Showing posts with label continuing care retirement communities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label continuing care retirement communities. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Holiday Touch Retirement Living Communities

Recently I wrote a blog post about Continuing Care Retirement Communities ... CCRC's.  These are communities where you can move in and age in place.  In other words, residents typically start out living independently in a private cottage or apartment and eventually get whatever additional assistance or skilled nursing care they may need as they age.  This is a very appealing option to retirees who want to make their own decisions, in advance, about where they will live for the remainder of their life, regardless of the health issues that may arise.  While the median age for people to move into a CCRC is about age 80, people do move into these communities in their 70s and, occasionally, when they are even younger. 

One of the lifestyles that came up repeatedly in my research and sounded very appealing was Holiday Retirement Living by Atria.   As a result, I thought I would write a post that focuses exclusively on this retirement option.  While these are independent living senior apartments and cottages, some of them also have on-site assisted living and memory care facilities and all of them can help you arrange for home health care services to come to your location to give you additional assistance with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, eating or taking your medication, should you need something between independent living and full assisted living.  In addition, since your basic rent includes all your meals, as well as housekeeping and transportation, most people can manage well in their apartments with very little additional help.  Every apartment also has a pull cord or similar devices so residents can easily contact the management in case of an emergency.

Holiday Touch Retirement Living Communities

There are currently about 314 Holiday Communities located around the United States, with additional locations in Canada.  In fact, Holiday is one of the largest provider of independent living units in North America and they have been in existence for 40 years. Here are a few interesting facts about their communities:

Management Teams live in the Communities
Residents have private apartments (or cottages) with a variety of floorplans available
Three meals prepared daily by professional chefs
Meals served restaurant style in a dining room
Weekly housekeeping in your residence
Linen service ... clean sheets and towels are provided
Free washers and dryers in on-site laundry rooms
Community game rooms and TV rooms encourage socializing
Exercise rooms and fitness programs for residents
Scheduled transportation to local businesses
Additional transportation to appointments and other errands
Volunteer opportunities in the community
A full schedule of activities and social events

Pet Friendly policies ... both cats and dogs are welcome
Emergency call systems in every apartment; get help when you need it
Locations in 43 states, as well as Canada
Independent living, assisted living and Alzheimers or Memory care options available in specific communities

Cost of Holiday Retirement Communities

One of the aspects of these communities that particularly appealed to me was the price.  Unlike many other CCRC's, residents of Holiday Retirement Communities do not have to pay the average $250,000+ deposit to buy into the facility and they do not have to make a permanent commitment or sign a long-term lease.

Instead, residents pay a monthly rental fee ranging from about $2100 to $3200 a month (in 2022), depending on where you live, the size of the apartment you select, etc.  This is an all-inclusive price for basic living expenses that includes your apartment, utilities (except for your phone), basic cable, meals, activities and social events.

In later years, if you need it, you may incur additional fees for extra care you need such as home healthcare, assisted living or memory care.  Assisted living and memory care can be provided in select Holiday Communities; other services may be provided by outside home health service providers.

There are no long-term leases.  In addition, if you have long-term care insurance through a private provider or the Veteran's Administration, you may be able to use it to pay for your additional expenses, when they become necessary.  Check with your insurance provider and the specific Holiday Community where you wish to live.

This total care arrangement has made Holiday very attractive to Veterans, with over 12,000 currently living in their communities, out of more than 30,000 total residents.

Holiday Travel Program

Another aspect of these retirement communities that I found appealing is their Travel Program.  At no additional expense, you can spend one week per stay in a guest room at one of the other Holiday communities in the United States or Canada.  Your stay will include all meals and access to all the programs and activities that are available at that site.  You can travel just for fun or in order to spend an occasional week near family members who live in another part of the country.

This means that you can enjoy warmer weather or celebrate special occasions with family members without having to pay for a hotel stay or meals in your temporary location.

If you are currently planning your retirement, check the tabs at the top of this page for more articles about where to retire in the United States or abroad, health issues as we age, financial information and changing family relationships. 

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Retirement Housing for Aging Alone - Are You Prepared for the Future?

Millions of Americans are aging alone, often because they are divorced or widowed.  Others may never have married.  Large numbers of them may not have children, or their children may have their own physical, mental or addiction problems which make them unlikely to be of much help.  Although most of us believe we will be able to take care of ourselves for the rest of our lives, this is not always realistic.  What happens if you are diagnosed with a serious illness or dementia?  Everyone needs to understand their options for aging alone, so they are prepared when the time comes and they need extra help.

