medical care as we age. Choosing a retirement location with easy access to high quality medical care is therefore important. Living on a lake might be appealing, but if it is 100 miles from a big hospital and we have a big emergency or require treatment for a chronic condition, it is not such a good choice.

Type of home. Living in a big suburban home in later life can come with a lot of problems. We might have to rely on others for routine jobs, not to mention the expenses. Single level homes are a must, because a second floor master is a big problem for someone with bad knees or a walker. Communal living in an apartment or attached home can provide more socialization and less need for driving. A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) might be expensive, but for those who can afford one, they usually offer great amenities, guaranteed continuing care, and a rich social life. There are many options, and they need to be considered earlier rather than later.

Ergonomic issues. Multiple levels in a home can be difficult for a person in a wheelchair and lead to trips and falls. Simple ergonomic features like tall toilets, door handles instead of knobs, and accessible counter heights can all be corrected, but they do need to be there.

Driving. No one wants to think about it, but if we live long enough, someone is going to take our keys away. When that happens there is usually a tremendous feeling of loss of freedom. That can be overcome to a certain extent by good planning. Independent living or assisted living facilities have vans or drivers to take you where you need to go. Or, you might live in an area where you can walk to a lot of things. Living far away from everything can become untenable.

Social life. Many people choose to live near or with their relatives, which is a great way to maintain socialization. An in-law apartment or Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) like a tiny house can be a great way to accomplish this. Living in a 55+ community of some type can provide the programs and people to keep us connected and happy.

Economic. Implicit in any retirement planning is having the confidence that we will have the financial resources to live comfortably in late retirement. Will we have enough money to afford the type of housing (independent living, assisted living, CCRC, etc.) that we might need? Spending too much money early on so we have to go on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home is not what most people are looking for. A better plan is to scope out different types of communities in advance and plan to be able to afford them.

How many times do we want to move? This might be the most important question to plan for early on. Failure to consider it can lead to a lot of unhappiness. If the area where you retire at age 65 does not have the medical facilities for a person in their 80s who has ongoing health issues, that is a problem. That can mean having to move in old age, leaving behind friends, church, and familiarity. Not that it can’t be corrected. Your Editor’s mother moved from Florida to Maine at age 98. It was a bit of a shock, but she came to like living in a nice assisted living facility just down the street from her youngest daughter. On the other hand, picking an area to retire with the resources to provide continuity of care later in life is a huge plus and a big comfort.

Bottom line

Forward planning, which acknowledges the inevitable, is the most solid approach to retirement. Best to think about it now and incorporate it into the overall retirement plan.

Reader Comments

A few years ago we wrote an article, “Where Will You Be When You Are 80?”, which generated 44 comments. Here are a selection of some of those – and we welcome yours below!

Jean: Where – Eastern Pennsylvania which is near our home state on NJ but much more tax friendly for seniors the NJ and culture and medical better than we experienced while living in SC. While able snowbird in the winter to rental unit.
What kind of home – Single family house in a 55+ community.
Near relatives – We don’t have children but have lots of siblings and nieces and nephews, and old friends.

Maimi: I hope I am still alive at 80! Hopefully, I will be living independently in an apartment or condo near my family and the Atlantic ocean in New England. The tough part is trusting that I have enough money by then.

Kate: By 80, I will move into an apartment or assisted living near family for the simplest life (without a car) as possible.

Barb: We have concerns about enough money, and must continue to work at some level. A reverse mortgage is another resource we may rely on. We will leave Southern California in the near future, despite having family here. We will take the money from the sale of the property, and get an easy-care, easy-living small house or condo. Clearwater, FL and/or Prescott, AZ will be where we land. Walkabilty, user-firendly living, and excellent medical care are priorities. If either one of us ends-up alone, moving close-by to one of the kids is likely. If alone.

Dan: At 80, I would like to be living in a condo within a 55+ community to keep engaged with social activities.

JoannC: I keep saying that my next move will be the last, but that’s probably not true. I debate moving back to the area where I grew up (Northern California) and that I know best (if I can figure out a way to afford it) or moving to someplace completely new and more affordable than the Bay Area. If I have to move into a CCRC or something more appropriate at age 80+ or 90+, I at least want to be living in the area where I want that last residence to be. 

Everette: By age 80, my wife and I plan to move to a condo with lots of amenities and close to groceries and medical or a continuing care facility that are close to our family in Virginia. We are still in our home and would need to downsize and simplify our lives.

Carole:  I plan on being near to one of my daughters so they will be able to easily care for me. They both know this. By then, I also want to have shredded my big house filled with stuff – a much more difficult project than I anticipated.

Darla: I am in my 70’s and know that making these kinds of decision will be sooner than I’d like. Right now we enjoy two homes and are snowbirds like many but just the thought of downsizing makes me procrastinate. What I am thinking is when we are too old or too dangerous to drive we will give the deed to our winter home to our children with the stipulation that they get us there with them every winter for the duration. Wish we had a crystal ball.

Steve: We’ll probably downsize somewhere close to our kids in Texas. I think the bigger question is, since the baby boomer generation is getting older, there will have to be a change in the housing and care model, for us, since there will be so many of us. What will that model be?

