September 22, 2020
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to move to a senior living community. Now comes the fun part … choosing the community where you will spend your future years.
“Choosing the right community is a big decision,” says Pamela Klapproth, CEO of Kendal on Hudson, a not-for-profit, Life Plan Community serving older adults in Sleepy Hollow, NY. “It can be a hard decision, but it’s also very empowering. By taking the time to plan, do your research and find the place that’s right for you, you’re empowering yourself for the future. You’re also helping your children, because they won’t be put in a situation where they have to make the decision for you if a crisis situation arises.”
It’s important to carefully consider your options because, as Pamela says, “not all Life Plan Communities are created equal.” A Life Plan Community (also known as a CCRC, Continuing Care Retirement Community) – is a model of senior living that provides a wide variety of care options under one roof or on one campus. Every community is different and offers different types of contracts, care options, services and amenities.
“In order to truly compare apples to apples, you’ll want to research and speak to each community about what types of contracts they offer,” Pamela says.
Questions to Ask
Here are some questions you should consider asking and researching as you begin your search for the right senior living community for you.
What type of care contract do you offer?
“Kendal on Hudson, for example, offers a Lifecare contract,” Pamela says. “That means we supply all levels of care for our residents under one roof. No matter whether you’re living in Independent Living, Assisted Living or our Memory Support residence, you will pay the same monthly fee throughout your life with us.”
Some Life Plan Communities offer more of a “fee for service” model, which means paying different prices based on the level of care you receive. “In communities like this, you’ll pay the lowest monthly fee if you’re living in Independent Living, and then your cost will increase if you move to assisted living, skilled nursing or memory support,” says Pamela.
What care levels does the community serve?
A true Life Plan Community has all levels of care on campus. Other types of communities may just offer independent living or assisted living, or just assisted living and memory support or a variety of other combinations. While these are fine options if that’s what you’re looking for, many older adults choose to move to a Life Plan Community because they have peace of mind that they will always be cared for right there – eliminating the need to ever move again.
What is the community culture like?
Finding the right culture is a very important part of choosing the right “fit” for you. “Some communities like Kendal on Hudson have a large resident involvement in activities, community life and such,” says Pamela. “Our community even has residents on the board of directors. It’s a very involved culture, because we want our residents to have a real say in life at our community. After all, this is their home.”
Other communities may be more hands-off and have employees or trustees to manage the running of the community. Pamela says that this form of culture is appropriate for some people – it just depends on whether you want a more involved or distanced approach.
Is there an entrance fee, and what does the monthly fee cover?
A community like Kendal on Hudson requires an entrance fee upfront – this is used as your “buy-in” and protects you from the rising cost of healthcare in the future. This also helps protect a portion of your estate, as a portion of the entrance fee can be refunded when the individual is no longer living in the community. Other communities may have a one-time fee that’s not refundable or may simply require a small down payment of one month’s rent in advance.
Every community requires a monthly maintenance fee – think of it like your rent check. You’ll want to find out exactly what your monthly fee covers. Usually, it includes meals, utilities, access to programs and events, a fitness center, transportation services and the like.
What is the organization’s financial stability?
Financial stability and longevity is incredibly important when choosing a senior community. Some communities are nonprofit organizations, while others are for-profit. Kendal on Hudson is a not-for-profit community, meaning that the money that is paid in by the residents is reinvested into the community instead of trying to appease shareholders. Besides the business model, it’s a good idea to look into the financial stability of the company. A healthy company will give you peace of mind that, no matter what happens, it will remain in business and able to provide high quality care throughout your lifetime.
Tips for Visiting Communities
- Visit the communities you’ve chosen when possible. More than once is a good idea, because you want to get a real sense as to whether the people, location and culture will be a good fit for you.
- Be sure to take a look at a variety of apartments when you’re on site. Kendal on Hudson has 30 different floor plans, meaning we’re able to accommodate almost everyone’s wants and needs. You want to make sure you have options available to plan the life you want.
- Stay for lunch or dinner on your visit. Since meals are included in your monthly fee, you want to make sure you’re choosing a place where you enjoy what you’ll be eating.
- Ask to participate in some activities or events while you’re on-site. This gives you a chance to talk to other residents and find out what it’s like to live there on a day-to-day basis.
- Visit the community’s website and read reviews on independent sites like Yelp, Facebook and Google. The community website will be a wealth of information about what’s happening at the community; the independent sites will give you a “real look” at what real people think about the community.
“Moving to a senior community is a big decision, but remember that there are many people who are here to support you through this,” says Pamela. “We encourage future residents to talk with their friends and family members who’ve gone through this process already. We also offer to connect prospects with a mentor at our community so they can hear firsthand experiences. We want to make sure you’re making the right choice for you and choosing a community where it will truly be a home for years to come.”
Together, Transforming the Experience of Aging.®
Founded on Quaker principles and guided by our values and practices, Kendal on Hudson provides a vibrant, active and social senior lifestyle on our 25-acre campus next to the historic Hudson River. As the only Lifecare community in Westchester County, we offer four levels of service for our residents: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Services.
Kendal on Hudson is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization led by a volunteer Board of Directors. Kendal on Hudson is an affiliate of The Kendal Corporation, a system of communities and services for older people based in Kennett Square, PA. We support diversity, inclusiveness, and independence and support the values and practices of Kendal by remaining focused on healthy aging. Located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, just 35 miles from New York City, we offer a vibrant lifestyle, cultural programs, continued learning and health care for life.
For more information, please call 914-922-1000.