What’s the real value of retirement living?

Residents agree, Lantern Hill offers more for your money

Created date

September 27th, 2019
Darlene Eckel (left) enjoys life at Lantern Hill so much that her daughter Lynn O’Neill (right) moved there with her husband as soon as she turned 62.

Darlene Eckel (left) enjoys life at Lantern Hill so much that her daughter Lynn O’Neill (right) moved there with her husband as soon as she turned 62. 

Finding the right home to spend your retirement isn’t just about cost, or amenities, or the food. It’s not just about continuing care or the size and style of your home. It’s about all of those things. It’s about finding a home that offers you the most value, which comes in many shapes and sizes. 

Among retirement living options, continuing care communities are most likely to provide all of those things in one place.

Erickson Living manages 20 continuing care communities across the country, including Lantern Hill, in New Providence, N.J. Among their 280-plus residents, the top three priorities for choosing a retirement home include amenities and services, predictable spending, and continuing care. 

Predictable spending

Lantern Hill Sales Counselor Kathy Banks credits Lantern Hill’s incredible value to its predictable monthly service package that covers most day-to-day living expenses. One check each month covers apartment home maintenance, light weekly housekeeping, property taxes, heating and air-conditioning, trash and recycling collection at your door, a dining plan, basic cable TV, phone, internet, regularly scheduled transportation, 24-hour security and emergency response services, plus access to a wealth of campus amenities.

“The maintenance fee is all stuff you’re paying for anyway. You don’t have to pay all those bills anymore,” says Dick Byrnes, who moved to Lantern Hill from White House Station in July 2016 on the recommendation of his financial advisor. 

Dick enjoys life at Lantern Hill so much he serves as a resident ambassador.

Ambassadors greet potential community members, answer questions, and give tours during sales events. Throughout the tour, they share real-life impressions on living at Lantern Hill, but Dick says the conversation naturally sways positive—thanks to the multitude of activities; convenient amenities located on campus; and the cheerful, welcoming people who become neighbors and friends. 

More for your money

Lantern Hill’s on-site amenities—its swimming pool, medical center, fitness center, and multiple restaurants—are a major plus for many.

Darlene Eckel says she likes living at Lantern Hill for all the added benefits. She doesn’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning, raking leaves, or shoveling snow.

“I like it because I feel safe. If I hear a noise, I don’t have to worry if I put my alarm on. Somebody else does the cooking and light housekeeping,” she says. 

With several interest groups and clubs, residents have opportunities to be active and social if they want. But not everyone is a joiner. Darlene’s not. So for her, the on-site entertainment and excursions to Museum Mile, Paper Mill Playhouse, and New York City are appealing. 

And even though she’s not one to join a club, she welcomes the community atmosphere.

“You’re never really alone. You can join things or not at your pleasure,” she says. “I walk every morning and every night and someone always knows when I’m out. It makes you feel like somebody cares about you.”

Her daughter Lynn O’Neill saw how much her mom was enjoying life at Lantern Hill and moved in two years after Darlene. “We have all the benefits, we don’t have to worry about the house, and we have so much more time to do things we want,” says Lynn, who joined the priority list at 60 and moved as soon as she turned 62. “I would say to anyone, ‘Come soon! Don’t wait.’” 

Confidence in the future

Dick, Darlene, and Lynn all say they’re completely confident in their choice and their future. 

“When I heard my family gets 90% back, that’s what really sold me,” says Dick, referring to the entrance fee that is 90% refundable to you or your heirs upon reoccupation of your apartment home (see the Residence and Care Agreement for full details).

Money aside, Dick knows that should he ever need additional health care, multiple levels of care on site ensure that he can live independently today with peace of mind for tomorrow. 

Dick says he advises people to move early to take advantage of the amenities, services, and maintenance-free lifestyle at Lantern Hill. “If you wait until you’re ready, somebody gets sick and you spend the rest of your life taking care of your loved one instead of living here,” he says.

“You can tell I like it here,” he adds. “It’s really like family. You just feel like you belong. Some people don’t want to get involved and that’s not a big deal. You just come here, and there are so many things to do. If you want to start something, you start it. For a guy like me, if you’re energetic and social, this is the place to live.”

Lynn’s sentiments echo Dick’s: “My advice is don’t wait. Come as quickly as you can because there’s so much to offer. It does take a lot of the burden off you. I don’t know what you’re waiting for.”