Buy-ins for continuing care retirement communities ?s

shamboApril 27, 2005

My mother-in-law is considering moving to a continuing care retirement community in Iowa. She'd start off with an independent living apt. and then progress to an assisted living apt. when needed.

The place is asking for a $52,000 buy-in and then monthly rent of $900 for the independent living apt. We've had difficulty getting straight answers about costs, deposits, etc. because the marketing director of the facility is new to the job.

Do you have any advice as to questions we should be asking and things we should be checking for? Thanks for your help.

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You don't say how old she is. Divide the number of years that she may expect to stay there into the $52,000. It may be that regular assisted living would be a better deal. What would happen if she had a major heart attack or serious stroke requiring physical therapy? Would they require that she move out into a Nursing Home? If she's elderly, that could happen soon.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 2:19PM
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Sorry, I forgot to mention my mother-in-law's age. She just turned 79 years old this January. She's in pretty good health other than back ailments. She's been a widow for 12 years. Her main motivations for moving would be to be free of continuing home maintenance issues, yard care, etc. Right now, she pays someone to take care of her lawn; relatives shovel snow for her; and a cleaning person comes in weekly to vacuum. She's involved in some community & church activites, but her Iowa sons feel the move would provide her with more socialization. My husband & I live in California but are trying to be as involved as we can in this prospective move. After all, it's her life savings at stake here. Her house is all she really has.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 2:51PM
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My parents lived in a CCRC for 10 years and I worked in one for 3 years. I really like the concept, I'll be moving into one in 20 years or so. My parents moved through all the levels of care while they were there, both died in the nursing home (as they should have). They loved it there, and the system worked very well.

Does she (or her estate) get all her buy in money back when she leaves? That actually depends on the kind of license it has, the best ones do give it all back (no interest though).

She's young enough to get a lot of use out of the place. I would assume for her $900/month she gets a meal a day in the dining room? Usually, at that low monthly rate, she'll pay for extra services as she need them, which I think is a good idea. Make sure she understands what they are. Those extra services might include cleaning service, home health aide assistance, rides off the campus to social events, doctors' appointments etc.

She'll probably love it, and have to pencil you into her social calender, she'll just be so busy!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 3:50PM
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Momj47 you bring up a good point. There are actually two buy-in plans. One costs $47,000 and is non refundable. The other is $52,000 and a portion is refundable upon vacating the community. The director told me & my husband the refund was amortized over a seven year period, so that at the end of seven years, nothing would be refunded. My mother-in-law was told that 50% of the buy-in was refunded. That's one issue we have to clarify.

The $900 monthly rent includes one meal per day and weekly housekeeping. There is no nursing home facility, but there is a health center for people who are convalescing. But that costs around $150 per day. The assited living apartments cost $2500 per month. Her house is worth about $80,000 to $85,000. Selling the house would finance the buy in.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 9:23PM
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You might want to look for a life care facility..that is one which has the capability to care for her if she eventually requires skilled care. The last move can be very hard on an elder who ia now very ill...better to age in place, as they say. Derry

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 10:43PM
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I'm a bit puzzled, a CCRC usually has all levels of care, hence the name, is there a nursing home associated with this facility? Derry is right, the last move is the hardest.

Your mom, and your family, need to know how much everything else will cost. The extras can nickle and dime you to pieces, but may be extremely necessary. Make sure everyone knows and the family agrees on how to pay for things she may need but may not be willing or able to pay for in the future, as her care needs change. They may not change for 10 years, or more, but the chances are that she will eventually need additional care and assistance with ADL's, for example.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 11:08PM
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Here in ND we have some wonderful resources for aging people They are thur the state--one place to start is the local city commission on aging. They should be able to give you other resources. Is there a active senior citizen center in the area. How about the social services of the hospital. We have what the call assisted living facilities. They are small one-2 rooms--some with kitchens--and a community dining room. They have crafts, bingo, transportation to the medical --no buy in, just monthly charges. I would hesitate in a buy in situation, because you could loose everything with a bad sick spell where she might have to go to a nursing home, even for awhile. The midwest seems to be better equiped for seniors.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 6:54PM
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I think the decision has been made. It seems to be more of a question of asking the right questions. CCRC's are wonderful places to retire. I'm sure she'll love it.

By the way, we have the same services and opportunities for seniors here in Maryland that you have in North Dakota, probably more, since we have more old people! LOL

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 11:16AM
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Thank you all for your comments. The marketing director from the facility my mother-in-law is considering finally responded to my questions. The "refundable" $52,000 buy-in would be amortized over a period of 7 years. So at the end of the 7 year period, nothing would be refunded. The $47,000 buy-in is completely non refundable.

I, too, am concerned about the hidden & extra costs. But it is very difficult getting a straight answer from the staff. Because we live so far away, my husband's brothers are handling the face to face negotiations. Unfrotunately, they don't communicate with us very well either.

We just placed my 90 year old mother in a wonderful assisted living facility here in the Sacramento area a couple of months ago. So we're familiar with some of the issues involved. We'd like to help but feel pretty frustrated right now.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 5:38PM
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