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Considering the ARC? Here are Four Key Aspects of the Decision Process.

October 28, 2022

The Army Residence Community (ARC) is a popular retirement living choice among older adults who live fully, or mostly, independently today but desire to live in a setting whereby long-term care services are available if needed in the future. Choosing the right community is an important often complex decision process. Here are four key aspects of the decision process:

Contract Details:

There are a number of different types of residency contracts available. The ARC requires an entry fee and monthly fees. These fees are impacted by factors such as the size of the home or apartment, location, available services and other amenities. Yet the fees are also based, in part, on what you will pay for assisted living and healthcare services when needed.

Some residency contracts state that your monthly fees will remain relatively level over the course of your lifetime, except for inflationary increases, regardless of whether you are living independently or require care services. Other residency contracts may require a smaller entry fee and possibly even lower monthly fees, but if you ever require care services your monthly fees will increase to reflect the market cost of care at that time. Still yet, there are other contracts that are essentially a blend of these two.

In addition to the types of residency contracts available, many providers also offer refundable entry fee contracts. These contracts essentially pay back some portion of the entry fee if the resident moves out or at death. The tradeoff: entry fees are almost always higher for a refundable entry fee contract and may be contingent on the resale of your residence.

Financial Stability of the ARC

The financial stability of the ARC will determine if it is in position to fulfill its long-term commitment to provide housing and health care to residents for life. Do your research to learn about the ARC’s occupancy ratio, history of operations, financial ratios and the experience and expertise of its management. Consult with a financial or tax professional for additional guidance.

Lifestyle

Location, culture, programs, and other services and amenities should align with your personal preferences. After all, the ARC is where you are going to live and you want to be happy there. Consider whether the lifestyle offered will help your thrive in mind, body, and spirit.

It may be wise for you to stay a night or two in a guest suite to get a sense of what it might be like to live at the ARC. Observe whether residents seem involved in the community and respected by staff? Are activities mainly resident-driven or staff-driven? This can indicate the vitality of the resident base, or lack thereof. Is there up-to-date technology, including wi-fi in common areas and in the residences? Also, are meals only available at scheduled times or are their flexible meal time and menus?

Health care

Although most people are attracted to the ARC by the independent living features, the ultimate reason for considering the ARC and paying an entry fee is the peace of mind that comes with having priority access to healthcare. Here are some key questions to ask:

  • Does the ARC appear to take pride in the care that makes available to residents?
  • What sets the ARC apart from other providers?
  • If there is a record of complaints against the ARC, can you review it? If skilled nursing care is offered in a Medicare-certified facility (versus private pay only), consult the CMS star rating on Medicare.gov.
  • Has the ARC Health Care received any special awards or special recognition for quality of care?
  • Ask about staff turnover in the ARC Health Care. A high turnover rate may indicate an unhappy staff, which could translate into poor care delivery.
older couple looking at financial paperwork
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