Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The waiting list opportunity

My mother lives in a retirement village in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. It’s a community composed of seniors living in single-level duplexes spread over a several-acre campus. There are wide open green spaces, room to garden in front and back of most units, and a central building they call the “Ad building” (like on a college campus) where a lovely library, dining hall and activity spaces are provided.

My mother and father had been on the waiting list for 2 years before my father’s death. It took us several months after that, and many nagging phone calls, to finally get my mother to the top of the list and into an available unit.

Today, the village is sitting with several vacancies.

It’s not alone, either. According to the Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal Sentinel today’s “double whammy of a sluggish home market and depressed stock prices” have left many seniors unable to make the move. It has also opened up space in the Milwaukee Catholic Home, a place that typically had up to 40 people on a wait list.

For seniors and their families that can make the move, this offers a unique window of opportunity to select the retirement or assisted living community that fits perfectly – with no waiting list delay.

Some seniors are renting their homes to younger family members while they wait for the market to improve so they can sell.

Others are simply pricing their homes to sell, even in this economy.

If you’re ready to make the move, you not only may find that you have a great selection of communities to choose from, but you may also have some unique bargaining power. Some communities are waiving their entrance fees, or allowing the person to defer paying them until their home sells. Others are offering move-in incentives. Look for incentives that help you defray the cost of moving your furniture and paying the first months’ expenses, as an example.

My mom wasn’t sure she was ready to move into the retirement village after my father died, but she knew she couldn’t stay in their farm-home alone. She moved, somewhat reluctantly, but now she says, without a doubt, “It’s the best move I could have made.”

It was the right time, to the right place for her. Perhaps this economic time will offer your loved one the right time to move into the right place for the next phase of their life.

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