Why Spectrum Retirement Prefers Charging Residents Month-to-Month

For many seniors, making the decision to move into a retirement community is a big commitment—from a monetary standpoint, as well as an emotional one.

Older adults may be wary to pay the hefty entrance fees associated with continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) or to commit to a senior living community for a year or more, but they might find a month-to-month leasing agreement an attractive option.

That’s how Spectrum Retirement Communities sees things. The Denver-based company recently opened its fifth Illinois community, Green Oaks Senior Living, in the Village of Green Oaks, Illinois—and the community, like all of Spectrum’s properties, will charge residents month-to-month and not require a further lease agreement.

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The month-to-month model

Spectrum operates close to 40 communities across 12 states. All locations utilize the private pay, month-to-month payment model, Lesley Durkan, Spectrum’s regional vice president of operations, told Senior Housing News.

Traditional CCRC payment models require residents to invest large sums of money for a long-term commitment, and are laid out in “very complicated contracts that sometimes are extremely complicated for seniors to terminate,” explained Durkan.

What’s more, many senior living communities require that residents sign a lease agreement saying they’ll live there for a year, like a traditional apartment landlord would request of his or her tenant.

The month-to-month model, meanwhile, is beneficial because it affords older adults leeway in several aspects.

“This is a population that has changing needs. Sometimes, needs are changing on a day-to-day basis,” said Durkan. “With month-to-month rental, not only is the resident able to have flexibility of not having that long-term, large-scale financial commitment, but we are also able to move dynamically and meet those needs.”

Individuals interested in renting at Green Oaks pay a $2,500 community fee, which is fully refundable until they move in, she explained. After move in, the fee is utilized for administrative fees and maintenance of the community.

Rents start at $2,750 per month for an independent living apartment, according to Durkan. Residents pay rent upon moving in and they receive a statement around the 25th of the month. An auto-draft payment option is also available to make monthly payments easier, she added.

While the company hopes residents end up choosing to stay for an extended period of time, a 30-day written notice is all that is needed for them to elect to move out.

“There is no real estate to sell, there’s no administrative process, it’s very simple,” said Durkan. “There’s a 30-day written notice and that allows the resident to break the contract. It really gives the resident so much flexibility.”

A ‘flagship’ location

Spectrum’s 200,000 square-foot community in the Village of Green Oaks, Illinois, features 200 apartments varying in size, from studios to two-bedroom/two-bathroom residences, according to a press release. The community offers a range of care, including independent living, assisted living and memory care apartments.

The $47 million community sits on 15 acres on the site formerly occupied by Jamaican Gardens Nursery, which experienced a fire roughly four years ago, according to local media. In honor of the site’s history, Spectrum has installed numerous gardens and two lakes that offer residents a fishing pier built with bricks from the former nursery.

Spectrum President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Kraus considers Green Oaks a “flagship” for the company in the Chicago area and across its portfolio, he explained in a press release.

“I think that Chicago has been a fantastic market for us,” said Durkan. “The five communities that we have exceeded our expectations.”

Currently, Spectrum has two communities under construction in the south suburbs of Illinois, one in Burr Ridge and the other in Palos Heights.

Written by Carlo Calma

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