Don: Help both our children buy their family home with preferably a separate cottage (Or large private in law suite wt separate entrance) so we have a place to stay when visiting.

We could go on with so many more great comments. These are just a few of the interesting Comments made to the earlier article. You can read them all here. Please add yours below (and if you were one of the Commentators from four years ago, please update your situation – we would to hear from you)!

Posted by Admin on March 23rd, 2021


  1. Once DH came home to say, “I can’t do this any more.” we made the first “downsize” and moved to the where we wanted to be – leaving the kids & family spread out across the country, behind. (DH was 61) It had to be an active, vital place, fairly close to several CCRC’s where we ultimately plan to move in a few more years. We ended up with a much smaller home on a wonderful lot with gardens, close to the town center and near a big city with awesome medical. The house has two stories but we can live on one level. I have my fabric, yarn and sewing machine upstairs with the guest room.

    We have visited several official communities until Covid-19 hit. Now we have several more to see. We are on one “wait list” and expect to be on, at least, one more. DH has Parkinsons and I know I’ll need help – maybe 5-8 yrs yet. Some of the waiting lists are up to 8 years so get on one soon. Most of them let you get to the top of the list and wait until you’re ready. A couple of them only give you 3 chances to say no before you go to the bottom of the list or drop off altogether so check that out too. They all want a deposit but some give 100% refund and some hold back a fee. You are usually eligible to attend functions and eat a meal once a month – they want you to get to know the place and people. A good idea!

    Plan ahead.

    by HEF — March 24, 2021

  2. We decided to buy one retirement home (Scottsdale) rather than snowbirding. We are finding that the summers are way too uncomfortable and limiting for us as all-day outdoor enthusiasts. When we made this decision to move from Connecticut we promised ourselves that the choice need not be permanent. So we have broken retirement down into three-to-five-year spans, with plenty of flexibility. We are now looking for a small condo in a much cooler climate as a second home. Our advice: Don’t overspend on a magnificent dream home. Leave enough leeway in case the decision turns out not to have been ideal. We need not live with one decision forever in retirement.

    by Ed LaFreniere — March 24, 2021

  3. Great advice from Ed L. that “we need not live with one decision forever in retirement.” It is freeing to have this perspective. In 2019 we moved to our one level home after living in the 5 bedroom 3 level home for 17 years. Kids have moved on with their lives, I just couldn’t take the big home with no one there and all of the memories. Starting fresh was a very good move. We are still in the same vicinity of services and friends and we will need to work until age 65 or so. We are in early 60s, so retirement will come up quickly. Thinking about the “slow go” years 75 plus, we may need to downsize even more to a simpler townhome. I am hoping builders will have more options for all of us baby boomers. Being close to medical amenities is high on my priority list as I don’t like to feel stranded by distance. As well as being near at least some family in our golden years. Flexibility and opportunity to change is key to viewing the future.

    by SC — March 24, 2021

  4. Lol! I’m not 60. So 20 years from now I will be long dead!

    by Bob — March 24, 2021

  5. Ed – I love your flexibility and encouragement to change as your life changes. You’re also right about that big dream home. My step-sister & husband built a huge log home in the Pocono Mts. thinking that the kids and grandkids will all come and spend time. Well, the kids don’t really want to do that and now the grandkids are busy with school and sports. They’re stuck with a big house to heat, cool and maintain.

    CAM – Having previously lived in CT & RI and a research trip from TN to Maine, we now live just outside of Portland ME. If you have any more specific questions, ask Admin to forward a note to my e-mail and I can give you more detailed info. We’ve made several new friends this way!

    by HEF — March 25, 2021

  6. We are in our 70’s with one of us over 75. Covid times have made our view of the future quite fuzzy. CCRC type options are looking pricey, out of reach, and less desirable with a pandemic perspective. We have a son and his wife, three adult grandchildren, and four great-grands all living within an hour or two. Plus associated in-laws and family. That whole extended family falls in the Covid is no big deal, why all these precautions, we aren’t getting the vaccine camp. As people who take Covid precautions seriously, we no longer feel like we have a solid family support system. So we are reconsidering reality. Healthy and active for now. Hoping we can figure something out!

    by AS — March 25, 2021

  7. Four years later after my referenced post above, my wife and I still plan to downsize by age 80 to a nice condo with a lot of amenities (in-door pool, underground parking, gated, convenience store on campus) which is close to great medical services and groceries.

    During this pandemic, we felt that our home and community were safe and comfortable as a lockdown environment so we are happy to stay put for now.

    The pandemic also gave us a negative view of ccrc’s because we have a friend in independent living at a local Erickson who has been in “locked down” in his one-room “efficiency” since the pandemic began. Erickson has kept him safe, but his lockdown in his efficiency is NOT the way we would want to live.

    Editor Comment: Thanks for updating your situation Everette! Glad to hear things are going well and your plan is in place. Thank you for your comments and being part of the Topretirements community. Anyone else who commented 4 years around, we would love to hear from you too!

    by Everette — March 25, 2021

  8. Know one thing!! Will not be around in 20yrs. Figure 7 to 10 at best. Planning for 12.
    Have a Living Will. Clause includes “Pull The Plug!!”
    Enjoy. b

    by BillyBogey — March 26, 2021

  9. Please be sure that any Living Will or related document says what you actually mean it to say — an attorney may be needed.

