As Queens residents approach retirement age, there are few retirement facility options to choose from in New York City, causing many seniors to relocate to states like Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
However, many local residents are choosing a route that allows them to stay in the city, hold onto their assets and provide them with predictable lifetime health care costs.
Julia Bartholomew, Director of Marketing for the facility, described Skyline Commons, a life-care retirement community, located on Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, as “uncommon retirement” option.
It is the first non-profit retirement community of its kind in the city, and it offers seniors over 62 years old the option to buy an apartment close to the neighborhood where they grew up.
“With the long-term care community you have an ace in your back pocket, which is the long-term care that is guaranteed to you for the rest of your life,” said Bartholomew.
The facility is set to open in 2008, and it already has 100 out of its 143 apartments reserved by mostly Queens residents. Seniors predominantly from Forest Hills, Bayside, Whitestone and Richmond Hill have bought studios, one- or two-bedroom apartments for between $200,000 and $995,000.
The retirement community style of living has become a desired option for many in Queens, according to Bartholomew, because they offer their occupants facilities and benefits that they might not be able to find elsewhere.
“This is your plan for the future. This is your plan to protect what you have worked hard for,” Bartholomew said. “The government is not going to come after you and go after your assets. It answers all of your questions.”
A major attraction for those who sign up to live in the community are the predictable health care costs, according to Bartholomew.
Skyline Commons charges a flat monthly fee to cover all health care costs, which could become very expensive for those who have to rely on just government assistance. The community accepts mostly seniors who are in good health, but guarantees that if their health should deteriorate, nurses and health care coverage will be there for them.
Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a company located in Jamaica that employs nurses and aides to help the elderly, provides long-term care for the retired.
In addition, when the apartment is vacated, 90 percent of the paid amount is returned to either the renter or their estate. Essentially, the renter is paying 10 percent of the cost to house them for the rest of their life, said Bartholomew.
A studio apartment is 536 square-feet, a one-bedroom is 666 to 859 square-feet with an optional balcony and a two-bedroom is 1,085 to 1,198 square-feet.
The community also charges a monthly maintenance fee for their services, which includes 30 meals, bi-weekly housekeeping, weekly linen services, scheduled transportation, 24-hour security, valet and concierge service, telephone and cable, property taxes, interior and exterior maintenance and a variety of programs and activities.
The building, a former tuberculosis hospital, is 10-stories high and houses a restaurant, cocktail lounge, library, computer lab, performance center, day spa and fitness center.