Residents of Continuing Care Retirement Communities Should Know Their Rights
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 4, 2015 – Many aging retirees are considering spending their retirement years at a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
While such communities have several benefits, including access to lifetime care, and the ability to transition from independent living to an assisted living arrangement, or even a nursing home, all of which are located on the same campus, they are not without costs and risks. They tend to be expensive, and have large monthly fees. In one case, residents say they discovered that the facility lacked a reserve account for refunds, and they say their sense of security and peace of mind was affected.
Residents at a CCRC called Vi in Palo Alto, California realized that there was no reserve account for refunds, and that its parent company was not liable for issuing refunds to the residents. As a result of this revelation, six residents of Vi filed a class action lawsuit against Vi management, alleging breach of contract, misrepresentation of facts, failure of its fiduciary duty and violation of state laws and business codes.
“Residents of continuing care retirement communities need to be aware of their legal rights, and take action to protect them when necessary,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, with offices in northern Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
In most states, there are few laws in place to protect the rights of residents of CCRCs, even though they may be given full financial disclosure. Elderly people who may not be as knowledgeable as the plaintiffs in the Vi case may find it challenging to determine whether their interests will be protected, and if the decision to move into a CCRC is a sensible one. In an effort to remedy the lack of oversight, the National Continuing Care Residents Association is attempting to inform prospective residents and increase state regulation.
While one of its committees has written a “bill of rights” for residents to be applied nationally, other committees are trying to formulate laws in order to improve the level of financial transparency and stability. It is their wish that state governments will adopt these laws. The association would also like to create an index of financial solvency that potential residents can use to compare retirement homes. To learn more, visit the association’s website.