Long Term Care Insurance

The financial landscape of long term care is changing. People are paying out of pocket, using home equity, hybrid insurance plans and more. There are many reasons traditional long term care (LTC) insurance is a fading fad. Long term care insurance is designed to cover the costs associated with long term care services.

This traditional insurance supports the costs associated with custodial care in a variety of settings, including residential assisted living. It covers the cost of many RAL homes, community organizations and other choice facilities that provide 24/7 care. Unfortunately, private health insurance usually does not cover the cost of assisted living.

This is why LTC policies thrive because they reimburse policyholders a daily amount when or if the benefit is needed for care providers. This reimbursement amount is based on a pre-selected limit, which is predetermined by a selected range of care options.

The Cost of a Long Term Care Policy is Based on a Calculated Formula:

  • How old you are when you buy the policy
  • The maximum amount that a policy will pay per day
  • The maximum number of days (years) that a policy will pay
  • And any optional benefits chosen, such as, benefits that increase with inflation

It is better to plan ahead when preparing for LTC policies. If you are in poor health or already receiving long term care services, it is likely that medical underwriting will disqualify you. Seniors who have paid policy premiums on long term care plans for upward of 30 years usually earn a benefit of $100 per day. However, many long term care policies maintain a cost of living increase of 3-4 percent. As a result, some policies payout a daily benefit of $200 – $250, which is roughly $6000 per month. This allows seniors the opportunity to live comfortably in convenient assisted living homes.

Fewer people are purchasing long term care insurance today, however, as insurance companies are steadily raising the premiums and cutting the benefits. In addition, long term care insurance is no longer available with many insurance providers. The need for long term care continues to be in high demand, and people are coming up with creative concepts to cover the expenses.

There are 5 major aspects to keep in mind when making decisions about long term care:

  • Problems with Traditional LTC Policies
  • Options Other Than Insurance
  • Non-Traditional Insurance Strategies
  • Reasons People Perpetually Pay for Traditional LTC Policies
  • Planning Ahead Pays Off

1. Problems with Traditional LTC Policies

“This is a classic story of market failure,” says Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, and the author of Caring for Our Parents. “No one wants to buy insurance, and no one wants to sell it.”

Traditional LTC policies require annual premiums in return for financial assistance “if” needed. The need must call for help with day-to-day activities such as bathing, dressing and eating meals.

Waiting Periods

After a waiting period of about 3 months, the benefits kick in for a maximum period of 3 years’ worth of coverage. For many modern-day seniors, these waiting periods and short term coverage options are not enough to accommodate their final years. The average $160 daily benefits for assisted living care services is no longer enough over a 3-year period.

According to the most recent AARP life expectancy report, the 65 and above age group will increase 89% over the next 20 years. The life expectancy of the 85 and older population will grow 74% during the same period.

People are Living Longer

Therefore, typical terms today require more coverage than traditional policies. In addition, these stand-alone LTC policies have a troublesome history of premium spikes and insurer losses. As a result, sales have fallen sharply.

2. Options Other Than Insurance

Many Americans simply cannot afford the cost of LTC policies. These policy premiums average about $2,700 a year, according to industry research. There are many other options seniors can consider for senior care expenses:

  • Policy discounts for couples are common, typically the savings total about 30% off policies that are purchased separately.
  • Medicaid is an option if your assets are few. Medicaid covers the cost of assisted living for individuals who are impoverished.
  • Personal Savings protect many people from purchasing high premiums by paying for future senior care out of pocket.
  • Home Equity is extremely beneficial for many senior care expenses.
  • Financial Support from children who can be counted on to pitch in is also a consideration.

Keep in mind that individuals who have a family history of dementia are at a higher risk of needing care. That means it is even more important to consider options early on. Strategize to save more by planning early.

3. Non-Traditional Insurance Strategies

As traditional LTC insurance continues to spiral downward, new insurance plans are launching with great success. Perhaps you’ve heard of whole life insurance. Whole life is a type of life insurance contract that provides a lifetime of coverage. Upon the inevitable death of the contract holder, the insurance payout is made to the contract’s beneficiaries.

Most importantly, these policies include a savings component, which means it accumulates a cash value. This cash value is one of the key elements of whole life insurance. As a result, the benefit enables policy holders to draw from a whole life policy for long-term care. Unlike traditional LTC insurance, these policies will return money to your heirs, even if you don’t end up needing long-term care. Also, there are no rate hikes, because you lock in your premium upfront.

Do Your Homework

Since whole life insurance policies are long-term investments, your relationship with the insurance company will literally last a lifetime. Choosing a reputable company with the highest ratings is the key. A company with financial stability and quality customer service are aspects you should search for.

4. Reasons People Perpetually Pay for Traditional LTC Policies

There is a reason some seniors continue paying for traditional LTC policies. If you “only” want cost-effective coverage, traditional LTC insurance is cheaper. However, you run the risk of losing everything if you never need help, which is the nature of many insurances.

On the other hand, whole life policies, often called hybrids, are usually 2-3 times more expensive, offering the same amount in payouts, with different options that limit loses. These policies offer a mixture of payout options and benefits. Ultimately, with hybrid policies, you’re paying extra, specifically as a guarantee of getting money back. Hybrid policies are used as alternative forms of savings, rolling over existing life insurance, and merging them with your annuities. Hybrid policies are more complex. As a result, there remains a small clientele for traditional LTC policies.

5. Planning Ahead Pays Off

At the latest, start looking for insurance in your 50’s or early 60’s. Afterward, premiums rise sharply. As we age, declining health rules out robust coverage. Every year you delay, the premiums will become more expensive. Within a simple one-year age hike, premiums can increase as high as 10%.

It is a savvy strategy to seek independent insurance agents who sell policies from multiple companies, rather than one insurance company. This will afford you a more advanced level of expertise and a wider option of policy choices. And planning ahead will afford you more opportunities to make better choices to benefit your future.

The RALAcademy Solution

There is one more strategy we like to share for those without a long term care insurance policy.

We teach owning and oporating your own assisted living home, that means you have a retirment plan and care plan by living in the home designed to take care of you when the time comes.

If you have more questions about insurance for assisted living, Residential Assisted Living Academy is ready to walk you through the process.

Contact us to learn all the details, from A-Z about the assisted living care industry or to get started in owning one yourself.