Reach Out to Others for Help

The first thing you need to realize is that few people really need to be totally alone, unless they are unwilling to reach out for help.  Organizations such as your church or place of worship, the local senior center, and Meals on Wheels have resources to help you, whether you need permanent or temporary assistance, such as after a surgery. 

If you wish to remain in your own home as long as possible, contact the organizations mentioned above, as well as your nearest state Social Services department, and follow their suggestions.  You may qualify for financial assistance, discounts on your utilities, special telephones for the hearing impaired, free or discounted transportation, Meals on Wheels delivered to your home, and handicapped accessible equipment to make it easier for you to live alone.  For many people, these services make it possible for them to remain in their own home much longer than would otherwise have been possible.

It is likely that there are also businesses in your community which will make it easier to stay in your own home as you age.  Find out if you can get your groceries delivered, your cleaning picked-up, and a maid service to clean for you.  Does your local transportation authority have buses or ride share services which will take you to shopping centers or doctors' appointments?  Are you taking advantage of online banking?  All of these conveniences make it easier to live alone, even when you have trouble getting around on your own.

In addition, set up your own circle of friends and relatives who may be in the same situation.  Create a phone circle so you regularly make phone calls and receive calls from others.  In this way, you can help check on them and they can check on you.  This can bring peace of mind in the event you fall or are injured, knowing someone will check on you and, if you do not respond, they will call a neighbor, relative or the police to do a wellness check.

A friend of mine has a 90 year-old neighbor whom she worries about.  Together they came up with a plan that the 90 year-old would open the blinds in her kitchen window by 10:00 every morning.  When my friend sees the blinds have been opened, she knows her neighbor is OK.  A simple plan such as this one can make it easier to live alone, while knowing that your neighbors are looking out for you.

You can also use technology, such as a Great Call device or similar wearable alarm system, so you can easily reach someone in an emergency.  You simply need to push a call button and the agent who answers can call a neighbor, friend, police or ambulance service for you, depending on the situation. You can even do something as simple as taking the time to make sure you always carry your cell phone around in your pocket.

Finally, pull together a few social circles.  These can be people who get together on a regular basis such as book clubs, quilting clubs, lunch pals, or dinner groups.  Join a bridge group or take a class at a senior center or community college.  Send cards or emails to friends and relatives so you stay in touch.  All these social contacts can enrich your life and help you feel less alone, which is important for both your mental and physical health.

Housing for Those Needing More Care

Once you have exhausted all the programs which have enabled you to live on your own, what should you do when you eventually need more care than is possible for you to get in your own home?  This is when you or a person you trust should plan ahead for the best type of housing for you.  You need to consider the types of care you may need, the activities which interest you, the amount of socialization you think you would enjoy, and how close you want to be to your current community support such as your church, old friends and relatives.

You can start by using a reputable agency to hire a personal caregiver.  This may help you stay in your own home even longer.  However, it is important that a friend or relative checks on the caregiver regularly, to make sure they are giving you appropriate care and not taking advantage of you.

You may also consider moving into an over-55 community where you can live in a separate home of your own and participate in community activities, but have an added layer of security as well as the company of neighbors who are also aging in their own homes. 

Several of my friends have moved into a wide variety of special senior living facilities and wondered why they waited so long.  Modern assisted living communities have parties, cocktail hours, special events, classes, trips, pools, art studios, gyms and more, while providing meals, housekeeping and other types of care.  Once they have gotten settled, most of my friends have loved their new homes!

Personally, I am currently living in an over-55 independent living active adult community.  I have plans to move in the next couple of years into senior apartments which include dinner, lunch and housekeeping, but no nursing care.  In the event this is not enough care, I also have long-term care insurance so I can move into assisted living or a memory care facility when I get really old!  However, I'm not in a hurry for that to happen and, perhaps, it never will. 

