The Perfect Home

The Perfect Home

Friday, March 1, 2019

Retirement Expert shares advice for selecting a Life Plan Community

Life is full of choices, but in retirement, virtually everybody has two options: stay in their own home or move into a retirement community, according to Brad Breeding.

The Summit recently hosted Brad for a seminar on retirement living options for a three-part series. The series also covered real estate decisions and downsizing tips.

After spending 13 years as a financial advisor, Brad started myLifeSite, a company that develops web- based tools and resources designed to help retirees and their advisors make better-informed decisions when considering a Life Plan Community.

Brad’s extensive knowledge of the senior living industry, combined with his financial planning background, allows him to provide valuable insights about lifestyle, healthcare, and financial planning considerations related to this significant life decision.

Brad, who travels the country speaking on retirement choices, said most people initially want to stay in their homes, but that’s often easier said than done. He encourages each person to research and weigh their options.

When considering a Life Plan Community—like The Summit—Brad stresses six factors: amenities, healthcare, contracts, finances, management and wellness services.

Amenities—“the fun stuff,” as Brad calls them—covers the floor plans, the view, community culture, the services and amenities.

High-quality healthcare is a major concern. “One of the things that give residents peace of mind is knowing that that care is there if they need it, so they want to make sure it’s good, quality care,” Brad said.

Residents should also consider contract types and fee structures and consult with a financial advisor and Life Plan Community staff.

Retiring to a Life Plan Community means moving to a new home and the relationship between management and residents is pivotal. “A community that you really have a strong relationship between the management and the residents, to me, that says a lot about the quality of the organization as a whole,” Brad said.

Preventative wellness is an important aspect. “When you move to a Life Plan Community, you aren’t just moving to a place or a physical structure, you’re moving there to be part of a community and that community should really embody not only the social aspects of wellness, but all the other aspects.”

According to Brad, Life Plan Community residents often live longer than their peers because—in large part—to onsite wellness programs. “The mentality in the industry has gone from a reactive approach to a proactive approach,” he said.

Retirement communities also reduce the risk of social isolation—a growing problem among older adults—by connecting residents through shared meals, events and activities. “People don’t often stop to realize what a negative impact social isolation can have someone’s health. It’s really critical to think about, ‘How will I maintain those daily interactions that are so important for my health?’” Brad said.

The United States has a shortage of caregivers. Many retirees receive support from family members, which often puts an emotional, physical and financial strain on the caregiver. Some will choose paid staff, but the workforce is shrinking. Residents of Life Plan Communities do not have to worry about finding caregivers. “Finding and keeping a good caregiver is a challenge. Someone has to manage that process and, I think, it’s easier in theory than in practice.”

A common fear among retirees is losing a sense of purpose, Brad said. “Within a Life Plan Community, one thing I really hear from residents is it really helps them to live with purpose,” he said. Residents often serve on committees, volunteer and welcome new residents.

For those thinking about the right time to move to a Life Plan Community, Brad encourages them to consider relationships. “The most important reason to live in a Life Plan Community is the relationships between residents. Relationships don’t develop overnight. Relationships take time,” he said.

Retirement is not just the walls, it’s the people, Brad said. “Anybody that is thinking a Life Plan Community is a good decision for them, they need to do it early enough to develop those friendships that are going to be important for them not only today, but in the future. If things should change, they have a support network in the community.”

Interesting in learning more about The Summit, a Life Plan Community? Call Brenda Dixon at 434.582.1500.