Fixed price saves residents future worries
Retirement village's fixed fee provides securityCHLOE WINTER
A Blenheim retirement village has decided to fix its weekly payments so its residents have the security of knowing the price won't increase during their time there.
About 50 residents at Springlands Lifestyle Village, who live in independent villas or apartments, will pay a flat fee per week from October 1.
The weekly payment covers a range of expenses, including rates, insurance, statutory supervisor fees, maintenance, gardening and nurse calls.
Springlands Lifestyle Village manager Naomi Nailer said the weekly payment is normally reviewed every year and most of the time the fee increases.
"But we've decided from the first of October to increase our [fee] by $3 for our existing residents and for those residents it is fixed. So they are never going to pay more than that ... their weekly fee is for life.
"Anybody new coming in they are going to probably pay a little bit more, but they will be fixed at that price for life too."
The flat-rate weekly fee was not to be confused with paying for care and residents would still have to pay for their power and phone separately, Nailer said.
The decision to fix the fee "just made sense" and was a decision made by Nailer and managing director Chris Thornleys, she said.
"For residents it gives them the security to know that going forward that's all they are going to have to pay ... If they know that that's one cost they don't ever have to worry about going up again, it's a big deal for them."
There were minimal benefits for the village but it was putting the residents first, Nailer said.
"[For us it is] just the satisfaction that the residents are going to be feeling a lot more secure. There is certainly no cost benefit for us - if anything its going to be harder for us."
Springlands Lifestyle Village resident Marie Fettes, 85, who has been living in a villa for almost five years, said she was "delighted" the weekly fees were being fixed.
"My fees are now fixed until I die and that gives me the opportunity to plan so I know in the future what I am committing to which is very good.
"The cost of living is going up all the time so I am actually personally delighted, but I would have been quite happy even if they didn't fix it because they look after us so well."
Everyone in the village was very pleased, Fettes said.
Redwood Lifestyle Care and Village manager Dale Matthews said the village began fixing weekly fees last year. A fixed weekly payment was "very common" in retirement villages throughout New Zealand, he said.
Ashwood Park Retirement Village owner Ross Bissett said weekly payments there were not fixed; slight increases were made every few years. "We just had a minor increase and the last time we did that was seven years previous. It hardly ever goes up and we don't envision it going up again in the near future."
- The Marlborough Express
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