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On-the-spot answers

The Tribune sits in on a Cedar Crest sales event. This is what we heard.

Created date

October 13th, 2017
Cedar Crest has more than 180 clubs and activities, including a TV studio right on campus. Residents like Rich Cirella have opportunities to work behind or in front of the camera in various capacities.

Cedar Crest has more than 180 clubs and activities, including a TV studio right on campus. Residents like Rich Cirella have opportunities to work behind or in front of the camera in various capacities. 


The living room in Cedar Crest’s clubhouse buzzes with conversation as people researching their retirement living options gather in several groups of 10 to 12. A resident ambassador or a staff member answers questions about life at the Erickson Living community in Pompton Plains, N.J.

In one group, an adult daughter and her mother ask about the financial structure and continuing care options. In another, the topic is a bit lighter—what activities are available on campus? In another, the discussion covers local transportation and travel groups. 

Asking questions and getting on-the-spot answers is one of the best reasons to visit and tour Cedar Crest. And the community takes these events seriously. Several knowledgeable staff members are on hand as well as the people who live there who offer honest, firsthand answers and insight to those considering making a lifestyle change. 

Visitors tour available apartment homes and have the opportunity to join the priority list or reserve an apartment. Plus, a delicious, chef-prepared lunch is included for a taste of what life could be like without having to cook all the time.

The Tribune attended one of Cedar Crest’s recent events for first- and second-time visitors. Here’s what we heard.

Visitor: What are some of the activities available on campus? Could you give some examples? 

Sales Counselor Kate Tanis: We have over 180 activities. You’ll find quilting groups, arts and crafts, Ping-Pong, theater, singing, current events discussion groups, a hiking club, the TV studio, the wood shop, gardening, continuing education classes, religious groups, language groups, and political groups. We have people who play wallyball, billiards, golf. You name it, we have it here. And if we don’t, you can start it. 

Visitor: And we have access to all of that? What about our guests? 

Tanis: Residents and their guests have access to all amenities. It’s included in your monthly service package, which also covers property taxes, a flexible meal plan, utilities, 24/7 home maintenance and security, secure Wi-Fi, and parking. You are also free to use any number of your meals for your guests. 

Visitor: What is the average percentage of increase to the monthly service package year over year? 

Sales Director Ray Guarino: Over the past ten years, we have averaged a 3.42% increase each year.

It’s also worth noting that the monthly service package stays constant for the entire year, so you can easily budget your monthly living expenses, and you only have one bill to pay rather than keeping track of several.

Visitor: What about if we need continuing care? How much does that cost? 

Guarino: Continuing care costs depend on your level of care. We are a fee-for-service community, so each level of care has different pricing. This way, you’re not paying for services you don’t need. 

If you need skilled nursing, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, or just some help in your home with medications, you can get that level of care here on campus. 

Also keep in mind that only about 4%–5% of independent living residents need assisted living care. That speaks highly to what happens in independent living—dining, activities, fitness opportunities, and medical care all contribute to longevity and independence.

Visitor: What’s the benefit of joining the priority list? 

Guarino: The priority list is a way to get the apartment home of your choice. There is only a handful of apartments available right now, so if you’re flexible in what you want, you could move in now. But if you want a specific floor plan or location, the priority list puts you in line for getting your first choice. 

It’s also a great way to attend more events so you can really get to know your future neighbors and the community before you move in. It makes the transition that much easier. 

Guarino: Priority list members can also attend additional exclusive events like seminars by Personal Moving Consultant Anne Connor, who will walk you through the next steps of meeting with real estate agents, downsizers, and movers. 

Visitor: What services does Connor provide, and does it cost anything? 

Personal Moving Consultant Anne Connor: Every Erickson Living community has its own local personal moving consultant. I am the personal moving consultant for Cedar Crest. I provide complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs, including downsizing, home staging, packing, and selection of a real estate professional. 

I meet with prospective community members who have joined the priority list in their home, armed with a magnetic floor plan of their new apartment. I’ll tour your house and see which existing furniture pieces you want to bring with you to your new home. Then I measure them out and place the to-scale pieces on the magnetic floor plan so you can see exactly how and where everything will fit.

Visitor: How do you join the priority list? 

Guarino: You make a $1,000 fully refundable deposit along with a $150-per-person, nonrefundable application fee. The $1,000 is either applied toward your 90% entrance fee when you reserve an apartment, or it is returned to you should you find that Cedar Crest isn’t the right fit. 

The 90% entrance fee goes to your estate, or if you decide to leave the community, the deposit is returned to you once the apartment is reoccupied (the Residence and Care Agreement has full details).

Tanis: The priority list is really a great way to get to know if Cedar Crest is right for you, and the best part is it’s completely noncommittal.