Bill and Susan Humberd moved to Linden Ponds last year from a house in Norwell, Mass. They say that, at first glance, Linden Ponds may appear to cost a bit more than living in your house, but not when you factor in everything that is included in the monthly service fee.
"There is so much more here than there was at home," Bill says. "It's things like meals and activities, plus the security. It's also little things like annual window washing, which is included instead of you having to do it at your own home."
'A heck of a value'
The Humberds also appreciate Linden Ponds' many on-site amenities, such as the medical center, swimming pool, woodshop, fitness center, four restaurants, and a performing arts center where they can enjoy live music and other entertainment. Plus, Linden Ponds offers maintenance-free living, which means residents don't have to worry about unexpected expenses when an appliance breaks or a pipe leaks.
"You don't have to call an electrician or a plumber because these people work right here, and they will come right to your apartment and do whatever work needs to be done," Bill says. "That is a heck of a value."
Linden Ponds Sales Director Chrissy Hansen says the management team works hard to provide an excellent financial value so community members can protect the investments they've built over their lifetimes. The affordable and predictable monthly service package includes rent, electricity, gas, water, telephone, and a meal plan.
"We ask people to come in with an idea of what they are spending not only to own the house but to run and operate the house," Hansen says. "We have a wonderful cost comparison sheet we send them in advance, and then we discuss the value for price paid here with everything that is included in the one low monthly fee."
What's more, Linden Ponds has resident-run clubs and committees as well as a regular lineup of entertainment, events, and parties. That means community members can make the most of their leisure time in ways they couldn't when they lived in a house or condo.
"There are things you don't even think about, like entertainment—they bring in bands and have educational events. We didn't have a whole lot of that at our house," Bill says. "They have 150 clubs, and the significance of that to me is the opportunity to socialize. We lived in house on a street with 20 houses. We waved at everybody who went by, but we didn't have much to do with them."
Considering the cost
When you live in a house, you have to pay for things like lawn care, appliance maintenance and repair, trash removal, pest control, gutter cleaning, roof repairs, and real estate taxes—all of which can be serious budget busters. But at Linden Ponds, all of those expenses are included in the monthly service package.
"Oftentimes, we find that the cost of living here is equal to or a little bit less than costs in people's homes," Hansen says. "Once they factor in the 'what-ifs' and major appliances and systems that need to be updated or replaced, as well as the maintenance work they pay contractors for throughout the year, they find it surprisingly much less to live here."
Another key aspect of Linden Ponds' value proposition is the 90% refundable entrance deposit. This onetime deposit is held for residents and returned to them or, if they live at Linden Ponds for the rest of their lives, to their beneficiaries (the Residence and Care Agreement has all the details).
"When you have a house, you put a whole lot of money into it for 35 years, and when you sell it, you are 'refunded,' if you will," Bill says. "Here, it's the same thing—our sons will get the deposit back, and they can split it like they would have with the house."
Home for life
Perhaps the most unique element of the financial value at Linden Ponds is its home for life commitment. The community maintains a Resident Care Fund to assist residents who, despite careful planning, outlive their financial assets.
"If we run out of money, they will use that deposit to pay our fees," Bill says. "We really like that."
Linden Ponds is a nonprofit, and Hansen says the board of directors works hard to ensure that the community is operated at the highest standards while also keeping costs down by negotiating with vendors.
"In our 15-year history, our annual increase has averaged about 3.1%," Hansen says. "It is very low compared to other continuing care retirement communities in the area."
Bill says the commitment to keeping Linden Ponds in tip-top shape is obvious. The Derby Clubhouse was recently updated with new carpeting and fresh paint, and other common areas are renovated on a regular basis.
"They keep this place up to date," Bill says. "We didn't do all these things when we lived at our house, and if we did, it would have been more expensive."