Older woman at computer comparing documents about rental vs. Life Care communities.

Checklist for Comparing Life Care vs. Rental Senior Living Communities

There are over 50,000 senior living communities in the United States, offering a diverse array of amenities, services and financial terms and contracts. What’s the best way to determine which is right for you? 

While there will be many factors that impact your decision, your lifestyle preferences and financial situation are paramount. One of the first financial decisions you may encounter during your search is whether to choose a Life Care community or a rental senior living community. 

Each of these types of housing offer unique benefits, and while they may seem similar at first, over the long term the differences really add up. 

Comparing Life Care and Rental Communities

Typically, the biggest differences between a Life Care and rental community have to do with financial investments, and whether one wants to make a flexible or long-term retirement plan. 

At a rental community, seniors typically pay a month-to-month fee that is inclusive of a limited number of services and amenities on-site. However, the cost for healthcare is not included in these fees. That means that if your health care needs ever change, for instance from living independently to needing assisted living services, you will pay market rates for this care on top of your monthly fee. 

Life Care communities, by contrast, charge an upfront entrance fee and monthly fee. In return, should your healthcare needs ever change, your monthly fee will still remain predictable. So if you need to move from living independently to needing assisted living services, those services are typically provided without changing your monthly rate. This is a good long-term option for those who want to plan for their future healthcare needs today. 

While rental communities may be a popular option for those seeking a flexible housing solution, Life Care communities are becoming increasingly popular for seniors who understand the significance and increasing costs of healthcare. In fact, 70% of older adults will require long-term support and services in their lifetimes, and Medicare does not generally cover long-term care.  

Life Care vs. Rental Community Checklist 

As you evaluate specific Life Care and rental communities, here are some questions you should ask at each to compare the value they offer:

  • Is the location convenient to the people and places you visit most often? 
  • Does the community provide amenities that are important to you? Be sure to make a list of must-have amenities. 
  • Are there any other on-site conveniences such as a salon, fitness center, dining venues, or spa?
  • Is a continuum of care offered so you can age in place? 
  • If a continuum of care is offered, what is the additional fee for those services should you ever need them? 
  • Is there an entrance fee? How much is it?
  • What are the monthly fees? What do they include? 
  • Ask for a sample lease or contract. What are the terms and conditions for your contract or lease?
  • Is there reserved parking for residents? What kind of transportation is available? How often does it run?
  • What happens when residents run out of money or encounter financial difficulties? Will they be forced to move out?  
  • What social activities are available to residents? Make a list of activities that are important to you, like woodworking, gardening, or other social clubs. 
  • Do residents look happy there? Ask if you can speak to residents currently living in the community. 
  • When was the community built? Will the community be seeking payment from residents for upgrades and future renovations? 
  • What kind of safety and security features does the community have? 
  • If you partook of a meal on-site, record your thoughts on the menu choices, presentation,  and taste and quality of the food. Is this somewhere you could see yourself dining often? 

Explore Life Care Options at The Stayton

The Stayton is a sophisticated Life Care community located in the heart of Fort Worth’s esteemed West 7th Cultural District. Residents enjoy high-rise living with amenities such as a fitness center and indoor pool paired with easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment options. Best of all, residents here have the stability of knowing that should their health care needs change, they need never change their address. With our Life Care option, all residents have priority access to assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation

Come and explore our community for yourself. Take in the views from our 11th-story Skyline Lounge or attend a guest appearance from one of our partners at the Fort Worth Opera or Kimbell Art Museum.