Free isn’t something often associated with senior communities, but for certain qualifying residents, that is the case with a local nonprofit residential senior living organization.
Holland Home is one of many facilities in the Grand Rapids area that offer a Lifecare program to accommodate senior citizens who no longer have the financial resources to afford long-term care at their facilities.
The program is financially supported by charity care, which includes donations and Holland Home revenue, according to David Tiesenga, Holland Home chief financial and development officer.
Tiesenga said approximately $5 million to $6 million is given to the organization by donors each year. He said Holland Home’s revenue is about $60 million per year and about 10 percent of its revenues, in combination with the donations, are used to sustain the care of about 15 to 16 percent of its approximately 1,600 residents who are mostly 55 and older and are no longer able to financially support themselves at Holland Home.
Many of those residents either voluntarily decided to live in a senior residential community or found themselves there because their families were no longer able to take care of them.
Holland Home has three separate campuses — Breton Woods, Raybrook, and Fulton — and each offers five levels of care that include independent living, in-home care, rehabilitation centers, assisted living, memory care and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.
Residents must pay an entry fee upon signing the organization’s continuing care agreement.
Depending on the level of care, residents are required to pay a monthly fee that is estimated to be between $73 to $340 per day. Once residents’ assets are exhausted, the Lifecare program kicks in to cover medical and living expenses.
Tiesenga said the continuing care agreement prioritizes residents who need further advanced care over newcomers. If a resident’s health begins to deteriorate, he or she will be placed in a higher level of care, such as an assisted living or rehabilitation center, before prospective new residents.
Not everyone qualifies for the Lifecare program based on their assets or because they receive Medicaid, which pays for a portion of their senior living care, Tiesenga said. People who are in assisted living and memory care facilities and have no income assets or Medicaid to pay for their care are more likely to benefit from the program, he added.
According to Senior Living, an online resource that educates seniors and caregivers, about 47 million seniors ages 65 and older live in the United States. That number is expected to more than double by 2065 to 98 million.
The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation estimated 1 in 5 adults receives Medicaid. The others are people who aren’t eligible for Medicaid but lack the financial resources to take care of their own health, which is where a program like Lifecare comes in.
Holland Home has protections in place to avoid abuse of the system, Tiesenga said, so residents cannot go out and spend their money frivolously.
“If you happen to choose to go out and give all of your money away and come back asking for help, we do have things in our agreement that protects us from that because we do go to donors who support us through our charitable mission to provide this care for people who have run out of resources. We want to go to them and say we have people who have legitimately spent their money getting care,” Tiesenga said.