Not-For-Profit vs. For-Profit Senior Living Communities: What’s the Difference?
If you are beginning to consider your retirement and your future, you are in good company. A recent Gallup poll suggests Americans are, on average, retiring at around 62 years of age, despite predictions that retirement age would actually be around 66 years. So whether retirement is on the horizon – or you have already retired – now is a great time to begin researching your options.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is “where do I want to live?” What sort of needs, both anticipated and unanticipated, do you want to be prepared for in terms of your living situation? Should you downsize from your current living space? What role, if any, do you expect your family to play in your day-to-day needs? What are your health needs currently – and what health issues may you be facing in the future? No one has a crystal ball, but one way to address a variety of future needs is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
A CCRC is a community that provides the opportunity to live in the same place as you get older – whatever needs may arise or change. Many CCRCs offer a variety of housing options, including apartments and houses – all on the same campus. Health care services, including physicians, home care, therapy and wellness programs, are also normally located on site for your use and convenience.
There are almost 2000 CCRCs in the US, and beyond amenities offered, it is also important for you to consider the two main types of CCRC model — not-for-profit and for-profit. Each have their own set of considerations that can affect you in different ways. Understanding the different models of CCRCs will help you know who to trust with your future.
Cost and Expenditure Considerations
Understanding the difference between a non-profit CCRC and a for-profit CCRC will help you immensely when making the choice about the path forward for you as you consider your lifestyle options. The differences between the two CCRC models go beyond just collecting profits.
The major difference lies in why each type of facility does what it does. A for-profit CCRC, like virtually all other for-profit entities, provides services with the end goal of generating a profit. There are always expectations for returns on investment. All of those facilities ultimately answer to a board and investors. The unfortunate reality of a for-profit CCRC is that, should eventually have limited or depleted resources, you may be asked to relocate.
A non-profit CCRC provides mission-based care — and sets aside funds to help people who may need financial assistance. Most not-for-profit CCRCs are faith-based, and the staff and board place a high priority on quality and resident satisfaction. They also engage in social accountability efforts by partnering with organization in their community or offering the use of their facility to other not-for-profit organizations such as support groups… Residents and staff members often work to improve the communities where they are situated by volunteering and fundraising.
A non-profit CCRC invests its funds into the operations and improvement of the community. Cornwall Manor in Lebanon County, for example, is located on a historic campus surrounded by nature. Cornwall Manor is able to maintain a beautiful campus while focusing on being a good steward of the residents’ fees.
At a not-for-profit CCRC, you can rest easy knowing your needs and wishes as a resident are what primarily drive organizational decisions. Leaders at these CCRCs are not answering to investors, stockholders or other outside stakeholders.
A Question of Quality
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides annual ratings of nursing homes, (www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare) and not-for-profit facilities consistently rank higher than many for-profit facilities. Cornwall Manor is rated a 5-Star community, the highest rating, and its personal care facility has received six deficiency-free annual inspection from the PA Dept. of Human Services.
When researching CCRC options, ask about nursing home and personal care inspections, as well as satisfaction survey results from its residents.
The Value of a Personal Connection
Perhaps the most compelling reason older adults may choose a not-for-profit CCRC over a for-profit CCRC has to do with the former’s orientation toward meaningfully addressing senior needs. External economic pressure can affect the organizational values of for-profit CCRCs, and business needs are sometimes inherently at odds with resident needs. You want to find a place that can focus on you as much as possible.
The value of not-for-profit CCRCs falls under three major umbrellas:
A Chance for Meaningful Social Experiences
Meaningful socialization helps residents connect with one another and build communal purpose and happiness. Not-for-profit CCRCs understand that just providing activities to keep residents entertained isn’t enough to make them happy. Residents have to be involved and engaged in life-long learning, volunteering and fulfilling endeavors in order to live a meaningful life.
Investment of Resources
Non-for-profit CCRCs are actually required by the law to reinvest their profits back into their organizations under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code in order to maintain their tax-free status.