    I recently had an emergency room doctor tell me that if I have a “do not resuscitate” clause, that means, for example, that if my heart should stop, they will not utilize a defibrillator or use CPR to resuscitate me. I don’t want to be kept artificially alive by a machine in a hospital, but I do want normal attempts like defibrillation and/or CPR used to revive me in the moment.

    by RichPB — March 26, 2021

  10. We are 71 and 74 and have no children. Even if we had children we want to decide where our health
    care will be in the final months so a CCRC seems to be the perfect solutiont. What we worry about is what if we sink most of our assets into a CCRC (you purchase admittance; not the home/condo you live in) and the CCRC goes bankrupt.

    by Ann — March 27, 2021

  11. Ann’s comment is a very legitimate, but we hope low probability, risk. Another concern happened to my parents in their CCRC, where the CCRC threatened to sell to new owners and and conditions would change. All the more reason to do careful due diligence when buying into any place, CCRC or not. Personally I think a CCRC is a great idea for one’s final years. In spite of how great you feel now, an unexpected blow like a serious stroke or dementia will blow up any plans of independent living. Not to be pessimistic, just prepared.

    by John Brady — March 27, 2021

  12. I second RichPB’s comment about making sure that any living will – or any document, actually – says what you mean it to say. I hadn’t known that DNR would also mean not using CPR or a defibrillator – so thanks for that information. In my own experience, even lawyers don’t always get it right. The lawyer I used for my trust had the order of distribution of assets completely reversed and said I was wrong when I raised it as an issue. I actually had to spend time with him going over the language in the various clauses before he agreed with me and changed it. (Sorry – this is a little off-topic but I wanted to reiterate RichPB’s point.)

    by JoannC — March 27, 2021

  13. Wow. What a difference between the comments/viewpoints of the folks from a few years back and the ones now. In the earlier comments, I get the feeling that folks were more positive about life in 20 years. Now, I get the opposite feeling. Is living in a CCRC the only thing left in the “Play Book” to look forward to? Come on, there is still a lot of living to do and learn. Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we cannot learn and adapt.

    Let’s add a little hope here that with today’s and near future medical advances we may live longer, healthier lives if we do not stupid stuff and exercise more (Walking 20 minutes everyday is key. I plan to do my 4th half-marathon when I turn 80).

    In 20 years, I will be in my 90’s. Both my parents are in their 90’s and still live in their own home. Today, I took them to a garden shop to buy flowers and tomato and pepper plants. Even though I helped them select the plants, but they do their own planting in their back yard. My dad is 95 and a slow walker, but he still gets around with a cane. He hated the cane at first (typical male ego), but he learned to accept it now.

    A CCRC is not really needed in this day and age with home medical assistants, Instacart for someone to do your grocery shopping, and other online shopping options. Saying I don’t know how to use the internet is not an excuse. My dad is from the non-technical generation and he learned how to use his iPad to order things online by himself. A few years ago, my son and I showed dad a couple internet orders and dad was hooked.

    Change your viewpoint to change your near future lifestyle.

    by Roland — March 27, 2021

  14. Roland I agree with a lot of what you have said.

    I learned to use a computer when I was in my mid to late 30’s. Lucky for me, my coworkers were willing to help me navigate the computer world. I am retired and still am madly in love with my home computer. I have days when I sure wish I had a coworker or a kid help me with issues I can’t seem to solve. I have no kids to help me so I have to figure things out on my own. I think you brought up a very interesting concept by teaching your dad how to order things on his iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have workshops for the Seniors with the younger people (teens especially) teaching us how to do things on our computers, cell phones and other devices? I could see this set up at a community center on Saturday’s. What a great opportunity too, to get older people and younger people aquainted. We all can learn so much from each other. When I worked, we had a lot of young people on board. It was really refreshing to see the world thru their eyes.

    by Louise — March 28, 2021

  15. My spouse and I are on the precipice of 70, and for the past few years have been toying with the concept of where our “forever” home should be, perhaps we’re too old to build, perhaps we should get a condo with elevator in a safe 55+ community, perhaps a local CCRC that has everything except the graveyard out back. The concept of preparing for the (final) twenty years has really bummed me out. Thankfully breaking the spell, my BIL just retired (at 62) and is building a lovely home on a barrier island in NC. He said if they need or want to move later on, they will.
    Thanks too to Ed and Roland for emphasizing flexibility and adaptability. Keeps your brain young, too. Whew, relieved.

    by Daryl — March 28, 2021

  16. Roland,

    You have a remarkable and wonderful outlook! I love it and completely agree! Well said! Thank you!

    by Barb — March 28, 2021

  17. Louise. Like your Thinking!!

    by BillyBogey — March 28, 2021

  18. BTW, Louise, our 2 local libraries have free computer classes for seniors, even one-on-one sessions for iPads, phones, etc. Maybe they can set something up in your local library. So glad I took classes back when the personal computer took off in the 80’s and kept up with the wave. Applying for COVID vaccine appointments in our state was done (mostly) online leaving many seniors at a loss.

    by Daryl — March 28, 2021

  19. In addition to the local libraries having free computer classes for seniors, as mentioned by Daryl, check out local colleges (after the current situation subsides) for courses (all topics) that seniors can audit for free. Along with exercising our bodies, we need to exercise our brains. Like the saying goes: Use it or lose it.