There are a number of senior housing choices available:

Independent Living Apartments:  These are ideal for people who want the security and simplicity of living in a senior community, but do not need any assistance with daily living needs.  In some of these communities, you prepare your own meals and do your own grocery shopping.  In others, your meals are provided.  Some locations have a hybrid system in which dinner and, perhaps, lunch are provided, but you are on your own for breakfast.  You should check out a variety of communities until you find one which seems right for you.  If you are financially limited, many cities provide senior apartments which can be rented on a sliding scale, depending on your income.  You may need to go on a waiting list, so sign up as soon as you begin to think this is something you would like to do. 

Assisted Living Residences:  These are ideal for people who do not need medical care but who might need assistance with the normal activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, dressing, using the bathroom, walking or transitioning back and forth from a bed to wheelchair.  They usually provide meals, housekeeping, transportation, medication management, and fun, interesting activities.  The cost can range from about $4,000 to $10,000 a month, depending on the amount of help you need, the size of your room or apartment, and the area where you live.  Long-term care insurance may help with the expense.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities or a CCRC:  These are sometimes called life care communities and it is something you may want to investigate years before you expect to need one.  In this way, you will have a say in where you may end up living.  A CCRC is composed of senior apartments and cottages which have a tiered approach.  You start out living in an independent living unit.  Then, as the need arises, you may be moved to a skilled nursing or memory care facility in the same community, so you can get the assistance you need while still maintaining your connections.  Most of these communities require that you are able to function on your own in an independent living unit when you first move in, so it is important you plan ahead.

A few CCRCs are rentals and some allow you to use your long-term care policy to cover the cost, which can vary depending on the amount of care you will need.

However, most CCRCs require you to buy into the community and they will not accept a long-term care policy.  The "buy-in" can range from $100,000 to $1 million, with the money often coming from the sale of your home.  In addition, the monthly fees can range from $3,000 to $5,000 per person.  There are different types of contracts available including unlimited life care, modified life care with limits, and fee for service, with the responsibility for expensive long-term care lying with the resident, not the facility.  Before you choose a CCRC, you will want to visit all the ones in the area where you plan to live and compare whether they are rentals or the type where you pay an entrance fee, the monthly cost, potential extra fees, as well as what type of contract you will have.  It can be complicated to compare them, so you want to investigate your choices thoroughly while you are still in good health and of sound mind.  The benefit of a CCRC is that you can settle comfortably into one and, if you have planned well, you will never have to move again.  They will take care of you for the remainder of your life.  This brings a great deal of peace-of-mind to many people.

Board and Care Homes:  If you are looking for a comfortable, homey setting which is less expensive than most assisted living residences and CCRCs, then you may want to investigate your choices in board and care homes.  They are private homes which have been converted to small senior living facilities with professional staff.  They do not feel as institutional as other facilities and they can feel safer and more supportive than trying to remain alone in your own home.  You will be living with a small group of other people and have a staff to make your life more comfortable. 

Nursing Homes:  Also known as skilled nursing facilities, they will care for you and provide around-the-clock medical care.  Some of them are also rehabilitation facilities and you may stay in one temporarily while you recuperate from surgery, such as a hip replacement.  They have a higher level of care than an assisted living facility or a Board and Care home.  If you pay for a nursing home out-of-pocket, it can average $82,000 a year or more to stay in a semi-private room, according to a 2016 National Nursing Home Survey.  However, your costs may be covered by a long-term care policy or, in some cases, Medicaid.  You should investigate your financial options as soon as you move into one, before any Medicare or health insurance benefits expire.

Plan Ahead for Late In Life Care

If you expect to age alone, it is smart to start early to investigate your various options for receiving appropriate medical care should you have surgery or become seriously ill.  If you are fortunate, you may discover you never need to use the most expensive, comprehensive care, such as a nursing home.  However, if you do have a need for this advanced care, even temporarily, it is smart to know your options and consider how you will pay for it.  Put your choices in writing and give the information to one or two trusted family members or friends, so you are sure your wishes will be honored, should you not be able to speak for yourself.

Whether you age in your own home or move into some type of senior housing, you should make sure you have a will and trust, your finances are in order, and everything is as organized as possible.  Make certain you have a trustee who can handle everything for you, should you become unable to handle things yourself.

While you are at it, you may also want to consider discussing your healthcare wishes with your doctor and putting them in writing, too.  A Living Will or Healthcare Directive is another way to make sure your wishes will be honored during the last few years of your life.

