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Luxury Assisted Living & Senior Living

Would you like to live at a full-service luxury senior resort as a permanent guest?  That’s what luxury assisted living and luxury senior living facilities offer.  There is a growing trend to offer this high-end option to savvy seniors and those approaching their senior years.

What is the difference between a luxury Assisted Living Facility and a Senior Living Community?

An assisted living facility “assists” residents on a daily basis with support services. This can include help with dressing, bathing, eating, taking medications, and mobility help.  Facilities are usually apartment style so residents are close, but this is not an intensive medical facility.  Residents here still live independently, but have help.

A senior living community is for seniors who are active, healthy, and still capable of fully living independently.  You might hear them referred to as active senior or independent living communities.  Age restricted communities would also fall under senior living.  The key to this classification is the focus on residents having less worry and labor to upkeep homes and yards.

What to expect from a luxury assisted living facility?

Good average-priced assisted living facilities address your needs.

Luxury assisted living facilities address your desires and indulgences.

Luxury is described as a state of great comfort.  By definition then, a luxury assisted living facility exceeds just meeting the basics of life.  Luxury senior facilities provide excess comfort and enjoyment, as well as providing for individual indulgences.

Luxury assisted living facilities or luxury senior living communities are much like resorts, but they provide that level of comfort as a permanent home.  Luxury in assisted living and senior living facilities can best be measured in the amount of extras that are provided, above and beyond the basics.  A luxury facility recognizes how to indulge the senses and cater to diverse interests.

A luxury facility offers a higher level of service to residents and visitors.  The way that older adults are treated is key.  Customer service is the staff’s primary skill and goal.

The staff must supply superior service to exceed the basic.  This applies to their demeanor, their habits, and their qualifications.  These are the people who set policy on programs and operations.  The staff makes decisions on what services are provided, including the caliber of lecturers or food preparation, or providing complimentary transportation, or concierge services.  All of these services play a role in the perception and enjoyment of a luxury experience as a resident or visitor.

A lot of thoughtful planning goes into running a luxury senior living community.  People can easily take for granted the little things that add to their wellbeing when they aren’t openly obvious.  The staff protects residents and visitors from harmful chemicals, uses bio degradable, low VOC products to reduce irritation for asthma sufferers and that are safe for pets.  Also unseen, but playing a part in the upkeep and efficiency is the choice of building products that are mold and stain resistant and easy to clean.  New or newly renovated luxury senior facilities often have high contrast color and patterns in decorating for aging eyes to differentiate fixtures and surroundings.  Some even have hallway lighting that changes throughout the day.  Morning and day have brighter lights to stimulate alertness.  Evening and night time hour lighting becomes more dimmed to encourage sleep.

High-end senior living facilities have a higher budget to spend.  There are very good average-priced assisted living facilities that use their budgets to provide basic services and then use what’s left over to offer what they can.  That might be a monthly outing or an activity of some sort for the enjoyment of residents.  Higher luxury budgets allow elderly care facilities to invest in the increased frequency of activities and offer higher quality experiences.

An important concern of the aging, their families, and caregivers is preventing cognitive decline.  Surprisingly, cognitive deterioration begins as early as 30-40 years of age, but it isn’t often recognized until around 60 years of age, right around the time of retirement.  Stimulating the mind and senses can play an important part in keeping the mind active and healthy at any age, but especially when seniors are about to or have left the work force and their daily routines are less regimented by a work schedule.

The mind is stimulated and senses are indulged to a greater extent at a luxury senior living facility.  The availability of a greater number and variety of activities allows older adults to choose what appeals to them.  A higher level of learning opportunities by lecturers or talks with experts leads to more thoughtful contemplation.  More enjoyable entertainment experiences can thrill the senses as residents appreciate the quality of the presentation.

Luxury assisted living facilities offer greater food choices.  Often this includes gourmet cuisine and they are undoubtedly homemade at the facility and made to order.  Sumptuous menu offerings are made up of a good standard of quality ingredients, usually locally sourced with care and free from hormones or antibiotics.  Close attention is paid to maximum flavor and nutritional value.

If you’ve wandered into luxury neighborhoods you’ve probably noticed something in common about them.  They’re beautiful and immaculate, from the wood trim down to the cut of the grass.  Luxury senior facilities are no different.

Luxury assisted living facilities tend to be on expansive lots of land, depending on the area, especially when incorporating golf course privileges.  This provides an invitation to stroll down winding walking paths to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, another positive attribute for maintaining physical and mental health.

Depending on the facility, outdoor activities might mean that golf or putting greens are available.  Maybe there are tennis courts, but there is almost always an in-ground pool.  Swimming is recognized as one of the most beneficial exercises for the aging because it is such low impact to the body and it’s an activity that accommodates any skill level.

Luxurious senior facilities’ grounds are usually well-kept and beautiful.  There usually are multiple beautiful flower gardens to appreciate and enjoy.  Gardens are inherently calming surroundings and are scientifically proven to foster more positive emotions.

Architecture in luxury senior living facilities is often grand and expansive.  This grandeur and sophistication aids in the appreciation of the luxurious experience.  High ceilings in large rooms provide a feeling of freedom with ample space to avoid feeling confined.  Large windows provide ample natural light which helps with mental wellbeing and general happiness and optimism.