    For example, years ago I had a retired neighbor (10 years older than me) who ran marathons. Big deal, right? Well, he also had full-blown Parkinson’s. Did that stop him? Heck no. So, I asked him to train my wife and I so we can run a half-marathon in Disney World later that year. We figured if he can run full marathons, what was our excuse for not trying half-marathons. Eight months later, his family, my wife and I, and other friends all went to Disney World to run in a Disney Marathon Weekend. My wife and I ran and finished the half-marathon. So, what did my neighbor with Parkinson’s do. He ran the Goofy Set. He ran the Half on Saturday and then the Full-Marathon on Sunday (Total: 39.3 miles). He did the Marine Corps Marathon several times. He’s not running anymore, but what a man. He is still my HERO.

    So, what is in your 20-year plan? Mind or body or both? “Just do It”

    by Roland — March 28, 2021

  20. Daryl, my town does offer computer help but I guess my point was to integrate teenagers with seniors to not only learn computer and electronic things but maybe the seniors could offer something in return as well. Kind of like friendship, learning, wisdom. I had two sets of grandparents but they all lived in different states so I really never had much exposure to seniors. I also have no children so I have no exposure to children or teens. I do enjoy their enthusiasm and their willingness to learn new things. When I worked, I trained a lot of interns. They were vibrant sponges absorbing everything. At the end of the summer they would go back to college with a new outlook of the working world.

    by Louise — March 29, 2021

  21. Oh and one more thing: Optimism is key to a happier retirement. My dad who is 95, just renewed his AAPR membership — For FIVE YEARS. Now that is having a positive outlook.

    by Roland — March 29, 2021

  22. Great idea, Louise, and I think a great article idea for John’s blog. Wonder where they are doing this around the country? Wonder if any 55+ communities work with local schools to have the generations exchange knowledge? Would help them get to know and appreciate each other as fellow humans with gifts to offer.

    by Daryl — March 29, 2021

  23. I am responding specifically to this statement: “A CCRC is not really needed in this day and age with home medical assistants, Instacart for someone to do your grocery shopping, and other online shopping options.”

    There are many people, myself included, who are single and have no kids. While some of us may want to age at home, others may prefer to be less isolated, living in a situation with others around with whom to interact, people who share some of our interests and experiences, people who like to play cards or have happy hour or whatever. (Many of us will have to give up driving and lose much of the independence we currently have.)

    I feel there are not going to be enough of these kinds of living situations for our aging population, especially ones that the majority of people can afford. A variety of AFFORDABLE options is crucial, in my opinion.

    by Jes — March 30, 2021

  24. Daryl and Louise there is a program like you mentioned called “Seniors helping Seniors”. Pictures are in the newspaper each week in our small town in PA. Not sure if it is national or not, but seniors in high school help Senior Citizens in town every Saturday morning for a few hours at the high school. I think it is just computer and internet related but it is very popular and from what I understand well run, and with friendships formed.

    by Barb — March 30, 2021

  25. I am in a similar situation as Jess—at 65, I am solo at this stage of life and without children despite years of trying. I currently live in my dream home, a manageable size home on a lake on Cape Cod. As long as I can drive and get around, it is my ideal setup. In 20’ish years, though, I want to move into a CCRC for both the camaraderie and the medical support if I need it. I have watched too many people on the Cape cling to their homes despite intense loneliness and isolation. I also watched my parents thrive in a CCRC, taking joy in their neighbors, the activities, and the amenities. It was like the return to summer camp! And when my Dad needed nursing home support and subsequently when my Mom needed assisted living, it was all there and in a familiar place. It was a wonderful experience!

    by Caroline — March 30, 2021

  26. Was trying to figure out why I am having a visceral overreaction to this topic which would not have bothered me in the past, and I think it’s a reaction to the forced imprisonment of the pandemic (necessary, I suppose) and it’s targeting of our age group specifically. I don’t want to think about a dwindling future. I agree with Jes about the comforting, life-affirming community and support provided by CCRCs, but right now I want to run screaming to a spring break beach and dance and drink my heart out. Call it COVID PTSD. I need more daydreams about Latitude Margaritaville.

    by Daryl — March 30, 2021

  27. Jes, I have been following something called the Village to Village Network, a nonprofit which is helping people age in place by helping people get together and help each other. It seems to be catching on in some areas.

    by Shumidog — March 30, 2021

  28. Almost afraid to ask, since I’ve already talked too much, but after watching the revelers in Florida, does anyone else have a raging case of “peninsula envy” this spring?

    by Daryl — March 30, 2021

  29. Daryl, absolutely! I want to get away! But I see the covid blinders all around and frankly don’t know where I would go. Our small region around RTP, NC, seems to be at least semi-aware that the crisis isn’t over, so we continue to wait it out. Things could be a lot worse and we have no desire to seek problems.

    by RichPB — March 30, 2021

  30. Thank you, Jes and Caroline, for expressing those sentiments far better than I could. I want something where I’m not isolated. Even though I hope it’ll be many years before I move from my home, I’m rethinking what aging in place means. I’ve heard, although nothing to back it up, that people regret not moving into CCRCs sooner. If I can move in and age in place there, and many allow pets now, I can avoid isolation and still know I’ll have appropriate care as needed.

