The more I hear that residency agreements are not negotiable from marketing directors, the more frustrated I become. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs aka Life Plan Communities) are potentially tripping up on this point and may wind up frustrating their potential clients. Anyone in the senior living industry knows upsetting seniors is not good business.
Let’s think about the offering that CCRCs are making from a holistic point of view. CCRCs provide for your independent care and higher levels of care, no matter what. This implies a loving, caring approach to your well-being. Not negotiating residency agreements hurts this approach.
By not negotiating their contracts, CCRCs run the risk contradicting their mission of serving their residents with compassion and trust. They may be saying, we’ll take care of you but only on our terms. If these terms are not suitable, that’s too bad.
And the residency agreements are not written in plain english for consumers to easily digest. On the contrary, most are written by attorneys whose job is to protect their CCRC client’s interests. Is it reasonable to present a senior with a contract that is difficult to understand and intended to cover that person for the rest of their life, and then insist that the contract is not negotiable?
It is not every CCRC that chooses to not negotiate their contracts. And there are some business terms that communities are willing to cave on such as entrance fees and sometimes even monthly fees. But not negotiating the contract generally flies in the face of the warm and friendly message that communities are trying to send. We just think stating out loud that a community won’t negotiate does not help the community’s goal of creating more move ins.