By providing charitable care to older adults who may not have the funds to care for themselves, not-for-profits encourage the community and older adults to help one another. A growing number of caregivers caring for the growing number of older adults who need assistance rely on not-for-profits to help them through their journey, which makes them more charitable in return.
Common Misconceptions about Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Many people falsely believe that CCRCs are like nursing homes or retirement homes from years ago — meaning very institutional, highly medical, and lacking in privacy. This perception could not be further from the truth. Modern CCRCs, including Cornwall Manor, are dedicated to creating pleasant, livable environments tailored to the needs and wants of the older adults who live there.
Other misconceptions include the ideas that:
- Life in a CCRC is lonely, boring and uneventful. In reality, there is a myriad of social activities and opportunities to make new friends.
- Living in a CCRC is immensely more expensive than receiving the care and assistance you may need in your own home. In reality, you should be valuing the intangible benefits of living in a CCRC, including accessibility to a caring staff, the social aspect of living in a community among people with shared interests and health care when you need it as soon as you need it. When you add up the costs for home maintenance, taxes, utilities and other home ownership expenses, a CCRC can actually be comparable or even less expensive than remaining in your home.
- Living in a CCRC should be a last resort that only becomes a viable option once you become too sick to live on your own. If you wait too long to research your own CCRC, it could turn into a situation where the decision about where you live is made by someone other than you. Your future is your choice — don’t delay.
The fact is that most people who opt to live in a CCRC typically do not go on to regret their decision. One study, conducted by LCS, a firm tasked with developing, marketing and managing senior living communities, found that feelings of stress, low confidence and self-esteem, worry and strain all declined within the first six months of moving into a CCRC.
“One year after moving to a CCRC the residents who participated in the research were happier and healthier than those who had remained at home,” the paper concludes. “These findings help validate the conviction that people who choose to live in senior living communities can experience greater well-being — and greater levels of happiness.”
Questions to Ask Before Deciding on a Continuing Care Retirement Community
Before deciding which CCRC is right for you, there are eight major questions you should plan to ask. Cornwall Manor, a senior living community facility in the Central Pennsylvania area, providing quality housing and health care for older adults, may be the right community for you. Below are the questions you should ask:
- What are the costs?
- What is the longevity and turnover of staff?
- Is the CCRC a not-for-profit or for-profit facility?
- How is the CCRC doing financially?
- What do the entrance and monthly fees cover?
- How long has the CCRC been operating?
- What happens if your spouse needs a different level of care than you do?
- What health care is available on-site?
Choosing the Right Continuing Care Retirement Community
A CCRC should be just that — a community. Living in a community offers a whole host of benefits for older adults, including worry-free living and maintenance, socialization and entertainment, and assistance when and if you need it.
Cornwall Manor, located near Lancaster, PA, offers personal care, which is a thoughtful combination of independence and personal attention to help residents through each day as their needs may change. This is particularly helpful for people who need additional personal care services they cannot receive at home.
Cornwall Manor also offers the following skilled nursing care services in a new resident-focused health center:
- Short-term rehabilitation/physical therapy to help older adults regain their speech and motor functions
- Custodial care for older adults who need help eating, bathing and dressing
- General care for wounds that require dressing changes, cleaning and antibiotic administration
- Skilled nursing care for residents with serious illnesses, injuries or infections
You can expect that a non-profit continuing care retirement community like Cornwall Manor is committed to your care. It is our mission to help our residents lead a happier and healthier life. We live by the following values:
As a not-for-profit CCRC, Cornwall Manor’s mission statement is:
“Cornwall Manor offers diversified and high-quality housing, health care and related services for individuals to achieve a retirement and aging lifestyle they find fulfilling in a secure, caring and Christian environment.”
The absolute best way to get a sense of the community and the life you can expect to lead is to take a trip and meet with staff members, talk to other residents about their experiences and enjoy a meal in the community.
Schedule your visit today at Cornwall Manor to learn more about this exceptional not-for-profit CCRC.