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Understanding Life Care Contracts

life care contracts

As you’re doing your research and getting to know more about retirement living, you’ve probably come across the term “life care.” While it seems self-explanatory, it’s smart to understand exactly what the term means and how it applies to signing a contract with a retirement community.

You’ll often find the term “life care” when considering a continuing care community. Life care is an option that is actually a classification of continuing care. Think of this type of plan as a way to protect yourself from rising assisted living or nursing home costs.

With a life care contract, you receive the same continuum of care as a resident for life, no matter what your medical status is. This means you can move between independent living, assisted living and nursing care, based on your health condition and needs. Life care communities today offer all health care services on the same campus. And it allows you to stay in familiar surroundings with friends and caregivers. Life care also includes care even in your financial status should change. So, even if you’re unable to pay your monthly fees, you’ll be taken care of.

If you’re considering a life care contract, make sure to ask about these details:

Monthly fees — At Lakewood Manor, a life care contract means you pay the same monthly fees regardless of care or status. However, not all life care contracts are created equal and you should understand exactly what they include. Ask for a printed list.
Increases — Are there any circumstances where you would face an increase in your monthly fee? Some contracts may have an annual “cost of living” increase, so it’s best to know up front.
Meals — Ask which meals are included and how many meals per week you receive with a life care contract. Some communities may change the number of meals depending on which services you need.
Medical costs — Will every medical cost be covered? Or will you be responsible for things like prescriptions and services like physical therapy?
Refunds — If you or a family member decides that moving to a different community is necessary, find out what sort of refund from your life care contract you can expect.

Sources:
http://www.calccrc.ca.gov/PG1767.htm
http://www.caring.com/articles/life-care-contracts-continuing-care-contracts
http://www.lakewoodmanor.org/value/pricing-options/contract-options

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