    by Tess — March 30, 2021

  31. How much do these CCRC’s cost per year?

    Editor’s Note: They are expensive, but provide a lot of value for the money. According to the CCRC database at myLifeSite– which covers over 500 providers across the country- average entry fees range from approximately $107,277 on the low end to $427,054 on the high end (across a blend of contract types). Average monthly service fees range from $2,089 to $4,154. Sometimes a portion of the entry fee is refundable.

    by Louise — March 31, 2021

  32. Per the Editor’s Note to Louise concerning CCRC costs:

    Let’s say you currently have the funds to “buy in” to a CCRC and you have assets and income to cover 15-20 years of monthly fees. What happens if you outlive your finances and can no longer meet the monthly service fees? Do you have to leave or do they move you to the basement dormitory? (Watch Netflix “Upload.” Science fiction and entertaining thought.)

    Or, what happens if the CCRC goes bankrupt after 5-7 years? Do you buy into another CCRC? Just curious!

    by Roland — March 31, 2021

  33. I hope, if and when the time comes, I will find some other solution than CCRC’s. To me it seems like you are institutionalized away from the world. Like Roland said, what happens if the place you paid all that money goes bankrupt or some corrupt CEO runs off with all the money people invested. If people have $427,000 times 2 for a couple entry fee then $4,000 times 2 for a couple per month, I think they could find better solutions to stay in a condo and have outside help come in a few hours a day to help. Work with your local Senior Center for solutions to stay at home. Meals on wheels, food delivery services, home health aids, rides to the doctor. Putting in stair lifts or even a small elevator in homes is normal today. Handrails where needed. Renovate bathrooms with handicap accessible tubs, toilets, sinks.

    by Louise — April 1, 2021

  34. The Episcopal Church runs some of the best retirement communities I have ever seen. I first encountered one during my Geriatric training in nursing school and then again as a medical software trainer. The great thing is that they NEVER move a patient from their apartment to a lesser one and they do not evict a resident who runs out of money. These communities can be more expensive but they do offer a lot of good quality amenities. The Episcopal Church has a fund for the express purpose of funding the lives of those who have run out of funds in their retirement communities. Goodwin House in Arlington, Virginia is one and my favorite one is a very large property called Fairhaven in rural Maryland that looks like an English village as it is situated in the rollings hills with a lovely chapel in northern Maryland, less than 30 minutes from Baltimore. I was really impressed. I am an Episcopalian myself but these lovely communities are out of my financial reach.

    by Jennifer — April 1, 2021

  35. For those of you who are expressing disdain for CCRC’s, it may alter your perception with this gentle reminder that for many (and perhaps most), this choice is often the best out of what is available. I don’t know this for a fact, but given how women outlive men, I am assuming that most CCRC’s are filled with well-heeled widows or single women, in their 80’s and 90’s, who want to live out their few remaining years within a secure and comfortable community. In truth, most are probably grateful that they can afford to be there, because the alternative might be living a solitary life with a weekly visit or telephone call from their children, a paid ‘visiting angel’, and a life alert button to press in case of emergency.

    by Alice — April 1, 2021

  36. For all the “what ifs” out there – each CCRC is different and run differently so you have to do your homework and ask a lot of questions before you write the check. Where my father was, had a general fund that was there to help residents if they ran into financial trouble. The residents contribute to that voluntarily. The community also ran into financial difficulties at one time, and the resident’s board helped the owners work it out – with their knowledge, not with their $$.

    As for selling or going bankrupt – that kind of thing can happen anywhere at any time. What about all those golf course communities? If you are comfortable there and it appears maintained and well kept – don’t go looking for problems that don’t exist. You can certainly research their financial records and reputation if its a public company. Moving into a house or apartment comes with similar risks. It is still our future plan.

    by HEF — April 1, 2021

  37. Good Kiplinger article attached about the “risks and rewards of moving to a CCRC.”
    We had some people in our Silver Sneakers class from the CCRC next door and they loved it there and had no complaints. The price was way out of our range, however.

    by Daryl — April 1, 2021

  38. We have to realistic about this. Whether you are for or against CCRCs, really have very little to do with one’s opinion. It’s the overall situation and availability. Being a numbers person, let’s look at the availability of CCRCs in the US.

    As mentioned above, there are over 500 CCRCs in the US. Let’s make it a 1,000 for this example. And let’s say that each can have 1,000 people (that’s a lot) per CCRC. That’s 1,000,000 people that can be cared for in the CCRC system.

    Now, let’s look at the population of senior citizens who are part of the Baby Boomers only. We started out with 76 million; now there are about 70 million (numbers used are approximate). Let’s say that half pass away before 85. That leaves 35 million. If only 1,000,000 have the finances to live in a CCRC, what are the other 34 million going to do? When you consider the dire situation with a large portion of Baby Boomers with their finance, retirement (if they have one) and Social Security, well, you can see where this is going.

    So, if you are not part of the one million “well-heeled” (single/married male or female), what is your Plan B, C, & D?

    by Roland — April 1, 2021

  39. After this past year, when I haven’t felt less in charge of my life since grade school, with a pandemic that has targeted our generation, worldwide governments who have bungled a response, economic devastation, some in the younger generation laughingly calling it the “Boomer remover,” and vaccines we don’t know the long term effects of, I’m kind of living in the “now.” I fear that plan B, C, and D might just be decided for us. I told my daughter years ago that I never want to go to a nursing home after 5 years of ushering my parents through that process. She said don’t worry, we’ll move to Oregon and I’ll just shoot you in the backyard one day. Not quite sure why she can’t just shoot me here in PA, but you can bet I’ll be paying close attention to my plane tickets once we can travel again…

    by Daryl — April 1, 2021

  40. Well Roland, the way I see it all elderly living situations fall into one of these 3 categories. 1. You can age in place and hire help as needed. 2. You can live with one of your kids. For example, my husband shared his teenage bedroom with one grandfather, then the other, looked after by his mother. 3. You can live in some type of communal setting tailored to the elderly. Where you end up largely depends on your personality, your finances and your health. Personally, I’m going into a CCRC and we have planned accordingly. But my husband, who is more independent and in better health, plans to age in place living in our current house, which is in an active adult community. I can’t think of any other options but I’m sure someone else can add to my list.

    by Alice — April 2, 2021

  41. To Louise and others, A CCRC is NOT a prison! Many folks that moved in after my father, were still working. A woman, I know there, hosted weekly needlework classes for her area chapter of the Embroidery Guild. People came and went all the time. What I like, is the convenience of so many things under one roof when the weather is bad or you need immediate assistance. We will stay in our house as long as we can but at some point, we are trying to plan ahead.

    What I do not understand is the cottage communities that so many CCRCs seem to think people want. Why would I buy a house and pay high fees when I already have a house now? If you want to use the dining room, you have to get in your car or walk to get there – in all kinds of weather – again, why? We will be looking for more convenience than that! Again, under one roof makes it easier for us in the long run.

    by HEF — April 2, 2021

  42. We make plans, and God laughs! At our age, consider yourselves very lucky if you haven’t learned that by now. Is it wild eyed optimism or just hubris for a 70 year old to make a 20 year plan? I have had the rug pulled out from under me way too many times to make plans for the next 20 years.

    by Maimi — April 2, 2021

  43. Maimi,. When I was much younger I encountered a very bad time in my life and needed the help of a psychologist to learn to manage it — help that stood me well at later tough patches. At the conclusion of my time with her, I thanked her for giving me back my dreams. That’s what thinking 20 years forward is all about — dreams.

    by RichPB — April 2, 2021

  44. I can’t believe I agree with everything everyone has said, but whatever makes you feel content, secure and hopeful right now might be the way to think, since anything can happen in the future, none of it except the final destination a guarantee. If you have the money and planning for a CCRC provides you with a sense of security, great. If it makes you feel better to think of aging in place in your home, that might motivate you to stay in better shape mentally and physically until the inevitable happens and your plans change again.

    by Daryl — April 2, 2021

  45. (I meant I DO agree with what everyone else has said, everybody seemed to have a valid point.)

    by Daryl — April 2, 2021

  46. Daryl mentioned a visceral reaction to this topic. Same here.
    And Jes, you really brought up some good points. I’m 71, single, no family to speak of, minimal home equity and not much money saved. Doing fine now because I’m still working (and glad to be) and still doing most of the things i love. But once that changes it’ll pretty much be SS and medicare only. A CCRC isn’t an option. I wonder what will be… Planning ahead is always a good idea, but imagining things that will never be because of financial constraints isn’t planning.
    Regarding CCRC’s, my parents went that route. It worked for them and they were happy. But in all the years of visiting them I found the place very depressing.
    Of course we are all different, but don’t decide on any future approach without a thorough test drive.

    by Tim — April 2, 2021

  47. I don’t think I’ve seen memory care mentioned. Living with a family member isn’t an option for me. Even it it was, if I had Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, I don’t think I’d want to ask that of family member. I realize for some it may be the only option. Memory care is something I’ll consider in my search.

    by Tess — April 2, 2021

  48. If one goes through life “without” having some sort of a goal, a vision and/or a plan, don’t worry, you will get there!

    You have a choice in life: You can either make things happen in your life and in the lives of people you care for, or, you can just let things happen.

    JFK (1/21/1961 – Inaugural Address): “… here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

    by Roland — April 2, 2021

  49. Tim, one suggestion for you. My area has a well organized Senior Services Center. One thing they offer is matching seniors with other seniors who may want to take someone else into their home. I have thought of that because I have a big 4 bdrm home, multiple bathrooms, etc. Of course, it would take a few meetings to see if both parties are compatible but it is a way of decreasing expenses for both parties. I don’t have children to rely on and having the company would be nice.

    by Sharon L Alexander — April 2, 2021

  50. Thanks for all the information about a topic I have avoided but found myself reading all these comments and looking into CCRCs. I am confused about something though, can you go into one when you decide assisted living may be best, or do you have to go into one as an independent active adult all heathy and such ?

    by Goldie — April 3, 2021

  51. Goldie,
    The CCRCs we have checked require a look at your medical records before they approve your admittance AND the one we are considering has a maximum entry age of 78. I believe the medical records check is that they won’t admit someone who needs round the clock care but are ok with someone who needs assisted living. Obviously because they don’t want to absorb costs for round the clock nursing care from the outset.