Visit www.RALAcademy.com to learn more about the role of LTC insurance on the residential assisted living industry.

Transforming Your Home Into Senior Housing

After The Kids Graduate Then What?

Empty nesters everywhere are making decisions about their homes. Your kids have moved out and now the empty spaces in your home feels far too large.

With all the empty bedrooms and extra living spaces you find yourself wondering what to do.

After living in a home for years, it’s now time to transform your way of thinking about what’s best for you. How will you best benefit from all the empty space without downsizing?

Many homeowners are using this opportunity to get connected to the largest market growth opportunity in a generation.

Did you know that there are 70 million baby boomers, and about 4000 seniors are turning age 85 everyday?

Perhaps yours is the perfect house to conform, transform, convert, or renovate into an assisted living home.

Every home is not senior safe, there are a few factors to consider.

The Assistant Living Network specializes in teaching home owners how to transform homes into senior residents by renovating and converting it for safe senior living.

Let’s start with the groundwork. There are two senior living models to consider:

Independent Living: An arrangement for seniors and/or individuals with special needs, usually in their own unsupervised living space, affording them as much independence and autonomy as possible.

Assisted Living: A housing or living arrangement for elderly, infirm or disabled, in which housekeeping, meals, medical care, and other assistance is available to residents as needed.

What Are the Requirements of Independent Living?

Independent living is a safe way for seniors to live on their own.

Homes designed for independent living often have hard wired smoke detectors connected to the alarm system. They have grab bars in the bathrooms, wider doors for wheel chairs and walkers, and slip prevention measures for trip hazards.

The ideal home is single level and have the capacity to be converted to four bedrooms with at least two bathrooms.

These are important criteria homeowners should consider for a conversion.

If this is a description of the home, your nest no longer has to be empty.

You can help others while reaping the benefits by transforming your current home into senior housing.

Living Life Like It’s Golden

Susan Harris created a television series that aired on NBC from 1985 to 1992. It was about four single older women who shared a home in Miami, Florida.

Blanche was the home owner, Rose was a widow, Dorothy was a divorcee, and Sophia was Dorothy’s 80-year-old mother. Together, the comedic elderly women were called The Golden Girls.

The series finale of The Golden Girls was watched by 27.2 million viewers. As of 2016, it was the 17th-most watched television finale.

Think of independent living like golden girls and golden boys coming together.

There’s ideally four different people living in these types of homes.

They’re probably not related, sometimes they are friends or develop a friendship in the process of living together.

Learn How to Profit Off Your Home

The Assisted Living Network seldom incorporates the concept of charging rent, because this practice is not used in residential assisted living.

Independent living is the only time I’m going to discuss it rent.

With residential assisted living, we have residents, they don’t pay rent – we provide a service for them.

In the independent living model, the golden girls and golden boys pay rent.

The rent that you charge could be anything that you want.

Usually, rent for independent living homes is calculated with higher premiums based on the following 6 amenities and conveniences:

6 Amenities and Conveniences

  1. Easy to Access Location;
  2. Unlimited Utilities;
  3. Maintenance Upkeep;
  4. Cable, Internet and Phone Services;
  5. Worry-Free Bills; and
  6. Care-Free Living.

Calculating the Premiums of Independent Living

You could split all the bills amongst all four seniors. However, instead of renting the house for $1,200 or $1,500 a month, rent each bedroom for $1,000 monthly, including the amenities and conveniences.

Instead of collecting $1,500 monthly household rent, independent living homes collect rent based on bedrooms.

As a result, four bedrooms at $1,000 per occupant, produces $4,000 a month. That leaves plenty of extra money to pay for monthly utilities and routine upkeep on the home.

These are expected responsibilities and expenses on any rental properties, although seniors are low impact tenants. Seniors do not have pets, do not host events and do not pose the risk of destroying property.

As a result, the profitability of independent living is very beneficial.

A lot of property owners question what they should do with empty and unwanted houses.

Some people rely on short term Airbnb or traditional renting methods. While these are profitable sources of income, they pose repeated risks and loses associated with cleaning and vacancies.

More people have been deciding to sell without considering the rapidly growing market of independent living.

Whether it’s yourself or a loved one living alone in a house with extra bedrooms, independent living is wise to consider.

Start thinking differently.

If you have questions about how to turn your home into senior housing, we have the answers and suggestions that will make your process much easier.

In many cases, we can even help you fill your home.

Transitioning from Independent Living to Residential Assisted Living

Seniors transition into assisted living models for the long term. The next step after independent living is usually assisted living.

You’re probably wondering could your current model become a form of assisted living?

Well, the answer to that question depends on your willingness to transition the home from independent living to assisted.

Remember, assisted living is just that, assisted. That means somebody is there to take care of the residents.

Senior housing can evolve from independent living, because the conversions are covered in the initial startup. Senior safe homes are usually pre-equipped with the following:

  1. Bathroom grab bars in the tubs and next to the toilets;
  2. Carpets with thick padding underneath;
  3. Slip prevention measures for trip hazards;
  4. Widened doorways for walkers and wheelchairs;
  5. Hallway grab bars;
  6. Outdoor sprinkler systems;
  7. Available parking;
  8. Digital surveillance and alarm monitoring system; and
  9. Electronic systems like hard wired smoke detectors.

The Residential Assisted Living Academy trains homeowners and operators how to build successful and sustainable businesses leveraging the best real estate opportunity for the next 25 years.

Perhaps your thinking, you don’t want the hassles that come with assisted living.

Remember, owners are not always operators, and someone else can manage the daily operation of cooking, cleaning and caregiving.

Assisted Living Is About Providing Quality Care

In addition to operating a senior safe home, converting your house to assisted living must consider the care that will be given.

Most importantly, assisted living requires assistance. That means there will be caregivers available 24/7.

Caregivers do not necessarily live in the house with the residents.

Assisted living will never provide a skilled nursing or nursing home dynamic inside the residential home. Residential homes are not nursing homes or hospitals. However, some homes do offer a live in caregiver.

If this will be your approach, provide a room that’s designated specifically for the caregiver, preferably on the second floor.

Experience has taught us that an ideal floor plan calls for seniors on the first floor, caregivers on the second level, and a basement area for a break room.

This blog is not an all inclusive plan.

