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Retirement myth busters

Clearing up misconceptions about retirement living options

Created date

April 24th, 2012

Not all retirement living options are the same. But that doesn t mean people always see a clear picture when comparing them. One of the most commonly misunderstood retirement living options is the continuing care retirement community (CCRC). A CCRC offers independent living options for active older adults, skilled nursing care, and assisted living care for all levels of health needs. Some even offer on-site preventive and medical care for when independent residents need it, bringing all services under one roof. But people often categorize CCRCs with nursing homes or assisted living facilities and associate them with a loss of freedom or personal identity. To shed light on retirement living options, we turned to Seabrook, an Erickson Living CCRC in Tinton Falls, N.J., to get the facts.

Myth #1: I can t afford it.

Seabrook s approach to retirement living has proven to be a healthy financial decision for most of its community members when compared to staying in their house. By bundling all monthly expenses all utilities except telephone, a meal plan for the community s restaurants, and use of all community amenities into one monthly service package, community members avoid unexpected costs and can trust their budget. Additionally, Seabrook removes one major pitfall to owning a house: maintenance. Community members don t mow lawns, rake leaves, shovel snow, hassle with heating repairs, or even replace light bulbs 24/7 home maintenance is included in the monthly service package at no additional charge. And trusted, on-staff servicemen and women are always available to help. Barbara Kouri, a former teacher who moved to Seabrook for its safety, security, and amenities, says she found the added advantage of a healthier checkbook. I find it very affordable living here, she says. In a house there s always something going wrong, and you have unexpected expenses.

Myth #2: I ll be surrounded by old people, and I don t feel old.

Welcome to the club! Most Seabrook community members don t feel old either. Just ask anyone living at the community what s on his or her schedule for the week. Most likely, you ll get a long list of activities, from volunteering on or off campus to working out in the on-site fitness center to attending a meeting for any of the 100-plus clubs and groups. Seabrook prides itself in helping community members stay active both physically and mentally, says Angie Crippen, resident services manager. Crippen helps coordinate resident-run activities as well as outside groups that offer programs to community members. Aside from activities, Seabrook is always bustling with young faces. High school students work at the community s two full-service restaurants and cafe and often become adopted grandchildren to community members. Additionally, the community s indoor swimming pool and nearby Jersey Shore Premium Outlets attract children and grandchildren of all ages.

Myth #3: My family won t get my money back if I pass away.

Seabrook s innovative financial structure offers community members peace of mind when it comes to their entrance deposit, similar to a down payment on a house. They can rest easy knowing that their entrance deposit is returned to them or their family should they ever decide to leave. Community members may also access the deposit to cover extended care expenses if their health needs ever change. And if they decide to spend the rest of their life at Seabrook, the deposit will be returned to their estate. The Residence and Care Agreement has all of the details.

Myth #4: An apartment will be too small for me.

Envisioning packing all your worldly belongings into Tupperware containers stashed under your bed? You re not alone. Most people can t imagine moving from a house filled with 30 to 40 years worth of stuff to an apartment home. The reality is, most people are relieved once they finally make the move and declutter, says Laurie Williamson, Seabrook personal moving consultant. Williamson helps people decide what to take and what to toss, choose a real estate agent, and move smoothly. Additionally, the community offers more than 30 apartment home sizes and styles to fit every need and lifestyle. To help clients find the right size apartment home, we discuss what their needs are. I usually start with the basics like one bedroom or two, one bath or two, says Susan Coulson, Seabrook s sales counselor. From there we ll usually use the entrance deposit range to see where they are comfortable financially, she adds. I also usually ask things like do they love to cook (so a larger kitchen may be very important), or do they have a pet (maybe they want a patio home). Knowing their interests and hobbies helps determine a lot. No matter what apartment home style or size they choose, most everyone falls in love with this lifestyle.