    by anne — April 3, 2021

  52. HEF – can you explain this paragraph? I can’t figure out what you mean. “What I do not understand is the cottage communities that so many CCRCs seem to think people want. Why would I buy a house and pay high fees when I already have a house now? If you want to use the dining room, you have to get in your car or walk to get there – in all kinds of weather – again, why? We will be looking for more convenience than that! Again, under one roof makes it easier for us in the long run.” Thanks.

    by Jes — April 3, 2021

  53. A couple of comments here I would like to answer as I have been through this search for my mother and then my aunt-two different states. My mother did end up in a “Caring Cottage” owned by a CCRC which at that time was a relatively new concept. It was not on the campus of the CCRC but a ranch house nearby in which 3 residents could live. There was a full time aide-3 different shifts- and for residents at any level of care who didn’t have the desire to attend all the activities offered on campus, but wanted to be in a house with a kitchen with meals served in a nice atmosphere, and their own bedroom just a few steps away. It had a lovely yard and screened in patio and It did work out well for the couple of years she was there as an assisted living resident, but she eventually got too nervous over the turn-over of the staff, seemed every week was someone new, it was a hard job and the aides did not stay long. So she moved to a small assisted living complex where she felt more secure and enjoyed more companionship.
    This situation is not what Sharon is talking about with seniors living together with no live in help- and I think on paper that sounds great, but a couple of things with the house my mother lived in was a TV issue and how very loud it was and we couldn’t hear one another when i visited and the residents never could agree on the same program. But our big problem was the family members of the other residents that would stop in often which was great and very important for socialization, but instead of bringing food, they would help themselves to whatever was in the refrigerator, freezer, or the cookie jar and we couldn’t keep up with feeding them all. My mother would call and say the extra groceries I brought as special treats were gone within a day or two. So there has to be a lot of things considered before you take on a house-mate. Not sure what I will do but want to make a decision before my son makes it for me!

    by Darla — April 3, 2021

  54. You do learn about the different levels of care up close and personal when you go through the process by helping a parent or other older adult enter into a facility. One of the hundreds of things I did not know, but a very important one is that Assisted Living means different things to different facilities and criteria is not the same in every state as to what it takes to be called Assisted Living. I like the idea of a community that offers just Independent Living and Assisted Living but then what happens if I need skilled care, a lot to consider and I think this is where I need to invest in an Elder Care Attorney,

    by Alex — April 3, 2021

  55. The Retirement Plan article got me thinking about my own situation. I live in a great place for medical care, but I do need a vehicle to go places. My house needs some work that I cannot do, but it’s worth it to fix it up as it was remodeled to work for my 96-year old aunt, and then my 92-year old dad. It does need some minor fixes (doorknobs) and some maintenance work, but overall it will be a good place for me to be in my 80s and – I hope – my 90s. My family tends to live long on both sides. I had two aunts on my mother’s side who lived to be over 100, plus all the 90s relatives in my dad’s side. I hope I profit from their genes passed on to me, plus my healthy lifestyle.

    by Elaine C — April 4, 2021

  56. Anne, you are correct. Most CCRC with various levels of care definitely likes to admit people while they are still relatively independent and from there they may use the services as needed. I remember a pastor’s wife of a large National Presbyterian Church rushing to get into a church community of the same denomination because she knew her memory was failing. The community would have barred her if she had gotten much worse. After her admission, she soon needed assisted living and then memory care a few years later. She was a lovely person with a sweet personality which also helped. Many people need to remember that these communities can deny admittance to people or families that they deem difficult, even if they have the money to pay.

    My own grandmother entered into an independent retirement community run by the Mennonites. Admission was based on a sliding scale of income, clean and beautifully landscaped. The food was award-winning. She loved her apartment and lived in it for seven years in her mid-eighties. She still had a car and could come and go as she liked. When she was in her 90’s she had a stroke and was moved to assisted living and finally to Memory Care where she died just four months shy of her 100th birthday in 2011. She had appointed a trustee from her bank to administer her estate as my Aunt and my Father were not willing to do so. Lots of details to consider.

    by Jennifer — April 4, 2021

  57. JES – I’m sorry if it was confusing. A lot of the CCR Communities around here have a main building of “condo” or apartment style living, administrative offices, activity rooms, medical, theater, shops and dining.

    Then they also have acres of individual homes. The homes do NOT come with aides or care – just regular homes, usually on concrete slabs, with garages and lofts and are expensive! I do not understand the draw there. We already own a house we can afford and have plenty of things to do. Why would I give that up to live in an expensive house on the grounds of a CCRC and pay fees for things we don’t yet need? Besides – if you want to participate in their programs you still have to walk or drive, in all kinds of weather, to get there. whereas the folks that live in the main building have access to all of that under one roof. You may have to walk hallways but at least you’re protected from weather.

