The first thing most people ask when looking for a senior living community is, “What will it cost?” This is a very important question, but one that goes deeper than just a dollar amount. While the cost is important, value must be a consideration also. PineCrest is a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC. This means that there is a refundable entrance fee associated with moving into the community in Independent Living, this entry fee turns into a valuable asset as one ages. PineCrest is also a not-for-profit organization. This adds a level of value that does not easily translate into a dollar amount. Another thing to consider when thinking of the costs and value of senior living communities is the true costs of staying in your home.
How is an entry fee a valuable asset in a Senior Living Community?
“An entry fee means that you are bringing a lump sum down and you will get most of that refunded to you or it will go back to your estate,” said Jill Janes, VP of Sales and Marketing for Methodist Retirement Communities (MRC). “Why would you do that? One reason you would do that is because that up-front investment by all residents helps us to keep your costs lower.” With this investment by residents, we at PineCrest are able to keep yearly rate increases at some of the lowest in the industry.
You may feel that by selling your house and coming into a senior living community you will not be leaving anything to your family. That is not true! Another great thing about an entry fee, the refund of the entry fee goes directly to your estate or family. This means that instead of being left with a house (that they will have to deal with), they will simply get a check and less stress.
How does being non-profit add value for you?
- “Being non-profit does not mean that PineCrest does not make money,” explained Janes. “It means that when PineCrest makes money, that money goes right back into PineCrest.” This means there are better maintained buildings, better wages and training for employees resulting in tenured, experienced staff, better programming, better technology. Most importantly it means that the residents are prioritized first. In for-profit organizations, the main priority is shareholders. The bottom line in a non-profit is not an annual profit/loss statement, it’s resident satisfaction.
- Value is added by the security that ownership of the community will remain constant. In the for-profit realm in senior living there is a growth model known as “the five-year flip.” The name of a community may not change, but ownership will likely change about every 5 years. PineCrest is dedicated to our community. MRC opened PineCrest in Lufkin in 1992 and has been providing exceptional senior living ever since.
- PineCrest is governed by a volunteer board of trustees. This means that those who oversee the operations of the community do not do so for a paycheck. They believe in the mission and are passionate about what the organization does for its residents. Because PineCrest is overseen by a board of trustees, our leadership may have more autonomy to make decisions that are in the best interest of residents than the leadership of local competitors that are part of a private equity chain.
- We are faith based and mission driven. We do more than just take care of our residents physically, we also want to make sure their soul, their spirit is in good health as well.
And finally, when considering the cost of senior living, you need to consider the cost of staying home. You may not have a mortgage for the home you own, but you need to consider “the invisible mortgage”: all the costs that go along with home ownership. Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself when evaluating the cost of staying home.
- What are the ongoing costs in my home? Insurance, property taxes, property maintenance and improvements. Costs include utilities, landscaping, cleaning services, the occasional new hot water heater, faucets and fixtures, air conditioner, new appliances, a new roof and the list goes on and on.
- Will I need to make modifications to my home? If you plan to age in place, you will need to consider the cost of modifications your home may need to keep you and/or your loved one as safe as possible. These costs can range from small changes like throwing away rugs to large changes that include remodeling entry ways, bathrooms, and installing lifts or ramps. How long will these modifications allow you or your senior loved one to remain safely in the home? Is this a viable short-term answer, or do you expect this plan to work for years to come?
- What will the cost of in home care services be? Another cost to consider when thinking about aging in place is the possibility of eventually needing in home care services. These numbers will vary depending on the area you are in, but they can add up quickly. You will also need to consider the cost of at home monitoring services that can alert health professionals when you have a need. Ask yourself, how financially feasible is the cost of paying for in-home care when compared with moving to a senior living community?
- An important question to ask when considering the cost of staying home, can the family caregiver (and their spouse and children) handle the physical, financial and emotional toll this will cause?
Remember when you decide to make your home at a senior living community, the homeownership costs for taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs and more are all covered by your monthly service fee. The community even has people who will come replace appliances when they break down at no additional cost to you (neither the cost of the appliance nor the cost of the man hours to replace). Your monthly service fee also covers things such as a meal plan, entertainment, a fitness center, scheduled transportation and so much more!
Before you decide that it is more cost effective to remain at home instead of moving into a senior living community, look closely at the value of the senior living community. While the up-front cost of the entry fee may look daunting at first, be sure to consider how it can help in the long run. Look into the value that a not-for-profit organization can provide you. And lastly, be sure to calculate your homeownership costs and estimate what care will add to your monthly expenses, before you decide that aging in place at home is a cheaper alternative. Find out the costs of living in a senior living community before concluding it is too expensive.
Below is a Cost Compare Sheet for your use. Put pen to paper and see what value there can be living with us at PineCrest. When you are done, give us a call for a tour and for the opportunity to sit down and discuss that value in depth. Call Vallie Cross at 936-633-1108 today.
Cost Comparison Worksheet