Monday, July 19, 2010
High-end senior communities with "buy-in" usually presume seniors will live there independently before needing assisted living
The general concept of these upscale facilities is that the senior (more often than not a widowed female) lives in the modern, urban or suburban, high rise or planned community residence (typically in a one or two bedroom apartment if affordable) in a regular “independent living” arrangement, and then can move immediately to assisted living or to nursing care in the same or associated facility if the need arises. Such properties sometimes offer assisted living to non residents without entrance fees, but current residents get first service, and often assisted living units are not available for the “outside”. These properties tend to be very large, and often have origins in faith-based groups and sometimes are run technically as not-for-profit. However one feels about religious denominations, many have been pro-active in building senior residences in a private but non-profit market. Generally one does not need to belong to a particular church to enter a residence, however.
Other variations on this concept is that independent-living units are sold as condos rather than rented with entrance fees. This is sometimes possible even with non-profit groups.
Seniors typically need considerable cash (or investments easily converted to cash, or an easily sold home) to enter.
This kind of arrangement should be distinguished from lower-cost “independent senior apartments offered in many states, where there are income ranges allowed (mostly based on typical social security and pension combinations), but no direct opportunity to find assisted living. These typically are more likely to be found away from major cities and be garden-style complexes.
The opportunity to move into a high-end independent living facility can be particularly useful to seniors is families with fewer children or grandchildren able or inclined to become directly involved in caregiving. The senior has adapted to a community-oriented (rather than single family home) lifestyle before needing more help, and the adult children remain more independent (or the extended family) and take care of themselves, since, while more money has been spent, help is provided in an efficient manner in the community. Emotional, psychological and ethical controversy surrounding notions about the extended family unit go away. But of course the senior needs to have the money in the first place, a proposition that becomes more difficult in these sorts of economic times. That makes lifelong financial planning even more critical.
Some high-end facilities are reported to offer the ability to turn over the deed to a house in lieu of or as part of entrance fee, which could mean that adult children living there would have to leave or pay rent.
One term used for such communities is CCRC, Continuing Care Retirement Community.
Picture: Goodwin House, Falls Church, VA