The Top 3 Reasons to Choose a New Construction Senior Living Community
As a qualifier, and to put my cards on the table, let me start by saying that my full time job DOES involve a brand new, delicious building that I am head over heels in love with. In fact, that's her to the left, (or above if you're reading this on your phone). Isn't she pretty? You can click the picture to check it out... So, I am ANYTHING but unbiased. That being said, I've earned this bias by working in all sorts of communities, and consulting on all sorts of different solutions to those looking for senior housing and care over the past ten years.
Additionally, I’ll add that there are absolutely solutions where those other options are the best choice. Each scenario is certainly unique, just like each potential resident and their family. But if you’re considering all the options, I’d like to at least argue my case for why choosing a new building is such a great move in so many of those scenarios.
I’ll break it down to a few categories- money, time, and opportunity. You’ll see what I mean.
1. You’ll likely have a chance to save money.
There are a couple calculations that you need to do when you decide that you or your loved one might either need a senior living community or some help in the home (home care). Usually, in my experience, the first question that folks have when weighing the options is cost. The truth is, this varies wildly based on where you live and what your needs are. As a way to provide an example, below is a breakdown of some monthly costs you’ll want to consider, and what they cost around me (Philly suburbs), assuming your home is paid for (no mortgage) and you are considering personal care communities or Assisted Living. Keep in mind this is only an example, and prices will depend on many different factors.
Again, I want to qualify this by saying that each scenario will be very different, however, this same calculation is one I helped a family with the other day while weighing the cost benefit analysis of each scenario.
This calculation is for any senior living community, though, not just a new building. The financial benefit of getting in on the ground floor (pun intended) of a new building is that most companies offer pre-leasing special rates for the first folks that leave reservation deposits. This means that not only do you lock in a lower rate, but any rent increases in your future will be based off of a lower rate as well. Cha-ching.
2. You'll give yourself time to adjust.
Here’s the truth, and I’ve written it here before- moving to a senior living community is a BIG change, and just like any big change, it brings BIG stress. Not only does this have all the regular stress bells and whistles as the other moves in your life (packing, unpacking, change of address, etc), it also has the added emotional baggage of being a move that many people don’t want to make, or that they think of as a loss. I’ll get to why and how to avoid that thought in a minute, but when it comes down to it, that’s really the message our society sends.
However, by choosing a new community, not only do you have more time to pack, you give yourself time to get used to the idea, start picturing yourself in your new home, and to slowly meet the staff and other residents that are in the same boat. Most companies do a great job of establishing a “Founders Club” or “Charter Members” group for the first residents that deposit, hosting monthly functions to get them together, as well as providing special perks to those that were the first to get in.
3. You'll build your lifestyle and your home.
By far, the most important reason I choose to do what I do, and the reason I am in love with my job working for a new community, is that there is an opportunity here for our residents that is unlike anywhere else, at a time in their lives where they desperately deserve opportunity.
When I sit down with prospective residents or their families, one of the first things I ask is how they see themselves (or their loved one) feeling useful and important at our community. If they only want a pretty building with a calendar of programs and amenities too long to list, they’ll probably love our building, but not our community.
We know that as we get older, we lose more and more of the things that make us feel useful, valuable, and important. A brand new community (done correctly) gives residents not only a sense of purpose by identifying a role, but also a chance to determine what their home and lifestyle will be.
When you are a part of the founding of a new community, you have the opportunity to imagine a lifestyle and create it. A well run community leans heavily on the residents to determine the culture, the engagement, and the direction. Unlike an established community, the residents that move into empty apartments get to write a story together, rather than trying to fit into one that is already written.
Again, I know I am biased on this topic. There are many great communities out there who have been around forever and could be a great fit for you or your loved one. My recommendation is to visit both options and sit down with their team to see what culture and story will be the best fit, because ultimately this has the greatest ability to determine satisfaction and purpose.