By Janice Daniel

The following story is part of a joint project between myLifeSite and Senior Correspondent where we ask people to report on their senior living decision process. 

2003 was an important year for my husband, Dave, and me.  That is when we first learned about CCRC’s. As we approached our senior years we knew it was vital to find a place that would give us peace of mind knowing that each of us would have important and proper levels of care for the remainder of our life.   Was a CCRC the answer?

To help know that answer, Dave worked for 3 years at a local Continuing Care Retirement Community.  We felt it was a great way to discover first hand if a CCRC was as good as we’d been told.  The answer was a resounding yes.

Thus, began an 8-year pursuit to learn all about CCRC’s in order to find the best one for us.   The usual research was started; Internet, phone calls, visiting various CCRC’s and talking to residents   A Marketing Packet was obtained from each one to help in our research.  Being a retired banker, I knew it was important to analyze the financial strength and stability of each CCRC.   That was paramount in our research.  Also, we personally visited CCRC’s in various states to determine if they met our standards, meeting with senior management plus touring all of their facilities.  Location was important to insure close proximity of medical facilities.  Entrance and monthly fees, floor plans, modern technology, plus amenities, were all analyzed and compared.

After finishing our comprehensive due diligence, we decided on two lifecare communities that best met our personal criteria.   Then, an article in a newsletter of the National Continuing Care Residents’ Association (NaCCRA) was a true game changer for us.   It detailed proper financial vetting of a CCRC by analyzing tax returns.   The key item was to determine if the Lifecare had a positive or negative Net Asset Value (NAV).   If the NAV was negative, why?   And, for how many years had it been negative?  We wanted our CCRC of choice to be there for the rest of our lives.  Their financial stability was crucial.   The CCRC we had chosen did not meet the financial standards we had learned from that NaCCRA article.  It was then back to the proverbial drawing board.

That article turned out to be our good fortune.  That moved Royal Oaks, in Sun City, Arizona to the top of our list, meeting all of our requirements.  Yes, for many years they have had a strong and positive Net Asset Value!  Royal Oaks has maintained a consistently overall strong financial condition.   Additionally, they have earned an ‘A’ rating by Fitch, a credit rating agency.

We have lived at Royal Oaks for 2 years and feel truly blessed knowing that we made a smart choice.  Royal Oaks is vibrant, great management and staff, wonderful residents, and modern technology with a top-notch IT department.  Most importantly, Royal Oaks has 4 levels of care that are compassionate, efficient with excellent ratings and reviews. This year Royal Oaks celebrates 35 years and has announced a new and exciting Master Plan.

The peace of mind I mentioned earlier is made possible for Dave and me by our thorough research that led us to living at Royal Oaks.

About the Writer

Janice Daniel is retired from a 30-year banking career and currently resides at Royal Oaks retirement community in Sun City, AZ, along with her husband Dave. She enjoys retirement and all the joys it brings; relishing every day and trying to decide on which activity(s) to participate.  Ranging from Secretary duties of Royal Oaks computer club, watercolor, hosting monthly Birthday Breakfast at Royal Oaks, playing cards & dominoes and socializing with friends. 

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