Dr. Carolyn McClanahan, both a medical doctor and CFP, admits she is a minimalist when it comes to seeking medical care. And when it comes to long-term care, she has a unique vision of how and where she would like to receive assistance as she ages.
Rather than an expensive nursing home or assisted living facility, Dr. McClanahan and her husband, along with some of their close friends, are hatching plans to build a compound with a central courtyard and common living space surrounded by individual apartments, including one for a live-in nurse or health aide.
“We plan to pool our money and share our cost of care, living the way we want without having to abide by the rules of an assisted living facility,” she told attendees at the Seventh Annual InvestmentNews Retirement Income Summit in Chicago on Monday.
“It sounds like the Golden Girls reality show,” her fellow presenter, Paul Fronstin, Director of Health Research and Education for the Employee Benefit Research Institute quipped.
Mr. Fronstin cited statistics about the projected cost of care for future retirees, the decline in employer-provided retiree health insurance and the fact that Medicare pay only about 60% of retiree health care costs, with individuals covering the rest through supplemental Medigap insurance and out-of-pocket spending.
Dr. McClanahan said that continued growth in health care costs in unsustainable and Americans will have to adapt, finding ways to reduce their healthcare expenses, possibly by seeking less medical care or deciding upon a terminal diagnosis that they'd rather check into hospice rather than travelling to the ends of the earth to find a cure.
And that's when she offered her personal view of aging in place in a community of her own design on her own terms.
I have to say, I like her idea of a personal approach to long-term care. In fact, my long-time friends from high school and I have often joked of moving in together as we grow older, preferably in a place by the sea. Of course, we didn't include a nurse in the vision. We were thinking more along the lines of a cabana boy to deliver cold drinks with colorful umbrellas. But he could probably deliver our pills and take our blood pressure, too!