Residential Assisted Living Academy outlines the complete requirements for assisted living.

Contact us to learn how you can get all the tools you need to transform your home for senior living.

Assisted Living Strategies for Interior to Exterior

Residential Assisted Living Academy introduces owners and operators to an advanced perspective of senior living, from the interior to the exterior.

For example, location is also Key.

Living nearby different activities such as Libraries, grocery stores, shopping centers, movie theaters, those kinds of things are important, even more so for independent living.

For either model, the exterior of the home is essential.

It’s important for residents to be able to easily pull up in a car and get out at the front door. Therefore, circular driveways are great.

Parking should also be considered. Seniors in independent living will need somewhere to park their vehicles, assisted living residents typically do not have cars.

What a home looks like to people pulling up or passing by will determine the success of your business – curb appeal is always a plus.

Providing the exterior maintenance and landscaping is a big part of word of mouth marketing.

Let us help make this transition a reality for you.

Instead of renting or selling, get excited about the low risk transformation of your house into senior housing.

Whether it be golden girls and golden boys’ concept, or residential assisted living, we can help you maintain and maximize your ownership by transforming your home into senior living.

How EASY Is It To Open An Assisted Living Home?

Real Life Is More Than a Quick Fix

Show-and-tell is an easy way to walk newcomers through the process of motivating bright minds. This is because most people would rather hope for greatness rather than work for it.

Once you see it how things work, and try them for yourself, sometimes you learn it’s not as easy as it looks on video.

Recently, I got a gift. It was a pair of traditional roller skates with two wheels in the front and back, instead of the inline skates that I was somewhat familiar with.

It all started when I watched a video of advanced skaters gliding through the wind with no care in the world.

While zooming around with speed and twirling through the air with smiles on their faces, they made it look really easy. So, I ordered two pair.

I called it a gift because it was a present to myself, and I intended to give the second pair to someone else. That’s the way we do it in our house.

I remember being so happy opening the boxes, putting them on my feet, and then suddenly it happened. I immediately realized, this is not nearly as easy as the people in the video made it look. The music stopped and the lights came on in my head.

When you first try something, it’s never as easy the first time around.

For those of us that own and operate assisted living homes, we find so much irony in the question, “Is it easy?”

The first time I tried it, I ran into roadblocks, obstacles and pitfalls – it was not easy at all.

As I learned new things about it, watched others do it, and continued to repeatedly try, it became easier and easier each time.

Opening an assisted living home is just like learning how to roller skate. Once you get it, you can’t forget it.

Whether it’s roller skates, bicycles, speedboats or skiing, our muscle memory maintains the skillset.

Clicking into Greatness

Recently I went skiing. It had been 16 years since I’d been on the slopes. Putting the skis on my boots was the hardest part, but I did it. I got in the chair lift, went up to the top and prepared to come down. In that moment, it clicked in.

I remember reminiscing about when I first got started, my mind morphed back to grade school. It was as if I was child again, going uphill.

During those days, there were not a lot of friendly people to teach me the HOW TOs of skiing. I had friends that took me to the top; afterward, I was left there to figure out, on my own, how to ski back down the hill.

I remember standing on the sidelines of that slope studying the kills of strangers. I noticed every movement of their bodies that determined the directions of their skis. After observing a while, I tried it, again and again.

After repeatedly trying, instead of falling six times on my way down, eventually I only fell twice. That’s how the learning process works.

The next time, perhaps you fall down twice the entire day. Before you know it, you’re making it look easy to somebody else. That’s the way life is.

So, when somebody asks me, “How easy is it to open an assisted living home?”

The answer is simple.

It’s easier for me every time, because I’ve done it again and again. How easy will it be for you?

That’s a question you have to ask of yourself.

I don’t know your background, what you’ve done, what makes sense to you and what doesn’t, or how passionate your heart is.

“Easy” Isn’t Worth Your Time

Most importantly, I don’t know what you’re willing and committed to make happen in your life. I am absolutely confident that you can pretty much do anything if you are willing and committed.

If you’re not truly willing and committed to do whatever it takes, at some point you’re simply going to give up.

I love listening to victorious testimonials from people that we’ve trained on how to open assisted living homes. I’m a sucker for success stories from people who have faced obstacles, but refused to throw in the towel.

It’s really easy to hit a roadblock and just stop. Quitting is easy.

Failure is when people easily quit.

The higher you set your ambitions and aspirations, the more challenges you are likely to face. True success is never easy.

The second time is easier than the first. The third time is easier than the second, but if you’re truly aiming to maximize your full potential, it will never be easy.

Navigating the Road to Success

Success always requires effort, which makes the idea of it being easy an interesting word.

We’ve talked about the effort required in roller skating and skiing, now let’s talk about assisted living homes. I’ve been privileged to train thousands of people on how to open, own, and operate homes.

There are three common denominators in every discussion that successful home owners say I’ve help with:

  1. Saving time
  2. Saving Effort
  3. Saving Money

I have a simple strategic suggestion about achieving your most risky goal. Find somebody who has done it before that makes it look easy.

This will empower, engage and educate you to navigate all the right turns. Whether it’s driving a speed boat, race car, skiing the slopes, roller skating or whatever, there is always a road to success.

Learning what to do and what not to do will equip your plan of execution.

The Value of a Good Teacher

Even the world’s greatest athletes have coaches, whether you consider the NBA, WNBA, NFL or USA Olympics.

Find someone you can ask questions and someone willing to share their secrets to success. In our case, find someone that will tell you the do’s and don’ts of assisted living.

Personally, I love teaching and coaching professionals that profit from their passion of helping others. That’s one quality I look for in a good student. There’s a few qualities you should look for in a good teacher.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a teacher that will let you experience the field firsthand.

After you’ve mastered the first lesson, a good teacher is prepared to provide you with the next lesson. It’s important to learn assisted living step-by-step, while gaining some virtual experience that will prep and make your journey easier.

Afterward, you’ll be able to share the same strategies with others. Soon, you’ll make it look easy, and people will ask you, “How can I do it?”

Good teachers will always inspire you to pay it forward.

I am truly a believer in education. I’d much rather learn from your experience, than making my own mistakes. I willing to pay for expertise, rather then figure it out on my own.

