Successful Aging at Home Sweet Home

Over 70% of people are going to need long-term care. Are you prepared?
Happy Senior Woman And Black Female Caregiver Analyzing Medical Data During Home Visit.

Illustration by Darren Zigic

Judy is a self-styled planner. So, when mulling over all the truly scary “what ifs” about inevitably growing older, she found the answers in a groundbreaking program right here in New Hampshire.

Part of the Silverstone Living Family, At Home By Hunt is a wellness-driven, long-term care program for active Granite State residents aged 62 or older that establishes a continuum of care with the benefit of staying in the home they love. 

It differs from a residential life plan community (LPC), which used to be called a continuing care retirement community (CCRC); you get all the advantages of a life plan community, but you get to live in your own place. Even better, you can take full advantage of the range of wellness benefits and social, recreational and educational perks widely available at the other Silverstone facilities, which include LPCs like The Hunt Community in Nashua, Huntington at Nashua and Webster at Rye.

“I’m still very active, so this works for me,” says Judy, who prefers to be anonymous, and adds she thoroughly enjoys all those perks and benefits. “It provides a path, absolutely. It provides the help that I may need before I need to go to a facility. It provides the assurance that I’m not just going to be hanging out there at the mercy of whatever state organization there is.” 

This is how it works: Individuals or couples who want to stay at home and can meet the health and financial qualifications will join the program as members. There is a one-time membership fee which is based on age, from 62 to 101, plus a current monthly service fee of $618 for an individual or $601 per person for a couple.

Once a member, you’re assigned a trained personal advocate, also known as a life plan coordinator, and a care coordination team of nursing, case management and social services professionals. Then, over time as you age and require more help, the team handles your individual case.

“The statistics show that over 70 percent of people are going to need long-term care, whether it’s in the home or in a facility,” says Kelley Kennedy, the director of the program, which is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization regulated and licensed by the New Hampshire Department of Insurance. “That’s the peace of mind that we provide. We will help manage those services to allow people to stay in their homes, and when services are needed, we coordinate them. You’re joining healthy, you’re living your best life, but as you age in place and as things change, we will manage the home care that you need.”

Kristin Mattheson, the director of sales and marketing for Silverstone Living, explains the financial aspect of the program. “There is an insurance base to this,” Mattheson says. “We mimic long-term care insurance in that we offer a daily monetary benefit to help pay for these services. When it’s medically appropriate and members need those services, we help pay for that home care. Right now, our daily benefit is $398 per day.” 

The program addresses the potential financial disaster of not planning ahead. 

In 2022, the projected average price of a home health aide was $98,000 per year for eight hours per day, not 24 hours. The tag per year for an assisted living facility was $128,000, a memory care residence cost $140,000 and the nursing home price was $177,000.

The yearly cost for an At Home By Hunt membership is $7,416, according to Mattheson.

“There is a big asset protection built into this plan,” Mattheson says. “Should someone have a hospitalization and need to go right into assisted living and pay that $128,000 per year, it uses up financial resources pretty quickly. People are really making a good decision to protect their assets by joining At Home By Hunt because they’re just going to continue to pay their monthly service fee, and the program will help pay for the care that they need.”

Moreover, there are tax advantages built into the business model. While it’s advisable to consult your tax professional and other advisers, the initial membership fee is 100% tax deductible as a pre-medical expense and, on average, 70 percent of the monthly membership fee is tax deductible every year.

“I did take advantage of the tax breaks in the year that I joined,” says John, who also prefers not to use his last name. “I found that very beneficial. I have long-term care, and this is another kind of insurance. It helps me secure a plan for my future.”

If members experience declining health or a catastrophic event and need residential care, they are automatically entitled to admission at a Silverstone address with a room waiting for them. That’s a huge plus considering the long waiting lists at many other LPCs in New Hampshire.

“If you need assisted living or nursing care at one of our facilities, there is no waiting list because the only people that move into those spaces are people in our family,” Kennedy says. “They are the residents of our community or our At Home members. They are the only people who are privy to those spaces.” 

“I want to ensure that if I’m no longer able to stay at home, I can get the kind of care that I need,” John says, adding that he already feels part of the Silverstone community because his care coordinator calls on a regular basis. “This really fits in many ways for me.”

If John, Judy or any other member decides they want to move into the Hunt Community or the Huntington At Nashua at any time or for any reason, the “bridge program” applies 75 percent of their initial membership fee to the entrance fee, even if it’s amortized to zero. 

“I don’t want to be a burden to my wife or my children,” John says. “Knowing that my future is uncertain, peace of mind comes from having a sound plan. This program is a wonderful fit for that.”

As the old saying goes, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan.

For more information, visit the Bureau of Adult Services at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Categories: Seniors