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Retirement living that’s ‘just right’

Couple’s move to amenity-rich Highland Springs makes financial sense

Created date

October 14th, 2014
couple sitting on a couch

Dick and Vera Hemingway were on vacation in Wisconsin when Dick made an off-the-cuff remark that they needed to head home to Norman, Okla., so he could mow the lawn.

“We were at a lodge with several friends at the time,” says Dick, a retired law professor. “When I said I needed to go home to cut the grass, our friends looked at me like I was crazy. The other couples had already sold their homes and moved into apartments.”

The brief exchange gave Dick and Vera something to think about.

“We realized we were ready to give up our house and all the work it entailed,” says Vera. “The house sold three days after we listed it.”

The couple packed up and headed to Texas, where two of their three children live in the Dallas area.

False starts

Dick and Vera settled into a 55-plus community in Plano that had been converted from an apartment complex into senior housing. 

The couple soon realized their monthly rent didn’t cover much.

“It was basically an apartment complex that rented to retired people,” says Vera. “It had very few amenities and didn’t include any meals.”

What’s worse, Dick and Vera felt isolated.

“We didn’t come into contact with other residents,” says Dick. “We needed opportunities to interact with people.”

For their second stop, Dick and Vera chose a retirement community in Richardson that offered apartments and common areas under one roof.

“We learned a valuable lesson,” says Vera. “Our monthly rent included three meals a day. We didn’t have time for anything else because we were always sitting in the dining room.”

Getting it right

After a little more than a year at the second community, Dick and Vera moved back to the apartment complex in Plano, still convinced there had to be another option.

“We received an advertisement for Springs in the mail,” says Vera. “The community was under construction, but we visited the sales trailer to learn more.”

Dick and Vera met with Sales Counselor Christina Christie, who told them about the financial structure and amenities planned for the new Erickson Living community.

“It sounded too good to be true, so I went online when we got home,” says Dick. “I saw other Erickson communities just as Christina described.”

The couple sat down with their son Rick, a financial advisor who handles their affairs, and told him they wanted to move to Highland Springs when it opened.

“Rick was hesitant because of the entrance deposit needed up front,” says Dick. “But after he met with Christina, he saw the benefits of the financial structure.”

‘A great value’

Some retirement communities, like the two Dick and Vera lived in previously, operate on a rental basis. Other continuing care communities, including Highland Springs, require an entrance deposit but offer lower monthly service fees. At Highland Springs, the convenient low monthly fee covers all utilities (except telephone), flexible dining plans, amenities, property taxes, and maintenance costs.

“We looked at other retirement communities with amenities comparable to Highland Springs that operate on a rental basis, but the monthly fees were much higher,” says Dick. “For what we have here at Highland Springs, the monthly service package is a great value.”

And unlike rental costs, the entrance deposit isn’t money that’s gone forever. For residents of Highland Springs, the entrance deposit is 90% refundable to them or their estate.

“It’s still our money,” says Dick.

Ideal lifestyle

In 2006, Dick and Vera settled into their two-bedroom, one-bath, Fairmont-style apartment home at Highland Springs.

“This is just right,” says Dick. “We have our own community here, with the medical center, the bank, the salon, and the fitness center. All that, and the people are so friendly. We couldn’t be happier we made the move.”