Is Piper Shores an Affordable Retirement Living Option for Seniors?

posted on December 11th, 2014 in Category: Blog

Since its inception in 2001, Piper Shores has been committed to providing affordable retirement living options for a broad range of the seniors. Yet, persistent perceptions remain that Piper Shores is affordable to only a narrow segment of today’s senior population. Here are some of the facts you may wish to consider in determining whether or not Piper Shores is affordable for you.

Q. What does Piper Shores mean by ‘affordable?’

A. When Piper Shores was established as Maine’s first nonprofit lifecare retirement community, the vision of the board of directors was to build a community that was affordable to a broad segment of Greater Portland residents. This desire to attract a cross-section of people was reflected in the physical design of Piper Shores featuring smaller apartments as well as larger apartments and cottages. While there is no typical resident, Piper Shores was envisioned to be a place where schoolteachers or nurses could enjoy lifecare retirement living. If they had a home to sell, they could use the proceeds to pay a 90% refundable entrance fee for a unit at Piper Shores, and their pensions could take care of their monthly fees.

Read about a resident’s perspective on affordability.

Q. How much does it actually cost to move into Piper Shores?

A. When considering a move to Piper Shores, residents pay an entrance fee for their apartment, a one-time lifecare fee as well as a monthly service fee. Let’s look at each of these costs in relation to their value to residents.

  • Entrance fee. Most incoming residents at Piper Shores pay an entrance fee for their apartment or cottage that is 90% refundable to the resident or to their estate and the end of their occupancy, once the unit has been resold. In 2013, entrance fees ranged from $168,000 to $280,700 for studio and one-bedroom apartments and more for two-bedroom apartments and cottages. Piper Shores also offers an amortized balance entrance fee that is even more affordable than the traditional 90% refundable option.
  • Lifecare fee. Upon entering Piper Shores, residents pay a one-time lifecare fee of $30,000. The lifecare fee entitles provides independent living residents with access to long-term care – including assisted living and skilled nursing care, as the need arises – all for one predictable monthly fee. As a qualified medical expense, the one-time lifecare fee may be tax deductible (as permitted by the Internal Revenue Service), furthering lowering your actual cost of long-term care.

To learn more about the benefits of lifecare, consider the following articles:

  • Monthly fee. Piper Shores’ residents pay a monthly fee that is based upon their apartment or cottage type. Monthly fees for individual independent living residents range from $1,748-$2,680 for studio and one-bedroom apartments. A portion of the monthly fee is deductible as a qualified medical expense. So for 2013, an individual apartment resident was able to deduct 25.6% as a qualified medical expense on their federal income tax return, furthering lowering the after tax monthly cost of living at Piper Shores. With that monthly fee, which is projected to rise between 2-4% annually in line with inflation, Piper Shores residents are entitled to a variety of benefits including:
    • A community of neighbors on 138-acres with beautiful ocean views
    • Access to assisted living or skilled nursing care, as needed for the same monthly fee
    • One meal per day in our dining room or café
    • Weekly cleaning services with change of linens
    • Access to the fitness center and pool
    • Parking
    • Snow removal
    • Home maintenance including all repairs, appliances and light bulbs
    • Scheduled transportation services
    • Health and wellness clinic
    • WiFi access on the main campus
  • Many more amenities
  • Many planned activities

Q. Might you provide an actual example of how much it costs?

A. Here is an example of what it might cost an individual moving into a studio apartment at Piper Shores:

  • $168,000 – entrance fee, 90% of which is refundable at the end of occupancy
  • $30,000 – one time entrance fee, 100% of which may be deductible on your federal tax return
  • $1,748 – monthly fee, with 25.5% of that tax deductible as a qualified medical expense in 2013.
  • NOTE: A studio apartment at Piper Shores represents the lower cost option available. Higher fees apply to larger apartments and cottages. Second-person fees also apply.

Q. How much does Assisted Living cost at Piper Shores?

A. The cost of assisted living at Piper Shores is included in one-time lifecare fee and the monthly fee. Consider that the average cost of assisted living in Maine is $4,500 according to a 2012 Genworth survey, and you begin to see the value of lifecare at Piper Shores. When you consider comparable assisted living communities in Southern Maine where monthly costs rise to an average of $6,900 per month, according to an independent survey conducted by Piper Shores in 2014, the value of Piper Shores is even greater.

Q. Are there financial qualifiers to move into Piper Shores?

A. Yes, to move into Piper Shores, residents must have assets that are 2x the entrance fee and show annual income of 1.5x the monthly fee. So, in our example above, a resident moving into a studio apartment would be required to show assets of $336,000 and monthly income of $2,622.

Q. What if I come upon financial hardship once I move into Piper Shores? Will I be required to leave?

A. Piper Shores is committed to the long-term wellbeing of its residents. As a nonprofit lifecare retirement community, Piper Shores’ policy is not to terminate a residency solely by reason of the financial inability of the resident to pay the total monthly fee. If the facts are such that financial assistance is needed, Piper Shores will advance funds to help the resident pay the monthly fee. This policy is governed by section 8.2 of the Residency Agreement, and complete details are available upon request.