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About this blog: I developed a special interest in helping seniors with their challenges and transitions when my dad had a stroke and I helped him through all the various stages of downsizing, packing, moving and finding an assisted living communi...  (More)

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SENIOR FOCUS: 5 Things to Understand When Considering a Retirement Community

Uploaded: Nov 1, 2015
1) We are healthy and fine today, but what exactly happens after we move into Independent Living (IL) and one of us needs care? Can we remain in our IL apt and have caregivers help us there? Would we have to move into Assisted Living (AL) and how much extra would we have to pay? Who decides if we have to move into AL?

2) (If you paid a returnable upfront entrance fee which can run from $500K - $1million or more): When we vacate the apartment, how long does it take to get the returnable portion of the entry fee back (usually between 70-90%). Do we have to wait until it is resold (usually this is the case.) Do I still have to pay the monthly fee while it is unsold (usually the case if you are purchasing a condo rather than paying an entry fee.)

3) Is there a charge for moving from one apartment to another, or from one level of care to another?

4) Ask to see the historical rate increases on the monthly fees for the past 5 years, and projections for the next 5 years.

5) Confirm that there is a 90 day cancellation period (state law) that begins on the day you close on the apartment and start paying the monthly fee. It usually does not begin on the day you physically move in. If you are closing on the apt and not moving in for a month or two, negotiate to have your 90 day cancellation period begin on the day you physically move in.
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 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for such an informative post! I'm not there yet, but I worry about what seems to me excessive costs for these places when the time comes. The idea of getting a projection of how much the thing will go up over a five-year period was great.

 +   3 people like this
Posted by Brad Breeding, a resident of another community,
on Nov 5, 2015 at 5:23 am

Great article Max. A great source for objective information on entry fee communities, (i.e. CCRCs, lifecare communities) is Lot's of great information for free, including a listing of all such communities in CA. For a nominal cost you can access a detailed report on communities, which cover a lot of the important contract details you suggest asking about.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Max Greenberg, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 7, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Max Greenberg is a registered user.

Thanks for your comment Brad. Your website looks like it offers very useful information for the senior shopper. Since the retirement community info is based on publicly available data, what is the benefit for someone to pay for the reports you offer on your site?

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