I’d rather work for success, rather than merely hoping to survive with my finances, time, energy and commitment.

For me, teaching other people how to make it look easy is one of the most rewarding things of all.

How easy is it to open an assisted living home? Well, it depends.

If you’re listening to a teacher who’s done it before, that will make it much easier than trying to figure it out on your own.

Register for the Residential Assisted Living Academy

As the founder of Residential Assisted Living Academy, I teach thousands of successful RAL home owners and operators across the country.

Some RAL businesses move at the rate of rowboat, others sail through situations even slower, but RALAcademy will accelerate your process like a speed boat.

We’ll show-and-tell you how to make your assisted living experience easier. All you need to do is get on board.

I want to share with you the secrets to how to do well financially, while doing good in the process.

RAL Academy has the best teachers nationwide and we’re here to help you make your dream of owning and operating an assisted living home a reality.

Contact us today to learn an easier way to get connected to the largest market growth opportunity in a generation.

“I Got This Guy Completely Wrong” – A RAL Confession

When people first hear about the RAL Academy and the investment opportunities in residential assisted living they often approach with a dose of disbelief. After all, how can something that does so much good for our senior population be anything more than charity; how can it be such a profitable business?

Simple. It is the very need for this service, coupled with the growing elderly demographic shift that provides the conditions for profitability. Moreover, if you compare residential assisted living with the other options are out there, i.e. the large, sterile, hospital-like facilities, choice quickly becomes clear. As people age, they would rather reside in a comfortable and familiar home-like setting, rather than being just another number in a big box facility. There is enough difficulty trying to maintain dignity and comfort in old age. We don’t need to add to the struggle by herding our seniors into large facilities, isolated from the rest of society.

Residential assisted living seeks to address this paradigm and offer a healthy alternative that most of us would probably prefer. Still there is a great deal of skepticism surrounding this industry because most people are unaware of its existence or exactly what it entails.

Recently, Steve Moran, a well-known writer for the Senior Housing Forum, wrote an article describing his initial pessimism about the RAL Academy; a pessimism that quickly turned to belief as he dug into the facts and evidence supporting this successful business model.

He starts out, “Once in a while, I get something completely wrong.” “In July or August of 2016, a reader reached out to me about this guy, Gene Guarino, who was teaching three-day classes on “how to get rich” by starting residential assisted living communities (think small homes). I took a hard shot at what he was doing.”

“But it turns out……I WAS WRONG.”

Steve went on to explain how he met Gene at the InterFace Seniors Housing West Conference and after a lengthy discussion, came to the conclusion that the RALA business model was not a “get rich” one, but a well-developed strategy designed to meet the real needs of seniors in America.

Gene shared the background of how he started the RAL Academy by creating and running a number of residential-style assisted living communities himself. His initial motivation for the first RAL home came from a desire to provide a comfortable residence for his mother that offered exceptional care. As he navigated through details of real estate, finances, and hiring, training and managing competent care staff, it quickly became apparent that this model, not only offers a better solution for seniors, but it would also be a long-term investment solution for those wanted to begin providing this service in their communities.

Steve went on to learn how Gene took this model and developed a system to teach others to do the same. Now, years later, Gene has taught thousands of people how to open and run their own residential assisted living homes. His training is directly responsible for between 500 to 600 new residential-style assisted living communities across the U.S. that are creating jobs and serving seniors. Additionally, he has developed networks to support these RAL owners, creating a conference to unite investors, suppliers and service providers for all things relating to the building and operating of these communities.

“I have written about this before, however, I am more and more convinced that these small residential senior living communities are going to be an increasingly important part of the senior living/assisted living mix.”

“Traditionally, these small homes have — in many states — represented the last resort for seniors with limited financial resources. Yet, increasingly, they are becoming a boutique option for seniors wanting or needing higher levels of care at a reasonable cost.”

Steve goes on to admit, “What I am really puzzling over right now is whether or not these communities are pulling residents away from large scale senior living or actually expanding the market, by appealing to seniors who would not have an interest in big box senior living.”

The truth, with all the new RAL style home being created, there is not a significant exodus of seniors from big-box facilities to residential assisted living and this is primarily because there is just such a huge demand for senior housing. The size of the senior population in this country is growing at a rate not seen before, and it is only going to increase for the next 25 years.

The demographic boom caused by an aging baby boomer population is going to mean that an enormous number of seniors needing assistance with daily living will enter their twilight years in the next few decades. The demand for assisted living will drive the market to create the supply.

Steve is right though, there is some competition in the market between the big-box facilities and smaller, more boutique-style assisted living homes. Fortunately, this competition will spur both sectors of this industry to raise standards and offer better services to our seniors and at lower prices, which is good for all of us.

We are delighted that Steve took the time to learn about the reality behind residential assisted living and the opportunities it affords. It’s always refreshing when we are able to take a deeper look at something that we previously judged before knowing all the facts, and come to realize how much we appreciate something that we might have otherwise completely missed out on.

For the average person there is so much confusion surrounding assisted living. Most of this comes from a false perception of assisted living as the sterile, institution-like big box facilities that spark notions of isolation and an uncaring staff. Fortunately, the truth is that there are plenty of assisted living homes across the nation that are full of caregivers who love their jobs and love caring for seniors. They are not there just to do a job, but they enjoy engaging with the elderly and partnering with their families to provide exceptional care in a comfortable home-style environment.

According to AARP, there are tens of millions of seniors in America today who will need assistance with their activities of daily living. That doesn’t mean that they are all going to move into an assisted living home or facility, but they will need help. They’re at home all alone and maybe they can take care of themselves, but frankly, many of them would much rather have people around them.

We know that being with others as we age is vital to our health, mental stability and overall wellness. Residential assisted living is making an impact on seniors and changing the face of assisted living for decades to come. We are excited to be a part of this change and we look forward to partnering with any of you who are also interested in Doing Good and Doing Well.

6 Pitfalls to Avoid When Searching for Assisted Living

As a residential assisted living home owner, the best way to fill your RAL home and keep it full is to understand what residents and their families’ are looking for and how you can meet their needs. Sifting through and evaluating assisted living homes can be foreign territory for those who are suddenly thrust into this decision. There’s a lot that goes into the decision to move a loved one into an assisted living facility and that decision becomes much easier as you expand your knowledge and understand the options available.