In an urban setting where space is more limited, at a minimum, high-end senior living communities usually have a large courtyard for residents to gather and mingle.  This can also be used for eating together or enjoying some fresh air.  The availability of a central location helps provide the feeling of community among residents.  Inpir Manhattan is a new facility under construction in 2017 on New York’s Upper East Side will feature a “sky park” on the 16th floor featuring 20 foot trees and views of the East River.

Other amenities that are standardly available include salons and spas, state-of-the-art fitness centers with exercise classes lead by experts, theaters for movies, art studios, libraries, grocery shopping and delivery, dog walking and pet care and transportation services.  24-hour concierge service is considered standard. Some example of things you will find strictly in luxury assisted living communities include:

  • Belmont Village, Westwood, CA offers weekly lectures from retired UCLA professors
  • Atria Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens, NY holds over 200 social events per month
  • Sarasota Bay Club in Florida simulcasts concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra

Some popular luxury assisted living destinations include California - Los Angeles, Orlando, Orange County; New York – NYC and Manhattan; Dallas, Texas; Florida – Miami and Orlando. There are also many other popular destinations that have a number of luxury senior living communities built there.

What do luxury assisted living facilities cost?

All these perks come with a price tag and it isn’t cheap.

The average American monthly mortgage payment is just over $1,061.  A recent Genworth Financial study found that the average monthly payment for an assisted living facility is $3,500 for a single bedroom single occupancy.  This is a significant jump in costs in the monthly budget.  Specialized facilities for memory care for dementia or Alzheimer’s are even higher with an average of $6,020 per month.  This is a major concern when budgeting for retirement years.

As with all real estate investments, pricing and values differ depending on location.  The states with the lowest median cost for assisted living were North Carolina and Utah at $3,000.  Other factors include the location, type of residence, size of residence, and the type of services requested or needed.

Along with everything else pertaining to luxury, the price tag is higher also.  A luxury assisted living facility ranges from $5,000 to $9,500 per month.  The new Inspir Manhattan high-end senior living facility is estimated to charge $20,000 per month on average due to its location and the demand for luxury living in the New York area.

The per-month costs do not include the upfront cost to buy into the facility.  Residents pay a one-time initiation fee that ranges from $100,000 to over $1,000,000, but the current average is $250,000.  Spouses are an extra charge, but usually at a reduced rate.  This buy-in fee is usually at least 50% reimbursed to residents who move out or paid to the beneficiaries of a deceased resident. Here are some examples of entrance fees charged by luxury senior living communities:

  • Vi at Palo Alto is a high-end senior living community offering a state-of-the-art fitness center, library, salon, spa, and a wellness center staffed by registered nurses.  $5,100 per month for 1 bedroom with den.  One time entrance fee starting at $1.1 million.  As personal function ability declines, access to assisted living and nursing services are available at discounted rates without leaving home.
  • Edgemere is a nonprofit continuing care retirement community CCRC in Dallas.  They charge a one-time entry fee of $1,150,000 with monthly costs from $3,150 to $6,734.  90% of that entry fee is returned to a resident when moving out or returned to the estate of a deceased resident.
  • Trilogy at Redmond Ridge outside Seattle is a “green” luxury senior living community.  Homes are built from sustainable wood and eco-friendly materials and range from $357,000 to $719,000.  Monthly fees are $198 which includes use of 32,000 square foot club house offering things such as a spa, Tai Chi classes, as well as a golf club and nature path.

How can you afford luxury senior living?

Many residents of luxury senior living facilities have been wealthy throughout life.  Perhaps it was inheritance, a successful career, or smart investing decisions that funded their lifestyle.

It’s estimated that 12% of all the senior population can afford the costs of a luxury assisted living facility home.  12% is a relatively small percentage of seniors that can afford these costs, but it is an attainable goal.  As with many other aspects of life, those who plan for this stage of life usually come out ahead.  Budgeting for this senior lifestyle requires careful planning years in advance.

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  It’s a tried and true motto.  38% of professional caregivers are concerned about seniors maintaining access to affordable housing.  Many have lived in their homes for over 20 years and might not have any plans to move, but life doesn’t always go as planned. 

You should discuss your ideas and plans for your retirement years with a financial advisor.  Knowing what is available can help you communicate your vision of your future so you can develop and execute a plan to achieve your vision.  Your future is coming whether you plan or not.

For some, retirement represents a lifelong investment path.  Years of hard work and sacrifice to attain the comfortable, even luxurious fruits of their labor.  Many residents are empty-nesters who cashed out built up home equity.

Luxury senior living facilities are increasing at 4 times the rate of regular construction.  This is market driven.  There is demand for this level of living and that indicates a growing number of people are able to afford it.

How do decide which luxury assisted living facility is right for me?

Per month costs vary greatly with the amount of services and environment that is requested.  These are permanent residents that are important investments.  They require careful consideration of what is important to the prospective resident.

Do you need the services of an assisted living facility or would they be helpful?  Does the senior living community offer assisted living services if needed in the future?  What programs interest you?  What location would you prefer?  Is there a facility close to family or work?  Who do you want as your neighbors?

Wealthy individuals have the ability to pursue what is important to them.  Residents of these luxury senior living facilities have probably lead a lifetime of valuing their health and wellbeing, with an appreciation of enjoyment as a natural reward.  They are accustomed to a particular way of life and there’s no reason that this needs to stop as they age.

Prioritizing the mental and physical wellbeing is a priceless indulgence.  Those who are able attend to those needs truly are living a luxurious life in their senior years.