As more and more residents of Virginia move toward retirement age, the need for estate planning increases. Many facets of post-retirement life need to be addressed, not least of all planning for long-term care. One Virginia retirement community has been making news because of how it is treating its elderly residents differently depending on what level of care they require.
Harbor's Edge is a nonprofit retirement community in Norfolk, Virginia. Residents reside in one of three distinct areas: the independent-living units, which are in a high-rise building; assisted-living apartments; or the nursing unit. Until recently, the main dining room, which features a sweeping view of the Elizabeth River, was open to any of the residents at the facility.
However, Harbor's Edge decided last spring to restrict use of the main dining room to those who lived in the independent-living apartments. Those who resided in the nursing unit or the assisted-living wing at the facility had to use dining rooms specified for their particular areas.
This put an end not only to people outside the independent-living area using the main dining room, called the River Terrace, but also prevented them from hosting their families and friends there. In some cases, friends who lived in different parts of the facility were left unable to dine together. It even split up a few married couples who required different levels of care. Some of the residents are now considering a lawsuit.
While not every aspect of retirement can be controlled, careful planning can ward off a lot of surprises. Many people in Virginia would benefit from discussing their plans for retirement with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Source: The New York Times, "Tables Reserved for the Healthiest," Paula Span, Feb. 9, 2012