Because the decision for assisted living is such a momentous one, full of emotion and uncertainty, there is an abundance of checklists online offering help to those who are embarking on this journey. So to help families looking for quality assisted living and to help RAL owners understand what is important to these families, let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid when seeking out assisted living. The following are a few key points to consider and the common mistakes many people make when searching for assisted living for a loved one.

1. Failing to Anticipate the Senior’s Future Needs

It is a hard decision to have to make when a loved one is clearly in need of assistance with their ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). Most of us will probably tend to error on the side of optimism. But taking a moment to step back and assess the loved one’s current and future assistance needs in a more objective way will be a huge benefit later on. Some assisted living facilities might offer a more limited level of care and failing to look down the road far enough might end up requiring senior to move facilities one or more times. It is not very hard to see how relocating senior who needs daily assistance could become a huge disruption to their life and an additional burden on family members as well.

As difficult as it will be, it is best for families to have an open and honest dialogue about the future needs of their loved one. Be optimistic…for sure, but also anticipate their future needs, recognizing that a dose of realism can help clear the path forward to a decision that is best for the senior. And that should really be our primary concern. Also, don’t forget to include the senior’s doctor in the decision-making process and inquire as to what support they will need in the future. Having to move a loved one numerous times in their twilight years is not only a burden and costly to the family, but it often comes with detrimental effects to the senior’s physical and emotional health.

An added benefit of recognizing the future needs of the loved one is that they will be able to remain in an assisted living community much longer, rather than bouncing from one facility to another to accommodate their increasing assistance needs. Therefore, the relationships that they build and their familiarity with their surroundings will be greater source of peace and comfort, which also contribute significantly to a person’s longevity.

2. Choosing a Community to that Meets Your Needs Rather Than Your Parent’s

Far too often an adult child decides on the place for mom or dad based on what they liked most about an assisted living facility rather than making the main priority what is best for the senior. Extravagant amenities that an adult would enjoy might seem appealing on the face of it, but if the senior isn’t interested or can’t physically take advantage of those amenities, then they should not be included as assets in the decision-making process. A large, palatial backyard with a heated pool and a Jacuzzi, for example, might sound like great selling points, but if the senior isn’t very physically mobile then these amenities shouldn’t even be a factor.

As much as is possible, encourage cooperation and work with your loved one to involve them in the decision-making process. And if the senior is too frail or already significantly affected by memory loss, the family should take care to consider what they know about their loved one’s preferences and include them as they weigh up the options.

3. Judging a Book by Its Cover

Searching for the right assisted living home for a loved one is much different than shopping for a family residence. Beautiful and lavish amenities are all well and good but they are not your main priority, and they are certainly no indicator of quality care. The most important element in “assisted living” is the “assisted” part. What kind of care is being provided?  How attentive and accommodating is the care staff?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that an assisted living facility is the right fit because it is expensive and offers the best amenities. Luxury doesn’t equate to quality when it comes to senior care. A beautiful, modern and upscale facility can be just as prone to neglect and oversights as a more homely-looking facility.

Take the time to fully research the assisted living homes you are considering. Ask others in your community about their experiences with the facilities. Take a tour of the homes and do more than just kick the tires. Take notes and ask lots of questions. If you have the opportunity during your visit, speak with residents and staff about their level of satisfaction working and living there. A satisfied staff is usually a caring staff, and a community of cheerful residents is always a good sign.

You just may find that in a thorough analysis of the options available to you, choosing one that’s, perhaps, less shiny and luxurious just might be more appropriate in terms of care or atmosphere for your loved one.

4. Making a Rushed Decision

While some families can quickly become overwhelmed with all of the factors that are involved in the decision-making process, others can be too hasty in their choice of RAL facility. The need for a loved one to be moved into assisted living can seem like such an immediate crisis that some families rush into the decision, choosing the first available room they find that meets even a few of their requirements. For the best results, it is recommended that families visit a number of assisted living communities before settling on the decision. This is such a foreign industry to the average person, so seeing a number of facilities in operation gives a clearer picture of what can and should be expected. And when touring an assisted living home, don’t be afraid to ask lots and lots of questions and take notes on any details that you want further understanding about. You can always come back to these notes and do research online to compare the different options available.

5. Failing to Read the Fine Print

Compared to other types of legal documents, contracts for assisted living homes are usually fairly straightforward. However, some legal jargon may be used that is confusing and there may be add-on fees that aren’t readily apparent to the average consumer who has limited experience with assisted living. Families need to protect themselves by reading all the fine print and understanding exactly what is involved, what is expected of the senior and what the senior can expect of the care staff. And as a RAL owner, what you really don’t want is to have your relationship with the resident’s family sour because they were unaware of certain fees or price increases due to confusing contract documentation.

Most assisted living communities have a number of different pricing structures involving additional services and fees. Some facilities might separate the charges for room and board with the fees for care and the varying levels of care that are available. Other facilities separate each charge individually, which could mean that some families under the impression that three meals a day would automatically be included in the monthly price of the room, might later be shocked to find that this was an add-on fee that they had not taken into account. Other additional fees to consider might be a move-in or one-time entrance fee, yearly inflation rate increases, laundry service, medical supplies, medication delivery, etc. Still, there are other assisted living facilities that offer an all-inclusive pricing model, where all residents are charged the same cost regardless of what services they desire or the level of care that they need.

The key is simply to read all the documentation and ask plenty of questions. If there is even a remote doubt about a subject, simply ask. Knowledge is power. And there is already enough of a feeling of powerlessness when it comes time for a family to move a loved one into assisted living, so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.

6. Forgetting to Include Others

Most of us consider ourselves intelligent and competent people who can handle things on our own. In today’s modern world it’s easy to embrace the mantra of “if you want to go fast, go alone.” However, when making a decision as significant as where to place a loved one in assisted living, it is important to have input from a number of people and perspectives. Seek feedback from as many people as possible who have experience in the process of assisted living placement. Moving a parent or grandparent into assisted living is not a sign of weakness or something to be embarrassed about. Be willing to talk to friends and family openly about the subject and seek advice from those who have experience with it.