    by HEF — April 6, 2021

  58. I am guilty of not following my own advice. We are snowbirds from CT who winter in FL. The idea of eventually retiring to FL full time when travelling back and forth becomes too much is attractive. The winters are warm and at a certain age, if we are lucky to get there, we will be indoors a lot. Unfortunately where we have settled there are two big problems with full time living for a person in his 80s or 90s (even though we love it here). Healthcare is not that good for serious matters; anything big requires being airlifted to Miami. Every few years there will be a big hurricane that requires evacuation. So given those problems, we will have to consider another town in Florida or just remain in CT. The older we get, the harder those decisions get. Moving only once in retirement makes a lot of sense.

    by John Brady — April 8, 2021

  59. Where in Florida are you living now? Don’t understand why you would have to be airlifted to Miami when there are major Medical facilities in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.

    by Richard — April 9, 2021

  60. Richard, as one example, the Keys may be as much as 6 hours from Miami on a really good day. I’ve driven through other parts of FL that might be desirable for retirement, but are not easily accessible.

    by RichPB — April 10, 2021

  61. Coming to this thread nearly a year later because, oddly enough, TR reminders stopped showing up in my inbox about two years ago and I somehow forgot completely about the site. Just yesterday an email magically appeared and jostled my brain. (Happy day!)

    After reading the blog and comments I was surprised that an opinion similar to mine hadn’t already been expressed so here goes:

    I have a very different take on downsizing and future plans than I did in 2019. Seems two years of pandemic restrictions can do that to a person.

    For many years both DH & I had the mindset that when no longer able to easily live independently we’d move to a nice Assisted Living facility. It’d be like living on a cruise ship, we’d say. But now? Now we know what AL living during a pandemic can be. And for that matter, what cruising during a pandemic or illness outbreak can be.

    Friends with parents in AL have described the nightmare of loved ones being fully locked in their rooms for weeks at a time, unable to leave the facility for many months (other than pressing medical appointments). In-person family visits weren’t permitted so outsiders were relegated to making rarely available, short appointments to wave at lonely, crying parents through closed windows, holding up signs and shouting “I love you” at each other. Months and months of this. Heartbreaking for all concerned. I get why this happened so please don’t misunderstand.

    My fear? When this virus is in the books even minor contagious illnesses hitting an AL or the general locale will reintroduce maximum Covid level restrictions. Flu spike in the area? A couple of people in the AL have suspected norovirus or RSV? All residents will be stuck in their rooms with food delivered on paper plates with plastic utensils. Forget bingo, movie night, music trivia, religious services, community outings, every event on the social calendar and high levels of human interaction. No visitors. Residents’ lives will be confined to 300 square feet or less until the administration deems it safe to do otherwise. I can see it now.
    Hard pass, thanks.

    Pre-pandemic I’d really pushed DH to move to a condo or smaller house but he uncharacteristically pushed back. Covid sure proved him right and me wrong.

    For now, hubby and I (both nearing 70) will remain in our one-story overlarge suburban home with in-ground pool. We’ve got plenty of room to breathe without getting on one another’s nerves.

    Sure, we’ll eventually move to something smaller and easier to care for, but we’re wary of what future virus waves might bring. Our children live nearby, are helpful, and we get together frequently. We’re playing it by ear for now and will be for the foreseeable future.

    For the record, I’ve followed all CDC guidelines without resentment or excessive complaining including masking and social distancing throughout, vax and booster as soon as available. I just don’t want to put myself into a far more restrictive situation if I absolutely don’t have to.

    by JCarol — January 17, 2022

  62. This was/is a great thread to reread. The pandemic has changed the way we think of retirement. While I am still breathing, I want to get out of the state I am in but have slowed down the move to accommodate covid concerns. Reading about other people’s experiences with this topic is just the ticket to help open my mind to other options. Thanks to everyone for their thoughtfulness and respect of other situations. The info here is priceless. Please keep it coming!

    by Sally — January 18, 2022

  63. Good Morning. We have lots of Snow that we can easily send to our friends South of the Border!! We even have many heading your way!!
    As I am getting “Up There” I have been thinking about going into an AL Centre, probably, back in Southern Ontario from Windsor Area to Kingston Area. Do have a great partner but, in fairness, Alberta is Her Home.
    Now having said AL is on my Mind, maybe asked to leave shortly after arriving, seems I do not always abide by “The Rules”!! In other words; I need to Shape Up or Ship Out!!
    While I will Shape Up; although some of “The Rules” maybe overstated!! & that concerns me.
    Still that is the viable option as the thought of living on my own is very scary!! So just have to accept & simply Move On & Enjoy The Ride!!

    by BillyBogey — January 18, 2022

  64. While I responded to several posts, I actually failed to answer the real question. Like JCarol, we live in a now oversized house (but in NC, not the frigid northland) which allows “room to breathe” though it does have three levels for the view. We plan to add chair lifts when needed, although I also designed our house so that we can live on one level if required. We have a MIL apartment where my mother lived for 16 years, so that is available for a live-in caregiver. Fortunately, we also have a good long-term care plan. We had the passive solar and well insulated house built 30 years ago so bills are quite low. All this was not accidental but the result of careful long range planning. We are in our mid-70s and expect 20 years from now much will be similar, but we know we must plan for continuing health deterioration. Meanwhile we have friends and family within 1 – 3 hours and can enjoy the sunsets. We are not “wealthy” but recognize how fortunate we are. Hopefully, this can help someone else moving towards 20 years in the future.

    by RichPB — January 19, 2022

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