Guarantee of Care For Life?

Guarantee of Care For Life?

Guarantee of Care for LifeMany senior living communities say, “We will take care of you for the rest of your life.”  Really?  What if a senior legitimately runs out of his or her resources?  Can they still stay for life?  Is it a marketing spiel or a real guarantee?  What promise is really written in the resident’s contract?  Do they offer at least three levels of care including skilled nursing?

Senior living communities can talk about a “fund” to help residents or a “Good Samaritan Fund.”  My own mom was lucky enough to benefit from this type of fund.  I never dreamed in a million years that my mom would live in a higher level of care like assisted living for so many years (seven to be exact).  In the middle of those seven years, my mom ran out of her resources.  She has social security, an annuity, a pension and a savings account.  Her savings account depleted down to $2,000.

Thank goodness my mom’s Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) had a Good Sam Fund that was developed out of generous donations.  The little known fact was that only 10 seniors could benefit from the fund at any given time.  My mom was number 10.  I never knew if there was a resident whose number was 11 or higher that never received financial help.

Now, I know about two CCRC’s in CA that offer a Guarantee of Care for life.  It is straight up and clearly written in the contracts at Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet.

An attorney compared CCRC contracts in Orange County and determined that all were not equal in the guarantee of care for life.  Some are straight up and others offer, “A guarantee of care for life,” but add three extra words following this statement in the contract… those three extra words are, “At our option.”

“At our option,” sounds a lot like a Good Sam Fund that has a limited amount of resident users.  What do you think?

Please share your successes, failures or comment below to join the conversation and interact with other senior living professionals on what is currently being effective to increase occupancy on a nationwide basis.

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available at with a 5-star rating.  The book is required reading at George Mason University as a part of its marketing curriculum.  Within this book, the author developed a sales & marketing method with 12 keys to help senior living providers increase their occupancy.   Masson developed this expertise as a marketing consultant, sought-after blogger for senior housing and a regional marketing director of continuing care retirement communities in several markets.  She has also been a corporate director of sales and a mystery shopper for independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled care nursing communities in multiple states.  Currently, Masson is setting move-in records as the regional marketing director of two debt-free Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Southern California – Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  Interestingly, this career started when she was looking for a place for her own mom and helped her loved one transition through three levels of care.


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Choosing Rental Versus Entrance Fees in Senior Housing

Choosing Rental Versus Entrance Fees in Senior Housing

Many seniors or adult boomer children looking for housing struggle to understand the difference between selecting a month-to-month rental choice vs. selecting an entrance fee at a Continuing Care Retirement Community.  I have seen people create excel spreadsheets in order to understand what may have better financial implications in the long run for their family member.

A couple of key question to ask yourself in your search for senior housing are:

  • How long do you plan to live? (I know it’s a tough question, but are you living a healthy lifestyle now?  The age of parents at death can be a small factor, but how you treat your body with exercise and eating healthy is considered a key to aging well now.)
  • Do you have long-term care insurance? (Having it can be considered an asset, but it comes with an expensive monthly fee and some policies have limits of two or three years of maximum care in a skilled nursing center.  Older policies do not include in-home care or assisted living, so check your policy.)
  • Can your savings and assets survive, if you and/or your spouse needed assisted living or skilled nursing care for 5 or more years?

The average cost of Skilled Nursing Care on a national basis runs between $6,500 and month and $9,500 a month according to a national Metlife survey.  Why is this cost important?  Because this is a cost that can quickly wipe out your savings account.

Month-to-month retirement community rentals offer no protection for the future…what if you live there for eleven years and run out of assets?  If you can’t make your monthly fee – you would be asked to leave period.  There is no long-term contract with you.  We have all read articles in the newspaper talking about someone spending $300,000 plus at a rental community over the years and then being turned away because they ran out of assets.  You might be asking yourself – could this really happen to someone?

Well, my own mother ran out of her resources after living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community for eleven years.  She had not anticipated living in a higher level of care for three plus years.  It was horrible when her annuity and assets shrank and she was unable to pay the full monthly payment at her Assisted Living.  The great news is that she was not asked to leave.  Her Continuing Care Retirement Community in Seattle had never asked anyone to leave because of financial reasons.  What a relief for my mom and my family…

Many Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer a guarantee of care for the rest of your life, if you outlive your resources.  What incredible peace of mind this provides for residents and their family members.  Yes, this guarantee comes with the price of an entrance fee and those vary nationally.  I represent a Continuing Care Retirement community in California, whose entrance fees start at $55,000.  What a reasonable price, it’s less than the cost of one year of Skilled Nursing Care… Plus, when a resident pays an entrance fee, the monthly fees at Continuing Care Retirement Communities tend to be much lower than month-to-month rentals.

What are your thoughts on rentals versus entrance fees?

Diane Twohy Masson is the author of “Senior Housing Marketing – How to Increase Your Occupancy and Stay Full,” available for sale at  If your curiosity is piqued to inquire on Diane’s availability to speak at a senior housing conference (CCRC, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care) – please call: 206-853-6655 or email  Diane is currently consulting in Southern California for Freedom Management Company, the proud debt-free owners of Freedom Village in Lake Forest and The Village in Hemet, California.  For more information:   Twitter: @market2seniors Web: Blog: