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WSJ Article on Erickson Retirement Communities
Old 10-16-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
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WSJ Article on Erickson Retirement Communities

My mom who is approaching 80 sent me a message concerning the WSJ article regarding Erickson's Retirement Communities. She currently lives in a suburb north of Baltimore and is considering a move to an Erickson Community, Oak Crest.

She has a number of friends that have moved into the community and I have friend's whose parents are living or lived there. I've never talked to anyone who had a bad thing to say about the place. Yes, it's expensive and the entrance fee is considerable -- but mom is getting to the stage where her health is questionable and while she can still do for herself -- there are days when doing the routine things are a struggle.

So before her health deteroriates to the point where Oak Crest will not accept her -- I believe this is a good move for her.

The WSJ article highlighted the problems the prolonged financial downturn has caused several of the communites. Mom has an elder-care attorney and she can bounce her concerns to her. Even so, this is a talented group and would appreciate your thoughts and experiences.



WSJ article: Retirement Chain Seeks Fresh Cash Infusion -
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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I don't know anything about the Erickson communities, other than what I have read in the article you provided. It is important to make sure she enters a good, financially solid community.

My mother spent her last quarter century (from about 75-98 years old) in a continuous care facility in Honolulu. As I understand it, that community was actually owned and run by the residents. I presume the younger residents did more of the governing of it. Anyway, it seemed to work out very nicely.

When she entered the facility, it was such a relief to me. I knew that she would always be cared for with expertise, kindness, and respect, and by qualified nurses when necessary, and she was. I think it was the best decision she ever made.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:40 AM   #3
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As with W2r, my mother also moved into a continuous care facility for the last eleven years of her life. She had a great time there and was frequently hard to reach because she was "out and about" so much. It was only during the last six months that she needed any significant assistance and I cannot speak too highly of the place.

All the maintenance issues of home ownership went away and the monthly fee included two meals a day if she wanted them in the cafeteria and everything except long-distance phone calls. She chose an apartment, but they also have single-family homes and townhouses.

It made such an impression on DW and I that we are thinking we'll do the same in another ten or fifteen years. Hopefully where they don't have any snow though.
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Old 10-17-2009, 07:29 AM   #4
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DW's parents entered a nearby Erickson community last year. DW and I talked them into going (almost pushed) and are relieved they finally made the decision. DW's father has Alzheimer's and her step mother is a hypochondriac and completely incapable of dealing with day to day matters. Had they stayed in their home they would have been in a world of hurt.

At Erickson they are currently living in independent housing - a very nice one bedroom apartment with a full kitchen. They get one meal a day (they usually choose dinner at one of 5 restaurants scattered around the campus), they have activities out the yin yang, rides to grocery stores and malls, etc. etc. They have made friends and become more active than before. Step mother was always paranoid of minorities but now her best friend is an African American woman - go figure.

As problems progress they can move into assisted living (they considering that now) and there is a full Alzheimer's unit on the campus when and if needed. You pay a big deposit ($250K in their case) but the deposit is used to fund expenses if your other money runs out and reverts to your estate (no interest) if you don't need to tap it.

Bottom line -- this place has been a Godsend for us and is nice enough that I would choose to go there if I was getting to the point that I didn't think I would be able to live independently. We do worry about financial viability -- if the firm went belly up and closed it would be an absolute disaster for those living there. But that is an issue with any facility of this nature. The Erickson people have been all over the issue trying to reassure clients and their families. They point out that they are divided into two segments - operations and development. The operations side that runs the communities is in good financial shape. The development side, that builds new communities was hit hard and is more precarious. They say the problems with development won't effect operations but we all remember Lay and Skilling days before the Enron collapse... On the other hand Erickson and his son are visionaries and it would seem inconsistent with their life's work to lie to the old folks on this.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:17 PM   #5
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Maybe donheff answered my question, but what does the large entry fee for a Continuous Care Facility get you that a regular monthly place does not?

In both cases you pay a monthly fee.

I understand that there are multiple levels of care at such facilities, but that's frequently the case with the monthly places also.
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