Connect with assisted living professionals and pick their brains about any topics, processes or advice that will help you make the best decision for your loved one. There are also organizations whose sole business it is to help advise and place seniors in the appropriate care facilities. Look to the help of a senior placement advocate who is knowledgeable and can answer all your questions; someone who can show you the residential care facilities in your area and give you reasoned advice on how to pick the best one. Placement advocates can help families evaluate, not only the facilities available, but the care requirements, amenity preferences and finances of the family as well. Using a professional to help you navigate this journey will save you a great deal of time and frustration by helping you narrow your options to the care homes that most directly meet your family’s needs.

These are just a few of the many pitfalls that families can stumble into when venturing through the often unfamiliar territory of assisted living. The more information you can gather from a variety of knowledgeable sources, the better off you and your loved ones will be when making your decision.

And if you are a RAL owner, it also might be a good idea to come up with your own list or guide so that you can educate the community around you and help them understand the mistakes to avoid in choosing an assisted living home. This exercise will serve as an internal review of your RAL business to help you implement strategies that address these pitfalls.

If you would like more information about assisted living and how to choose the right place for you and your loved one, check out the resources on our YouTube channel. We want to elevate this industry so that our seniors receive the care that they deserve.

Mike Hambright REI Classroom Lesson Podcast

Gene appeared on the Real Estate Investing Classroom Podcast with Mike Hambright.

Gene Guarino discusses an opportunity to who have land or are buying land that involves building smaller properties that are suitable for the baby boomer generation. Instead of huge properties, a smaller property with just the necessities work well for this generation. Most baby boomers are getting to the point that they want to downsize so that they don’t have to worry about the upkeep. Depending on the size of land you have, you can even create a senior community for those older than 55.

Attracting Seniors to Your Residential Assisted Living Home

As the Silver Tsunami continues to grow larger on our shores and more investors are seizing the opportunities in assisted living, owners and operators of residential assisted living homes need to find additional ways to set themselves apart from the rest. Sterile hospital-like big-box facilities are sprouting up all across the country and while this may seem to pose a greater challenge for smaller RAL owners, we know that the residential assisted living environment is a far superior service. Although, what we have to offer seniors is generally much better quality at more competitive price points, sometimes smaller RAL businesses get lost when it comes to marketing their brand.

One method to consider is for RAL owners to think of marketing their homes in a more contemporary way and adopt practices that have been incredibly successful for retailers over the years. There are number of ways that seniors find themselves in assisted living; some are place there by family members who are too busy or unavailable to help assist their loved ones with basic activities of daily living; some have experienced chronic or acute health issues that leaves them to rely on assistance from others; and some seniors have opted into assisted living for the nurturing and loving environment that these communities have to offer.

Regardless of how seniors have been brought to assisted living in the past, as RAL owners, we know that we provide an amazing service with exceptional staff who care deeply for the seniors in their homes, and we want to use that fact to bring attention to our businesses. How amazing would it be if, over the next decade, we could transition the residential assisted living industry from one where seniors are pushed into assisted living to one where we are able to pull seniors into our assisted living homes because what we have to offer is more attractive than any other option out there. By establishing higher standards in our homes and providing exceptional care services, together we can help change the mindset of American seniors and their families.

So many RAL owners and operators get started in this business because they have a heart for people, they genuinely want to provide superior care for the elderly. I would also venture that most of these people probably don’t have a significant background in marketing, if any, and so their homes, while providing a great product and service, are going overlooked by the general public because they don’t have the time, resources or know-how to generate a successful marketing plan.

Any company or organization that provides a superior product or service doesn’t always need to have a 30-person team of marketing professionals to be successful, but it is helpful to look to those large organizations that do employees these teams and adopt some of their ideas. One way to do this is to look at residential assisted living like a large mainstream retailer might. And how do big retailers like Apple or Amazon view their potential customers? It is not just the fact that we have something to offer customers, but recognizing that we have competition, and unlike our competition… we are different.

“We Are Different”

What we provide is of better quality and at a better price point. And in order to be able to market to our communities effectively we have to know our competition. Whether it is researching online or making secret shopper visits to large and successful assisted living facilities in your area, knowing what competitors are doing, the services they are providing and the costs for those services can go a long way to helping you set yourself apart and getting your brand out there as a better choice. This may not sound like a major paradigm shift, but it is a change in the current mindset of both those who are providing senior care homes and those consumers who are looking for them.

There are a number of practical ways that RAL owners can market their brand directly to seniors and the baby boomer generation with a more retail-like approach. If you’ve spent any time in the residential assisted living industry you understand that the demographics in this country are shifting dramatically and that the baby boomer generation is set to revolutionize aging and the products and services associated with aging. In the coming years the baby boomer generation will be the primary residents in assisted living and the marketing strategies that have worked in the past will not be the same that are effective for this generation.

Throughout the history of modern assisted living, most senior residents were driven to the need for assistance due to the result of health events that precluded the loss of independent function. But today, and in the coming decades, prospective residents will likely be drawn into the assisted living environment as a positive instead of a negative.

First world prosperity has brought about extraordinary levels of technology and convenience, which has led to consumers being much more driven by their wants than their needs. This shows a complete change in the decision-making process of consumers and has compelled retailers and service providers to change their inquiry of customers from “what is the matter with you and what do you need?” to “what matters to you and what you want?”

Changing our approach in marketing to baby boomers will prove to be more successful as, instead of simply aligning to their needs, we help encourage the adoption of our healthy and vibrant communities as a place they want to be… a place they feel at home.

Along with the shift to a more modern approach of marketing your RAL home to current and future seniors, don’t be afraid to embrace technology that relates to the assisted living space. As these next few decades unfold, bringing waves of new seniors to the assisted living environment, there will be more of an expectation to adopt relevant technology and getting in on the ground floor will set you apart from other assisted living facilities.

Take advantage of opportunities to modernize, like keeping track of senior’s information, personal preferences and medical history in an easily accessible digital format, which will also make it easier to monitor and communicate any issues with resident’s families. Consider digitizing and automating aspects of your recruitment process as well. This will serve to simplify the process and save you time. Plus, most people looking for assisted living for a loved one are going to be looking online and if all of your admissions processes require paperwork and face-to-face interaction, you might be missing out on a significant portion of potential residents.

Many in the assisted living industry are already embracing technology and they are helping the residents respond to it as well. Just remember to weigh the pros and cons and be selective about how you are incorporating technology. Evaluate each element of your RAL business and decide where personal touch is necessary and where you can automate things.

