Friday, April 4, 2014

Still Deciding on a Retirement Community? Let Me Make it Easier on You

By Brant C. Hart, Pickersgill Retirement Community Executive Director

With several senior living communities to choose from in the Baltimore, Md., area, I can understand why some people have a hard time figuring out where to start their search. As the executive director of Pickersgill Retirement Community, I would suggest starting (and ending) with Pickersgill, of course, and I’ll give you a few simple reasons why:

  1.  We are always improving: That might seem like a bit of a blanket statement, but it’s a true blanket statement. We are constantly looking ahead and constantly making upgrades in the community (we just finished a $1 million upgrade to our heating and cooling system), and it gets noticed. A State Department of Licensure employee recently made that comment to me: “Wow. You guys are always making improvements.” We are. We do it because we want residents to see their money in action, whether it’s in a fresh coat of paint in the hallways, WiFi throughout the community, new furniture in our lounge areas or upgrades to equipment used in all levels of care. We have a “replacement fund” for this very reason; our commitment to staying ahead of plant issues and senior living trends sets us apart from the rest.
  2. We are affordable—and we maintain that: We keep rate increases to a minimum; on average, residents have seen only a 2 percent rate increase a year in rent since 1993 (and that’s about 3 percent less than many of our competitors). It’s been our mission—for 200 years—to make senior living affordable to seniors in the Baltimore, Md., area and we haven’t broken that promise yet.
  3.  Dedicated staff: A good chunk of our good reputation is due to the good work performed every day by our dedicated staff. And I don’t mean that our staff just does their job well, and does it with a smile (which they do), but they keep that energy up for our residents for years, even decades. We have had employees retire after 30, 40, even 50 years of service. They all tell me they love coming to work each day because of the residents. If it weren’t for our community’s overarching commitment to providing excellent care to residents, we wouldn’t have dedicated staff like we have, and we wouldn’t have happy residents like we have, either.
  4. Range of Assisted Living Offerings is Minimal: We don’t have a lot of add-ons, which—in some communities—can translate to ‘a lot of add-on fees.’ We offer residents an option to have limited assisted living help, or a more comprehensive assisted living package (which seem to be the two types of people who often need those accommodations). It makes sense to us, and saves cents for residents.
  5. Spacious Skilled Nursing Rooms: As a continuing care retirement community, it’s important to us that not only are independent living residents comfortable, but residents in all levels of care—including skilled nursing—are feeling at home. Our skilled nursing rooms are each equipped with their own lavatory, and are very spacious when lined up against our competitors. “High levels of care” means a little more than top-notch medical assistance at Pickersgill (though you’ll get that, too); we value privacy and dignity, and we think residents value us for that very reason. 

Founded in 1802, Pickersgill Retirement Community is named after one of its early board presidents, Mary Pickersgill, the seamstress who created the American flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner." Today the nonprofit retirement community offers a continuum of retirement living accommodations, including brand-new assisted living rooms and suites. To learn more, visit us online at www.pickersgillretirement.org, or feel free to give us a call at 410-825-7423.

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