10 Questions to ask a CCRC

09/01/17

If you or a loved one is considering a continuing care retirement community, here are ten of the most important questions you should ask:

10. What is the ratio of independent living residences to assisted living and healthcare residences?

Some CCRCs are mainly independent living communities with a proportionately small number of assisted living or skilled care units available. This is particularly concerning for newer communities, where very few residents require care now but may in the future. The question is whether there will be enough availability in the healthcare center for residents requiring care at that time. On the flip side, some CCRCs evolved out of established nursing care facilities that added a few independent living residences. In this case, you may find proportionately more residents requiring care services than living independently. On average independent living residences represent 60-75 percent of the total residential units.

9. How have your monthly rates changed over the last five years?

This is important to ask for two reasons. First, it gives you an indication of what to expect going forward so you can plan accordingly. Second, it could also be an indication of the community’s financial viability. Average fee increases of 3-4 percent per year are not uncommon in the industry. If you find there have been years when the increase has been substantially more, you should find out why. Be sure you ask what the increases have been each year over the past 3-5 years, as opposed to an average. Averages can sometimes hide larger increases in a given year.

8. What services are included in my monthly fee, and what will cost extra?

When a provider shares with you their monthly rates, be sure to find out what types of services are included, and which are extra. In some cases, you could ultimately spend considerably more than the published rate each month. This is particularly important if you are comparing two communities and one operates à la carte, while the other operates under an all-inclusive model. One example of this would be the number of meals per day included in the monthly rate.

7. What is the level of experience of your management team and board of directors?

An experienced management team is vitally important to maintaining high operating standards and diligent financial management. Ask whether the management team has a track record of managing other CCRCs. Also look for a board of directors that is culturally and professionally diverse. The board should have directors with strong backgrounds in healthcare, hospitality, finance, and real estate. You can learn more about LifeSpire’s management team here.

6. What happens if I run out of money and can’t pay fees?

Most CCRCs, particularly not-for-profit providers and even some for-profits, will do everything possible to help residents stay put and receive services if the resident runs out of money due to no fault of their own. In fact, many providers maintain a financial assistance or endowment fund to help with this effort. Yet, there are some CCRCs that will ask you to vacate your residence if you are no longer able to pay. LifeSpire’s VBH Foundation raises funds to help LifeSpire’s life care residents who outlive their financial resources remain in their homes. In 2016, the VBH Foundation provided more than $1.1 million in benevolence to 59 residents across all four LifeSpire communities.

5. How will my monthly rate be impacted if I require assisted living or skilled nursing care?

There are several different types of residency contracts offered by CCRCs. The key with each one is to understand what happens to your monthly fees if you ultimately require assisted living services or skilled nursing care. All other things being equal, there is generally a trade-off between the amount of the entry fee and monthly fees, and the amount you will ultimately pay if you require care services.

4. Does your published rate for healthcare services include a semi-private or private room?

The published rates for a room in the healthcare center may reflect only semi-private rooms. You may be required to pay the difference in cost for a private room. Some providers only offer private rooms.

3. What are the stipulations for receiving a refund (if the community offers refundable entry fees)?

If you are considering a CCRC that offers partially or fully refundable entry fees, ask if your home or apartment within the community has to be resold before the refund will be paid. Is there a maximum time limit whereby the refund will be paid regardless of whether the residential unit has been resold or not? Also, are you or your heirs required to continue paying the monthly fees during that time period?

2. What information can you provide to help assure me that the level of care provided in your healthcare center is of the highest quality?

Although it could be years before you require assisted living or healthcare services, you want to know that when that day comes, you will receive the best care possible. Ask to take a tour of the healthcare center, and closely observe the facilities and the care team. Does the staff seem happy and attentive to residents? Is the facility clean and without odor? Ask about staff turnover ratios. The industry average for skilled nursing centers is around 40 percent. A low turnover rate generally indicates a happy staff, which translates into better care for residents. If the healthcare center is Medicare certified you can also visit Medicare.gov to find information on complaints, deficiencies, staffing, and more. All of LifeSpire’s communities have received either a 4- or 5-star CMS rating.

1. What information can you provide to help assure me that your community is financially positioned to meet its long-term commitment to residents?