Tomorrow’s seniors will have spent much of their adult life embracing technology, so make sure that you and your team are catering to those opportunities as well. And while there will be some uncertainties about the preferences of the incoming baby boomer population, there are some effective practices that can be implemented now to deliver an experience or a series of experiences that today’s seniors desire.

Finally, another way to set your RAL business apart is to understand, not only the competition, but the alternatives that seniors and their families are looking at when they are making the inquiry into assisted living. It can be very easy for an individual to dismiss residential assisted living based on the sticker price, but when they look through an actual cost analysis of the alternatives, the better financial option becomes patently clear.

The following is a chart created by ‘A Place for Mom’ and illustrates the difference between a senior living at home and one who is living in an average-priced assisted living home. (These numbers are based on national averages, as specific states and areas have higher and lower relative costs)

Amenities/Services/ ExpensesMonthly Costs At HomeAssisted Living Costs
Monthly mortgage or rent$953$3,500
Property tax$149N/A
Property insurance$78N/A
Property maintenance costs$100N/A
24-hour security services$100included
Three meals a day$494included
Utilities$265included
Housekeeping services$118included
Daily health aide visitations$4,500included
Personal care$45included
Housekeeping services$118included
24-hour emergency call system$50included
Landscaping/snow removal$50included
Home maintenance$147included
Trash removal$25included
Social and entertainment$25included

There is quite a stark difference in the cost of assisted living compared to a senior staying in their own home and receiving assistance there. Also, many of you will know that there is a significant difference in the costs of a big-box assisted living facility compared to a typical residential assisted living facility. And as more people become aware of these vast differences, the marketing of our RAL homes will become even more effective, pulling seniors joyfully into our communities, as opposed to waiting for families to push them into assisted living. The reality is, like most things in life, it is all about perspective. If we can educate those around us about the opportunities and benefits we provide in our RAL homes, compared to the alternatives, we will help revolutionize the assisted living industry and the general public’s overall view of it.

If you would like to learn more about specific opportunities in the residential assisted living space, or if you are interested in other ways to market and promote your RAL business, check out our amazing training resources and let us help you get to where you want to be in this amazing industry.

And don’t forget to save the date this year for RAL NAT CON 2019. Join hundreds of others in this amazing industry who are working together to meet the needs of the growing elderly population in this country. This incredible convention provides the chance to get more plugged into the residential assisted living industry and networking with other RAL owners, investors, lenders, equipment suppliers and support service providers that can help your RAL business grow. Be a part of the solution!

*Statistics source: www.aplaceformom.com/planning-and-advice/articles/assisted-living-in-home-care-compared

Business Plans For Opening An Assisted Living Home


Gene Guarino: This is Gene from the assisted living network. Business plans for assisted living, specifically residential assisted living. I’m going to give you the two keys to having a successful business plan and the five p’s to making it happen. First of all, the two keys, number one reason I have a business plan is for you so that you have clarity of vision of where you’re going, what it is, who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going. You see, you can get anywhere even without a map, but the question is where is it that you’re going to end up? So the business plan, the first key is it’s for you clarity of vision. The second key is to help raise capital. If you don’t have a business plan, no bank is going to give you a loan. No private investor or a lender is going to give you the money.

Gene Guarino: You need to have a business plan to be able to show to other people, hey, I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. You need to know where it starts, where we break even, where we’re profitable, what’s my reserve and all of the details. But the two keys to a business plan or one clarity of vision for you and to the ability to raise capital, a clear vision that you can share with others so they can buy into or lend to you. Now, five p’s for successful business plan. I’m going to give this to you if you want to write it down, feel free. But number one, people, people meaning me, you, whoever is inside and operating within this business, the first thing that somebody is going to look at as an angel investor, first thing I look at a banker, first thing they look at, who are the people involved?

Gene Guarino: What experience do they have that is similar to or even related to what it is that they’re getting the money for? Raising the capital for. So that people element is very important. So one of the keys is who are you? What do you do now that relates to what it is you’re raising the capital for. And if you don’t have something, who else can you put inside Your Business Plan? Maybe on a board of advisors to be of help to you? A team of people is better than having just one person. A little side story before we get to that. I remember when I was an angel investor investing in a project and I had over a half a million dollars invested and I was on what at one time I was on one side of the table talking to the entrepreneurs are raising capital and I was writing checks to them and after 50,000 another hundred thousand other hundred and 50,000 now we’re at 500,000 I eventually ended up on the same side of the table as them and now boom, we’re here as a team and now we’re looking to somebody else who is going to be an investor with us.

Gene Guarino: So I went from, I’m investing in to now I’m a part of the team and now we’re looking to somebody else. And I remember distinctly, and here’s the lesson, they were much older than I worked 30 years older than I was and they said, you know what? I’m not sure about the business. I’m not sure about the business plan, but I like you and what he meant was not knee, knee, but all of us, that team of people, he was betting on the jockey, not the horse, and that’s a key critical point. First P is people. Second is the product. In Your Business Planning, you got to lay it out. What is it that you’re doing? What is it? Is it a product? Is it a service, is it whatever? What is your product itself? You need to explain that clearly. We’ve seen your house when we’ve got it down to a tee, we know exactly what it is.

Gene Guarino: The third p your position, when I say your position, are you the most expensive and that’s what makes you best and better than everybody else or you’re the least expensive, makes you available to everybody and everybody will use you. The government will leave and pay for it. If you can. Are you summer? What is your position now that’s important because you’re not all things to all people. You don’t want to be the cheapest one because then you’re just always battling on price. Somebody else squeeze, you can get in a little bit cheaper and to be the top of the top, the cream of the crop. There’s very few clients or customers at the top. So many times the best position is to be a high quality, not at the bottom, not at the very top, but somewhere above the middle. That’s what we call the sweet spot.

Gene Guarino: So we taught people, we talk product and we talked position. Now at some point we do have to talk about projections. Seeing a business plan, if you’re buying an existing business, there’s a past, there’s a present, and then there’s the projections into the future. But most people who are raising capital for a business, they’re going to look at, the projections were here today, ground zero, never done it before. It’s a complete startup. This is where we’re at. And then this is where we’re going. So when you’re looking at the projections, I’m always going to encourage you to be conservative, be conservative, whatever you think it is, reduced it a little bit more. If you think the vacancy rate is going to be 10% make it 15% if you think the income is going to be $4,000 per person in rent on your assisted living home, make it 3,800 or 3,600 be conservative.

