Tough Choices

Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the June 23, 2004

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Princeton Windrows: Hybrid CCRC

Princeton Windrows, adjacent to Princeton Forrestal Village, is a

hybrid between active adult and continuing care retirement communities

(CCRCs) and represents the latest trend in senior housing. This model,

an equity-based condominium, is called "an unbundled CCRC" and it

differs from the usual CCRCs because the residents own their

apartments, villas, or two-story homes.

Unlike the active adult condominium settlements such as Rossmoor and

Clearbrook, it has a dining room and requires residents to purchase 30

meals a month, lunches or dinners. (They do not need to eat in the

dining room daily; they can use the meal tickets for entertaining.)

The monthly fee also includes two hours of housekeeping weekly and

free transportation services.

Windrows is also different because no upgrades to assisted living or

nursing homes are included. Windrows owners have priority access to

area nursing homes, and if someone needs to move permanently a higher

level of care, they can sell the unit and move. Nevertheless, a

registered nurse is on duty seven days a week, and she is available

for triage services, blood pressure tests, etc. Other amenities

include tennis courts, indoor swimming pool, and a health club.

CareMatrix developed Windrows plus the adjacent skilled nursing center

and an assisted living center that are owned now by Lehman Brothers

and known as the Pavilions at Forrestal. The independent housing

complex, Windrows, opened four years ago. When CareMatrix went

bankrupt, a subsidiary of Bank of America took the unsold properties,

and now they are owned by Windrows New Jersey Holdings LLC. Springton

Development, the new property manager, has taken the unsold units off

the market so that it can make improvements.

But some previously owned properties are on the market. A villa,

currently on sale for $450,000, would require a monthly fee of $1,114,

(plus $450 for a second person), a condo fee of $1,188, and the bills

for utilities and cable would be extra.

A studio apartment at Windrows is 620 square feet, which is about the

same size as one of the one bedroom apartments at Stonebridge. A

studio is currently on sale for $161,000. It would have a monthly

facilities fee of $941 for one person, a condo fee of $298, a utility

bill of $58, and a cable bill of $26.

At 40 percent occupancy, with 94 units occupied, the median age at

Windrows is 77, and the oldest resident is 100. The female to male

ratio is 87 to 55, and just over half of the residents are married

couples. About 70 percent of the residents had lived in Princeton or

have a connection with Princeton University, and one cohort of 14

families came en masse from Long Island.

At Windrows, anyone who runs out of money or is too sick to stay has

the option of selling and taking their full money out of what they put

into it. Charles Mooney, senior vice president at Presbyterian Homes,

thinks the market is shifting toward an equity model. "We do not sell

an equity-based product, but we are looking at that," he says.

Princeton Windrows, 2000 Windrows Drive, Princeton

Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. Sherry Wagner, executive director.

609-514-0001; fax, 609-514-0005.

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Tough Choices

The U.S. 1 Health and Fitness Directory, enclosed with this issue of

the newspaper, has listings for elder care choices, including CCRCs,

Nursing Services, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Nursing Homes.

Consultants to help make the choices are listed under Elder Care

Assistance. Here are more detailed explanation of some choices:

Active adult communities have numerous amenities and activities, but

they do not offer meals or health care. Units cost from $100,000 to

more than $300,000, plus there is a monthly maintenance fee. For

instance Clearbrook, has heated and unheated outdoor pools, tennis

courts, exercise room, a clubhouse with ceramics, billiards, woodshop,

and art, a 1,000-seat theater, a 9-hole golf course, and a grocery

shuttle.

Founded 40 years ago, Rossmoor has a heated outdoor pool, tennis,

bocce, croquet, shuffleboard, an 18-hole golf course, an exercise

room, a clubhouse with a woodshop and ceramics rooms, and a ballroom.

It also has a medical building on the premises, an in-house

maintenance crew, and an express bus to New York City.

Continuing care retirement communities offer amenities, activities,

meals, health care, and a guaranteed place in a skilled nursing or

assisted living facility on the premises. Some contracts bundle in the

health care and the upgrades, and some require additional payments.

Entrance fees start at about $200,000 and monthly fees in New Jersey

average $2,500.

New Jersey has licensed 23 CCRCs, and all three near Princeton –

Meadow Lakes, Monroe Village, and Stonebridge at Montgomery – were

built by Presbyterian Homes. (Princeton Windrows, a hybrid or

"unbundled" CCRC, does not include health care and is not associated

with a particular assisted living or skilled nursing facility.

Home health care. Round-the-clock home health aides can help some

elders stay in their own homes. Live-in coverage, seven days a week,

can average $4,500 to $5,000 per month, says Bonnie Kramer of Elder

Care Solutions.

Assisted living facilities, such as Buckingham Place, Bear Creek, and

the Pavilions at Forrestal, are for those who do not wish to – or

cannot – live on their own. The least expensive semiprivate room costs

about $2,500 a month, and the average price for a private room is

about $4,000. Most require about one month’s rent up front as an

entrance fee or community fee. Medicaid will pay, typically, about

$2,430 per month. Some facilities will not accept Medicaid patients

but will keep patients who qualify for Medicaid after they get there.

Assisted living facilities may have a strict definition of whom they

will serve, but this definition can change over time, as the

population ages in place. Patients who need extra care can hire

companions or round-the-clock home health aides and save $2,000 or

$3,000 or month over the cost of a skilled nursing home.

"Assisted living can serve anyone, from someone who is independent and

drives but wants to kick back a notch and not cook or clean, to

borderline nursing home patients," says Paul O’Brien, former director

of an assisted living facility who is now a senior care consultant.

The typical admission is an 82-year-old female who is no longer safe

cooking and may need assistance with dressing and monitoring

medication.

Most admissions are "event driven" rather than the result of advance

planning. Something happens – a fall, an accident – that makes it

obvious the elderly person cannot continue to live at home alone.

Skilled nursing costs about $7,000 per month for a semiprivate room.

Patients who need a respirator or feeding tubes would require skilled

nursing. Some assisted living facilities have skilled nursing

sections, and all CCRCs offer skilled nursing.

Boarding Homes, labeled in this directory as Nursing Homes, offer only

residential care. For instance, the Featherbed Lane Rest Home in

Hopewell charges $1,200 a month for a private room or $1,000 for a

room shared with several other people. This includes three meals a day

and basic laundry.


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