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Understanding your senior living options.

Understanding your senior living options

If you’re considering your senior living options, it doesn’t take long to realize there are a lot of retirement community choices in the Toms River, Lakewood and Ocean County area: condos, rental communities, 55+ living communities and three different types of Life Plan Communities, also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Each of them will impact your finances, lifestyle and family differently. Making sure you pick the right choice can start to feel overwhelming.

That’s where Kevin Fletcher, Harrogate’s Director of Sales and Marketing, and his team of Life Care Consultants come in. They’ve helped hundreds of people just like you find the option that best fits their lifestyle and budget.

To get you started, here are some of Kevin’s pros and cons for the most common lifestyle options:

Staying in Your Home

  • Your home may be paid off, so your costs are lower.
  • You’re close to friends in a familiar neighborhood.


  • You’re responsible for interior and exterior maintenance, home updates and property taxes.
  • To make your home more livable and safe as you age, you may need to make expensive modifications like widening doorways and hallways and installing grab handles, ramps and lever-style doorknobs.
  • In the event of a health crisis, couples could be split between their home and a health care center. Or you both might have to move.

Move in with Your Children

  • You’ll have reduced expenses and less responsibility for interior and exterior home maintenance.
  • You can spend more time with kids and grandkids.


  • You may have less privacy than you’re used to having.
  • Such a move could increase dependency on your family.
  • In the event of a health crisis, couples could be split between their home and a health care center. Or you both might have to move.

Downsize to a Condo

  • It’s a great way to downsize while continuing homeownership.
  • You can free yourself from most outside maintenance.


  • A condo may come with a maintenance fee to cover the costs of upkeep for your home, lawn and community areas.
  • You’re responsible for interior maintenance and updates.
  • Condos don’t offer socialization and wellness programs.
  • They don’t typically offer access to future health care.

55+ Communities

  • You can maintain homeownership.
  • You’ll live around people of a similar age.
  • Some exterior maintenance, and community services and amenities are provided.


  • You’re responsible for real estate taxes, insurance, interior maintenance, appliances and utilities.
  • No health care is provided.

Rental Communities

  • No entrance fee or long-term commitment.
  • Monthly rent may include standard services and amenities. (Ask the community for details.)


  • Flexible rental agreements, means monthly fee could unexpectedly increase.
  • If they offer access to health care, services are provided at a higher market rate.

Life Plan Communities
There are three Life Plan Community options: Life Care Communities, modified CCRC and fee-for-service. Each of these options may offer a wide variety of services (maintenance, linen service, housekeeping, dining) and amenities (fitness area, pool, classes, clubs and socialization activities) as well as on-site access to care, including assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing.

Life Care Communities

  • Your monthly fee covers a wide variety of services, amenities, wellness programs, dining and health care at a predictable monthly rate.
  • The entrance fee is larger, but a significant portion of that is usually refundable to you or your estate.
  • Health care services are included and provided for a nominal increase in your monthly service fee, so your costs remain predictable for life.


  • You could pay for care you don’t end up needing. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of seniors 65 or older will need some type of long-term care. (That’s nearly 3 in 4 seniors.) And the average stay is over 2 years.

Modified CCRC

  • May have a lower entrance fee than a Life Care Community.
  • Monthly fee includes standard services and amenities. (Ask the community for details.)
  • Health services are provided at below market rate, but only for a set number of days.


  • Only a set number of days in rehab, skilled nursing or assisted living are included in your monthly fee.
  • If you use up your allotted days, you are charged market rates for health care.

Fee-for-service Communities

  • This community type usually has the lowest entrance fee and monthly fees.
  • Fees cover a wide variety of resident services and amenities.
  • You only pay for the health care services you need.


  • You only pay for the health care services you use, but they are provided at a regular market rate.

All things being equal, you would probably rather stay in your home. You might be one of the 1 in 4 who doesn’t need long-term care — but what about your spouse? Life Care ensures all your health care needs will be provided at the same predictable rate, giving you a smart plan with peace of mind and financial security.

For more help, get our Mapping Out Your Future, A Helpful How-To-Get-Started Retirement Living Guide.

If you’re searching for senior housing options for a loved one, check here for more useful information.