Frequently Asked Questions
Moving to a retirement community is a major life decision. It's essential to arm yourself with good information and learn to ask the right questions. We have provided here a list of questions we commonly receive. Just click the blue bar to reveal the answer. We also invite you to contact us directly with your questions. Also, attend our events to learn more about Emerald Heights and what sets us apart.
- How much does it cost to live at Emerald Heights?
As you join the Emerald Heights community, you'll pay a one-time entrance fee based upon the size of the residential unit selected, and the number of people who will be occupying the unit. A variety of floor plans are available from which to select. You can download our current "Resident Services & Fees" brochure and "Residential Floor Plans" on our Publications page.
- Why does Emerald Heights charge an entrance fee?
With your Emerald Heights entrance fee, you make a one-time investment in the Emerald Heights Life Care Program and gain priceless peace of mind. You secure lifetime residency at Emerald Heights with assisted living services, memory support/dementia care and skilled nursing care, for whatever time you need—with no increase in your monthly fee. Other retirement communities may offer health services but will charge significant additional fees when those services are required. These additional fees can mount and, despite your good planning, put your financial resources at risk.
Rental communities that don’t require an entrance fee generally offer limited services on site, and you may be required to move to another facility if your health declines. At Emerald Heights, your future costs are predictable, and you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a home and care for life.
- How are the monthly service fees calculated? Do they change?
Monthly service fees for a single person are calculated based on the size of the apartment occupied. There is a flat fee charged for an additional person (as in a couple), regardless of floor plan size. Monthly service fees are reviewed annually and are subject to cost of living increases.
You can download the current fee schedule here.
- How can I ensure that I have money left in my estate for my children to inherit?
Choosing a retirement community with the security of life care is a good first step toward your goal. You can protect yourself from catastrophic long-term health care costs, and you can build a budget with predictable monthly expenses. Emerald Heights also offers two refundable contract options, which allow a portion of your entrance fee to be returned to your estate. While the Traditional Plan requires the lowest initial cost for residency, the 50-percent and 90-percent Refundable Plans may appeal to you, as they guarantee that funds will return to your estate.
You can download the current fee schedule here.
- Are there any tax benefits for moving to Emerald Heights?
The IRS currently recognizes a percentage of both the initial Entrance Fee and the ongoing Monthly Service Fees at Emerald Heights as a medical expense deduction. As you consider a move to Emerald Heights, we encourage you to consult your personal tax adviser for more specific information on this potential benefit!
- I’m not sure I can afford to make this move.
Many residents have found that when they do a side-by-side comparison of our monthly service fees with the costs of maintaining their homes, the amounts are similar. And, at Emerald Heights, your monthly service fee includes time-unlimited assisted living services, memory support/dementia care and skilled nursing care if and when you need it. At Emerald Heights, you’ll be free from many daily responsibilities of maintaining a home and enjoy more time to pursue hobbies, make new friends and get involved in community projects.
One resident calculated what he and his wife would pay to remain safely in their house as they required additional services and realized that a move to Emerald Heights was a better value!
Click here for a financial worksheet that can help you compare the cost of living at Emerald Heights vs. living in and maintaining a home.
You can also request a personalized Financial Forecast, which takes into account your unique mix of income, assets and other factors to help determine whether Emerald Heights is a good fot for you and what floor plans are the most affordable. Click here to download the Financial Forecast form.
- What is Life Care?
Life Care, generally referred to as a Type A, extensive or complete care contract, involves an entrance fee and a monthly payment that does not change based on the level of care you require. Because future long-term care is provided at no extra cost, individual risk of uncertain future health care costs are shared by the life care community.
- What is included in my monthly service fee?
Payment of your Entrance Fee and the Monthly Service Fee entitles you to lifetime residency in the Emerald Heights residential unit of your choice. It also includes time-unlimited assisted living and/or skilled nursing care, as necessary, in the Corwin Center at Emerald Heights.
The Monthly Service Fee, based on your choice of residential unit, covers many services and conveniences, including:
- Flexible dining program with a monthly dining allocation
- Scheduled transportation service
- Building and grounds maintenance
- Bi-weekly housekeeping
- Weekly flat laundry service
- All utilities except telephone and premium cable television
- Emergency and security systems
- Planned social activities
- Fitness classes
- Time-unlimited assisted living and/or skilled nursing care in the Corwin Center
Learn more here.
- What are the standard features that will be provided in my apartment or cottage?
Each of the apartments and cottages at Emerald Heights comes equipped with a full kitchen, which includes a full-sized range/oven, dishwasher, microwave, garbage disposal, and refrigerator with automatic ice-maker.
Your apartment or cottage will also contain its own heat pump, so you can control both heating and air conditioning for your home. And when the fresh air and mild climate of the Pacific Northwest beckons you outdoors, you can step out to your own private patio or balcony.
- Is there high-speed Internet access available?
Yes. High-speed connection to the Internet is available for a reasonable fee through Emerald Heights’ cable TV provider. WiFi hot spots are also available for residents and guests in the library, coffee shop, living room and main corridor of Emerald Heights.
Making the Move
- I am looking for a place for my mom. She needs help with dressing, medications and bathing. Can she move into the Corwin Center directly?
Emerald Heights is designed as a residential/independent community, and the Assisted Living apartments and Skilled Nursing beds at The Corwin Center are maintained to serve existing residents. However, from time to time, there may be an opportunity for direct entrance to the Assisted Living program, as space allows. Call 425-556-8100 to inquire.
- I’m doing fine in my current home. Why should I consider a move to Emerald Heights now?
Life is bigger here than you ever imagined! Although no move is easy, postponing the decision about a move may mean you have less control over when that move eventually happens—and to where. Residents here will tell you to make the move while you can take full advantage of everything Emerald Heights has to offer—not when you’re pressured by failing health or overwhelmed by trying to keep up with home maintenance. Come join us! What are you waiting for?
- Isn’t there a long waiting list at Emerald Heights?
Emerald Heights does maintain a priority list for Future Residents. In our experience, waiting times for members of our Future Residents list can vary from a few short months to several years, depending primarily upon their readiness to move!
- I’ve been in my house for so many years that I’m not sure how to manage a move. Is there someone who can help with all the details?
Absolutely. A number of very reputable companies that specialize in helping seniors move are located in our area! We’ll be happy to provide you with contact information for these specialists so that you can find exactly the help you need—from advice on holding a garage sale to hands-on help packing and unpacking your belongings.
- Doesn’t a move to a retirement community mean my current lifestyle will change?
Yes. Our current residents will tell you that their lives have changed—for the better! As an Emerald Heights resident, you’ll have all the choices and freedoms you currently enjoy—but without the restrictions, burdens and chores of maintaining a house and yard. Our residents also find that their lives are enhanced by the variety of social, recreational, physical, educational, spiritual and volunteer opportunities offered here. Discover for yourself all that Emerald Heights has to offer!
- What’s the first step to moving in to Emerald Heights?
We invite you to visit the Emerald Heights campus, enjoy a complimentary lunch, and learn about the apartment and cottage floor plans. If you think Emerald Heights is right for you, we invite you to join our Future Residents list. With a $1,250 deposit, you can become a Future Resident, and participate in a variety of campus activities, stay informed about community news and events through regular mailings, and enjoy priority access to apartments and cottages as they become available.
Terms & Definitions
- I am so confused by all the terms used by the retirement communities I am considering!
We understand your confusion. While there are some standard definitions used in the industry, and industry associations and accrediting agencies try to be consistent, there are many different types or levels of continuing care communities.
And, when you receive marketing materials from these varied communities, it may be difficult to decipher exactly what you will get for your investment. It’s important that you do understand “the fine print” before you make any final decisions, so be sure to ask plenty of questions.
Below is a list of standard terms and definitions from LeadingAge that you may find helpful:
Independent Living: Independent living units are designed for seniors who pay for some congregate services (e.g., housekeeping, meals) as part of the monthly fee or rental rate, and who require little, if any, assistance with activities of daily living. Residents of independent living units may have some home health care type services provided to them by in house staff or an outside agency.
Assisted Living: Assisted living is a state licensed or certified entity for frail seniors who need assistance with the activities of daily living, but do not require continuous nursing care. These beds can be offered in a separate wing, separate floor (or part of a floor), or a separate building. For purposes of this report, any Alzheimer's/Dementia Care beds or other Specialty Care beds that are NOT licensed as nursing beds are included in assisted living.
Nursing Facility: All licensed nursing beds are included in this category.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer an innovative and independent lifestyle that is different from other housing and care options for older people. Through long term contracts they provide for housing, services and nursing care, usually all in one location. CCRCs are governed by state regulation in 38 states. Typically, CCRCs are classified as an insurance model and are governed at the state department of insurance or another similar entity. Each of the components making up a retirement community may also be subject to separate oversight: the housing units could be regulated at the local level, the assisted living regulated by the state, and the nursing home part of the community governed by state and federal regulations. For purposes of this report, respondents were instructed to complete the survey if they had at least two levels of care, one of which MUST be a nursing facility.
The CCRC contract is a legal agreement between the consumer and the continuing care retirement community. Upon payment of an entry fee and an ongoing monthly service charge, the agreement generally secures living accommodations and services, including health care services, over the long term.
Four common types of contracts are used:
Type A (Extensive Contract): Under an extensive contract, a resident typically pays an upfront fee and an ongoing monthly fee in exchange for the right to lifetime occupancy of an independent living unit and certain services and amenities. Residents who require assisted living or nursing care may transfer to the appropriate level and continue to pay essentially the same monthly fee they had been paying for independent living. Emerald Heights is a Type A CCRC.
Type B (Modified Contract): Under a modified contract, a resident typically pays an upfront fee and an ongoing monthly service fee for the right to lifetime occupancy of an independent living unit and certain services and amenities. However, under a modified contract, a CCRC is obligated to provide the appropriate level of assisted living or nursing care to residents of independent living units, as in an extensive contract, but only for a limited period of time at the independent living rate (e.g., 30 60 days) or at a discounted rate indefinitely.
Type C (Fee for service Contract): A fee for service contract may also require an entrance fee, but does not include any discounted health care or assisted living services. Under this type of contract, residents who require assisted living or nursing care pay the regular per diem rate that directly admitted residents pay; however, they may receive priority admission or guaranteed admission for those services.
Rental CCRC: Residents pay no significant up front entry fee at the time of occupancy of an independent living unit, and the resident pays the prevailing market rate for the level of care provided.
You can learn more about the various kinds of Continuing Care Retirement Communities at the Leading Age website.