Aging and You – Locally Owned and Operated An Important Consideration in Senior Living
I love working at Ridgecrest Village. It is a special place. Daily, in countless ways, our residents spontaneously share why they chose Ridgecrest as their home. “It feels like home” comes directly from them. For many years, I’ve been helping older adults navigate the complexities of health care and senior living, finding the right help at the right time; something that fits their needs, pocketbook, and comfort level. The retirement industry is hot right now as big investors see opportunity…that’s why we are seeing explosive growth with huge retirement communities all over town. One of the great things about Ridgecrest is the fact that we are a locally owned and operated not-for-profit, the only one of its kind on the Iowa side of the QCA. This is a key consideration when making decisions about senior living and/or long-term care.
So why is this such a big deal? First, being local and governed by a volunteer board of trustees means that all the revenue produced remains here and is continually reinvested back into the community, opposed to paying a percentage of revenue to some corporate office somewhere in another city or state. To put this in perspective, I spoke to Ridgecrest Village CEO, Patrick McDonald, who has worked for corporate communities prior coming to Ridgecrest Village. He said, “The corporation was always paid first, off the top. If revenue was short, the difference was made up somewhere else, reflected in a subtle change in delivery of service, such as less floor staff to help.” He went on to say, “At corporate facilities, I was limited to a dollar amount to spend for each resident’s food. It tied my hands of doing anything special or impromptu. It delights me at Ridgecrest because we are not corporate. We have the freedom to make these decisions internally. It makes it possible for “us” to choose what our resident’s eat and they love the roast beef, steak and shrimp meals that are part of our meal plans…experiencing the Ridgecrest difference.”
Being local, the CEO (ultimate decision maker) is right on campus. If there is a problem, it can be addressed in real time and in person. That speeds up the process of problem resolution, which is always important, especially when dealing with care decisions that can be costly and emotionally draining. Additionally, with a local board of trustees, they are vested in good things for the community at large; their neighbors, friends and in many cases family.
In the fast-paced world we live in today, being up close and personal is a rarity. Living in a community which is locally owned and operated is something residents just take in stride. They know their voice is heard directly by the one(s) who can make things happen, whether it be the CEO or a board member they happen to see at church or a community event. Accountability is there and it makes all the difference in the world.
Julie Arndt is a licensed social worker and Director of Marketing at Ridgecrest Village with over 30 years of experience working in the field of geriatrics and senior advocacy.