In you are interested in learning more about aging, common medical problems, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Choosing a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One retirement option that is appealing to more and more retirees as they age is the concept of moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community.   These are a great choice for people who wish to move only once after they retire and stay in the same place for the rest of their life, without the stress of worrying about ever having to move again.

There are approximately 1,900 CCRC's in the United States.  The most popular states for them are Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Iowa and North Carolina.

Cost of Moving to a CCRC

Although they appeal to a large number of retirees, moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community is not cheap.  Most of them require the residents to make a large upfront deposit that ranges from about $80,000 to $750,000 ... with a average of about $250,000.  In some cases, a portion of the deposit may be refunded to your heirs when you die, depending on how long you lived in the community.  While this may seem like an impossible amount of money for the average person, the majority of residents used the equity they received when they sold their home ... since they had no intention of moving back into a single family residence, again.

In addition, you will be expected to pay a monthly fee that covers your housing, meals and other amenities.  This can range from $1000 to $2700.  Again, while this may seem like a lot of money for some people, remember that it covers your rent, utilities, meals and transportation for the rest of your life.  This expense is affordable for many people who are planning to live off of their Social Security and/or pensions.  Therefore, while expensive, these communities are not as unaffordable as many people may first believe, although some people may need to supplement their Social Security or pensions with money from their retirement savings or other sources.

Types of CCRC's

Your community may be all-inclusive, taking care of nearly all your needs for the rest of your life; or they may be partially inclusive, where certain things are included and others are covered by private insurance; or they may be set up with a fee-for-service structure, where you only pay for what you use.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities vary in how they charge you for medical expenses and nursing care.  Some CCRC's include health-care costs.  In other cases, residents can use their private insurance, Medicare, and long-term care insurance to cover their medical needs and skilled nursing care. It is important to discuss this with management in advance, so you have a clear idea of how this will be handled.

Before you move in, expect the CCRC to evaluate your ability to cover your future anticipated expenses.

What to Expect in a CCRC

These communities are appealing residential communities, not old-fashioned nursing homes.  Residents live in private apartments or cottages.  Depending on the community a resident chooses, they may either have one meal a day or all of their meals served to them restaurant style.

Like other over-55 communities, the typical CCRC will have clubs, activities, entertainment, transportation, classes, swimming pools, shops, hair salons, and fitness facilities.  In addition, many of them have access to caregivers or skilled nursing care, often provided by outside contractors for an additional fee, for those who need it.  These residences also have modern amenities like cable television and Wi-Fi.

While the average age to move into a CCRC is about 80, some people do decide to move in while they are in their 60's and 70's, especially if they have have a chronic condition that makes it more difficult for them to prepare their own meals, drive their own cars, etc.  It is an ideal living situation for many senior citizens who are single, have had a heart attack or stroke, who are losing their eyesight, developing Parkinson's Disease, or have similar infirmities.  Younger adults are frequently delighted that they made this decision when they realize that they are still young enough to fully enjoy the amenities.  Older residents often say they wish they had moved in years before.

How to Find a Continuing Care Retirement Community

One way to search for a CCRC in the area where you want to live is to go to  This is the website of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ... which evaluates and accredits both rehab facilities and retirement communities.

On the website, go to Home - Find a Provider.  Click on Advanced Search. Then enter the State and under Program scroll down until you find Continuing Care Retirement Communities.  When I entered this information for my home state of California, I found 24 CCRCs in my state that were accredited by CARF.  By clicking on the ones in the towns that interested me, I was able to learn more specific information about them.

Once you have a list of CCRCs that interest you, I highly recommend that you look at their individual websites and then go out and pay them a personal visit ... possibly more than once.

In addition to the CARF website, you may also find information on the CCRCs in your state by going on the website for the Department of Social Services in your state.  Their site should explain state regulations for these communities and answer some of your questions.  For example, in California, I learned a lot at, including finding a list of both non-profit and for-profit providers.  The state list was much longer and more comprehensive than the list on the website for, which indicated to me that there are many CCRCs that are not affiliated with CARF.

Moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community is an appealing choice for many people and one that should be explored by anyone who wants the security of knowing that they have a permanent home for the rest of their life, regardless of changes in their health.

Resources: (from the California Department of Social Services)

"Understanding CCRCs," Where to Retire Magazine, January/February 2014. (website for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)

If you are looking for more retirement information, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to articles about where to retire in the United States and abroad, financial planning, medical issues, family relationships and more.

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