Smart Tools for Smart Choices

As you explore your senior living options, you need to have tools and information to help you make the right choice for you. We’ve created some resources to help you make an informed decision about moving to a retirement community.

Understanding Life Care

Longhorn Village is a Life Plan Community (also known as a continuing care retirement community) that offers a Life Care contract. Learn how it works and what the many benefits are to choosing this model.

What’s Holding You Back?

Making the move to a retirement community is a big decision. There’s a lot to think about, so we created this practical guide to help you think through some of the common roadblocks to saying yes.

As you start your senior living discovery, you’ll find there are a lot of terms that can be confusing. These definitions will help you navigate the process like a pro.

Most retirement communities require that residents have reached a given age before moving in. You’ll find 62+ is a common benchmark for Life Plan Communities.

Assisted living communities typically provide services which allow the resident to maintain a degree of independence, while offering a helping hand with the activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming, dressing and taking medications.

Communities often charge a one-time entrance fee. It’s an upfront sum to help cover community operating expenses and pre-pay some of the fees that come with offering access to continuing care for life. It also ensures priority access to all levels of health care, should they be needed.

In an independent living community, residents are capable of living in a residence with or without assistance.

Life Care is a term often used to distinguish communities that offer lifestyles and care for life, with virtually no additional increase to monthly fees, whether a resident is in a residence or a residential health services program including assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing. These types of communities are sometimes referenced as offering Type A or Extensive contracts. By contrast, some Life Plan Communities provide continuing care with a modified or fee-for-service contract, requiring additional fees for living at higher levels of care.

Also known as continuing care retirement communities, Life Plan communities are senior living communities that provide multiple lifestyle options and choices, generally including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.

Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of long-term skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.

The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover specific services and care.

Financed by state and federal governments, Medicaid is the program of medical assistance designed for those unable to afford regular medical service. It is a program designed to fund care in a skilled nursing setting.

A specialized type of elder care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive disorders.

Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and memory care. In most cases, services are planned to help the patient return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient) or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient.

Skilled nursing care facilities, often referred to as nursing homes or health care centers, are licensed health care communities that are inspected and regulated by a state’s Department of Health Services. They offer long- and short-term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues that are often too complicated to be tended to at home.

Quick Links

Learn more about senior living, aging services, financial resources and more.

AARP is a membership organization leading positive social change and delivering value to people age 50 and over through information, advocacy and service.

Administration for Community Living provides home and community-based services to millions of older persons through the programs funded under the Older Americans Act.

Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

Arthritis Foundation provides members with specialist referrals, Arthritis Today magazine and updates on the newest research.

Caregiver.Com offers support and guidance for family and professional caregivers through newsletters, online discussion, Today’s Caregiver magazine, chat rooms and more.

Caring Connections is a national consumer and community engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life, supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

ElderLaw Answers supports seniors, their families and their attorneys in legal issues surrounding aging.

Family Caregiver Alliance addresses the needs of families and friends providing long-term care at home.

Benefits.Gov is the official benefits site of the U.S. Government with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs.

Hospice Foundation of America exists to help those who cope personally or professionally with terminal illness, death and the process of grief and bereavement.

VA.Gov explains U.S. Government Veterans Affairs benefits to assist eligible veterans and dependents with the expense of intermediate or skilled nursing care.