Gene Guarino: Don’t go overboard, but make it more conservative to give you some breathing room to make sure that you can under promise and over deliver when it’s all said and done. Another P to take a look at is the exit plan, and I have to say this plan to exit exit plan is one of the key elements that most people miss the notice. I didn’t even talk about the profitability because I assume that you know that, that it must be profitable. That investor, that lender doesn’t want to know how much money they’re gonna make. What’s in it for them initially, they need to know their money is safe. They need to know there is a purpose. They need to know that you know what you’re doing. You’ve surrounded yourself with the right people. They need to know the you know your position, you know your projections.

Gene Guarino: The profit should be self evident. It needs to be clear and I know that you know that you have to have the financials in place in your business plan, but those projections will give you that profitability. But again, that investors looking for number one safety of capital, that is their number one concern. And that final piece, that plan to exit or exit plan is a piece that most business plans are simply missing. Think about it, when you go to a bank and say, I’m wanting to borrow money to buy a house, they give you a 30 year amortization, what’s the plan to exit? And you pay it off in 30 years. Now some banks will lend the money saying, we’ll do a 30 year amortization with a balloon in five years, which means we’re going to do the payments as if you’re paying for 30 years.

Gene Guarino: But at the end of five years it’s all do. So the exit plan is for you to reapply for a loan or go someplace else to get the money and pay them off or to sell the property and pay it off one way or the other. It’s an exit plan at five years. In a normal business plan, when you’re talking about a business startup, especially something as simple as and as straight forward as residential assisted living, somebody wants to know that their money is safe. They know what the collateral is, they know what the positioning is, they know all of that. But a two to five year exit plan is a good plan. Two years, meaning your money is committed for two years and our plan is to either sell or refinance. Once that business stabilized and within five years, meaning that’s the outside right here, we will have either sold or refinanced, but that investor, that lender wants to know that they’re going to eventually get out of that deal. So two to five years on an exit plan is that key. So we talked people positioning, we talked about the product, we talked about the profit, the projections, and we also talked about the plan to exit. There’s a lot to know on a business plan, but the two keys are clarity for you, clarity of vision for you and the ability to raise capital. This is Jean from the assisted living network saying, do good and do well. If you like what you’ve seen and heard, please subscribe.

Lance Edwards Green Light REI Podcast

In this episode, Gene discusses his early days as a musician, how he started his career, the definition of residential assisted living, how he got into the industry and much, much more!

Business News Company Interviews Gene About Success of the RAL Academy

Last month Gene had the opportunity to sit down with the team at Superb Crew, a business news website that focuses on covering the most innovative companies from the tech and business world. Making a name for themselves by shedding light on the latest trends and sectors of growth in technology and business, it was only natural that they connect with Gene, founder of the RAL Academy, to discuss his vision behind the successful residential assisted living education model that he created, how it came to be, and where he sees it leading into the future.

Interviewer: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Residential Assisted Living Academy?

Gene: The Residential Assisted Living Academy was formed in 2013. The purpose of the company is to provide the education and resources needed to create, own and operate RAL homes. Our mission is to help create over 1,000 homes across the country by the end of 2020. We are well on our way of doing just that. With over 1,000 people coming through our live and online training, we have seen the creation of hundreds of RAL homes across the country.

Interviewer: You’ve recently released Amazon best seller book that’s changing the game in real estate investing; could you tell us something more?

Gene: The hottest niche in real estate and business is Senior Housing and Assisted Living, according to many studies and financial professionals. The goal of writing the book is to provide, those that are looking to invest in this niche, the baseline information they need to make a good investment decision. Knowledge is the key and the more an investor knows about the industry they are investing in, the better.

Interviewer: Can you give us insights into your training programs?

Gene: We provide live and online training for individuals that are looking to get into the Senior Housing and Assisted Living industry. We cover the real estate investing side as well as the business side, in our training. We hold 8 live trainings each year in Phoenix AZ. People come from across the country to attend this training. The topics cover everything that you need to know to get started and to do it successfully.

We are developing an investor training for those that are just interested in that as well. That training will be launched later this year.

Interviewer: What makes your approach unique? What’s your success formula?

Gene: We are owners, operators and investors in these homes ourselves. That is the perspective that we are coming from as an education company. We do not work inside the businesses as the manager or the caregiver. Instead, we treat this as a business with an opportunity to “Do Good & Do Well”. We show people in a fast and efficient manor, what to do and how to do it. At our live training events we tour our homes so the students can experience and learn it from the “inside out”. That experience provides the context for the content that we provide.

Interviewer: What are your plans for the future?

Gene: We understand that everyone will be getting involved in Senior Housing and Assisted Living one way or the other. Either as a real estate investor, a business owner or as a customer living in someone else home. Right now, you have a choice as in “how” you get involved.

With 77,000,000 Baby Boomers aging by the day, this represents an incredible opportunity. 10,000 people a day are turning 65. 4,000 a day are turning 85. That is 1.4 million people turning 85 this year and every year for the next 20 years. That is an unstoppable “Silver Tsunami of Seniors”

For many it will be a “crisis” because they will be unprepared for it. For those entrepreneurs and investors that position themselves properly, it is an opportunity of a life time, it is like seeing a stock chart 10 years in advance and knowing exactly when to get in and get out.

We are creating the RAL Industry to capitalize on this opportunity. We own and invest in homes and facilities ourselves. We educate and provide resources for others that want to do the same. We are providing the investment opportunities for those that want to invest in these homes and this opportunity We have created the RAL National Association to support and bring the players in the industry together. And in 2020 we are launching an Operations company to service the entire industry.

Learn More About the 3-Day Fast Track

And don’t forget to save the date this year for RAL NAT CON 2019. Join hundreds of others in this amazing industry who are working together to meet the needs of the growing elderly population in this country. This incredible convention provides the chance to get more plugged into the residential assisted living industry and networking with other RAL owners, investors, lenders, equipment suppliers and support service providers that can help your RAL business grow. Be a part of the solution!

– Do Good and Do Well, my friends.