In order to fulfill its long-term obligation to residents, a CCRC must maintain a strong financial standing. A financial professional who is well-versed in the financial operations of CCRCs can help you analyze key financial ratios, such as operating margins and debt service coverage, but a few things to look for initially are a willingness by representatives of the community to share their audited financial statements, positive net worth, strong demand (usually indicated by occupancy ratios above 90 percent), well-kept facilities, and an experienced management team. Also consider whether the community is located in a state that regulates CCRCs. If so, the state may have minimum financial requirements that must be met on a year-to-year basis. Read more about LifeSpire’s current financial standing.

Retirement counselors at The Glebe are available to answer all these questions and any others you may have. Contact them today at 540-591-2100.

 

 

 

Content provided by MyLifeSite.com


Tips for Retirement Downsizing

8/21/17

One of the main reasons older adults put off downsizing or moving to a retirement community is the need to deal with all the “stuff” they’ve accumulated over the years. Yet, if done right, the process of downsizing may not be as daunting as you think. It may even be enjoyable — even refreshing. A lot of the physical work can be done by others, so your main role is to categorizeorganize, and direct. Here are six tips to get you started:

Start now

If you are thinking about moving, whether to a retirement community or to a smaller home, now is a good time to start the downsizing process. Don’t wait until you are ready to move. At that point, the process and emotions may be overwhelming, and you will have other things that require your attention. Even if you ultimately choose not to move, your family members will thank you! There will be less stuff for them to deal with one day.

Recognize you can’t keep it all

To know what items you can and should purge, you first need to know which items you absolutely cannot part with. But here’s the key: After you have created the initial list, pare it down even further. This can be a tough exercise, but the reality is that some of the things you think you need to save may not be necessary to keep after all. For example, that sport coat in the closet you’ve held onto for 15 years because you are sure you will wear it again? It’s probably time to part ways. That stack of magazines with holiday recipes dating back 10 years? Those can go, too. Your most cherished recipes will not be hidden in a tall stack of magazines anyway, right?

Prepare yourself: Your kids may not want your stuff

Another popular reason for hanging on to various items is that kids or grandkids will want them. But many people eventually discover that the things they thought would be coveted by their adult children were not so desirable after all. To help sort this out, consider inviting your children over for a day to go through your things and find out what they actually want.

Sort by large and small

Once you know what you want to keep, make a list of big and small items. The big items are anything that will not fit in a regular size moving box, such as a sofa or table. As you consider these items, be sure to think about the dimensions and style of your new home so you will know if they will fit. Many CCRCs have move-in coordinators who can help you with this.

Obviously, it could be tough to list out every single smaller item, but you want to think about your most utilized items first. Consider things like silverware, pictures, kitchenware, books, etc.

Sell, donate, or discard?

Once you’ve decided what items are no longer needed, it is time to decide what to do with them. Create a separate list with three columns: Sell, Donate, and Trash. As you consider what you want to sell, remember that items rarely bring in the amount of cash the owner thinks they will. In some cases it may simply be easier to donate or discard an item than to go to the trouble of trying to sell it.

However, if you feel sure it would be worth the time to try to sell some of your belongings, then you have a number of options. You could try to sell them online with sites like Ebay or Craig’s List. (Please take caution if you use Craigslist or a similar website. If possible, meet the buyer in a public place and take someone with you.) Sometimes a good old-fashioned yard sale could do the job, but you will want to get someone to help you with the set up and break down. Alternately, if you have more than a few valuable items, any number of local companies will be willing to administer an estate sale for you.

Hauling the junk

Finally, after you have gone through the above-mentioned steps, you may be surprised by the amount of left over junk. This would include things that have piled up in a garage or crawlspace over the years, such as old paint cans. Many national companies will come by and haul these things away for you. All you have to do is point to the items you want removed, and they will recycle or trash the items accordingly.

If you are considering moving to The Glebe, our move-in coordinator is happy to help you think through what you might or might not need in your new home. Give our marketing department a call at 540-591-2100 and set up an appointment today!

 

 

Content provided by MyLifeSite.com


Compare us with other CCRCs

Choosing a continuing care retirement community is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, and knowing and comparing your options is an important part of the selection process. “Where you live matters,” a website sponsored by the American Seniors Housing Association, has developed a CCRC visit checklist to help you identify the amenities and services that will best fit your lifestyle in your retirement years. We encourage you to download and print this resource and bring it with you when you visit The Glebe and other CCRCs. We think you’ll find we have everything you need to make your next move your best move!

Schedule an appointment with one of our retirement counselors for a visit today!