Retirement Community – FAQ
Frequently asked questions, and answers.
As you start to plan life’s next chapter and evaluate retirement community options, you’ll undoubtedly have questions. To guide you, we’ve provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our senior living community in Morganton, NC. Of course, we’re always available to answer your questions — call us any time at 828-580-8300.
Who owns and operates Grace Ridge?
Grace Ridge is a nonprofit Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC) owned and operated by Grace Life Care Inc., an affiliate of UNC Health Blue Ridge. We’re one of two retirement communities in North Carolina affiliated with a health care system.
Are all retirement communities the same?
Absolutely not. Retirement communities differ in many ways, including amenities, contracts, agreements, refunds and overall ambience. North Carolina offers four types of contracts: Type A Life Care, Type B Modified Plan, Type C Fee-for-Service, and Equity-Based. When comparing communities, make sure you compare similar types of contracts. Also, each senior living community has its own special personality based on location, residents and programs offered. If they offer a one- or two-night trial stay, we suggest you take advantage of that so you can really see if the community feels right for you.
What’s a Life Care contract?
With its mountain backdrop and active senior lifestyle, residences at Grace Ridge represent a sound investment. In fact, all North Carolina retirement communities are overseen by the North Carolina Department of Insurance. As part of your Life Care contract, you would receive lifetime rights to live at Grace Ridge, even if you can no longer live independently, have health issues or need financial assistance. This reassurance is invaluable when planning for life’s unforeseen circumstances and ensuring the health of yourself or a loved one.
What are the benefits of a Life Care contract?
Benefits of the Life Care concept are best illustrated when a resident requires assistance. Should your health and wellness needs change, your entrance fee ensures you’ll receive high-quality supportive services and care in a professionally staffed environment. More importantly, you’ll receive this level of care for essentially the same monthly service fee you pay in your independent living residence. This means you can protect your assets from the potentially catastrophic costs of assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care. You’ll also be better able to predict monthly living expenses due to only a minimal increase in your monthly service fee — even when you require extensive health care. In addition to assured residency, your entrance fee allows use of all common amenities and spaces, services, and programs at Grace Ridge.
Is Grace Ridge associated with any national or state professional associations?
Grace Ridge is a member of LeadingAge of NC, a state chapter of the national LeadingAge Association. A union of 5,400 nonprofit organizations, LeadingAge is dedicated to expanding opportunities and possibilities for the aging population. Through its affiliation with LeadingAge, Grace Ridge is committed to inspiring, serving and advocating for seniors. Learn more about LeadingAge.
Is Grace Ridge affiliated with a religious organization?
Grace Ridge isn’t affiliated with a specific religion and welcomes people of all faiths and beliefs. We invite you to attend one of our nondenominational worship services in an idyllic setting that inspires spiritual connections.
Who can live at Grace Ridge?
As with many retirement communities, there are a few qualifications for residency at Grace Ridge, including age, assets, income and health. All prospective residents must be at least 60 years old and be able to live safely in an independent setting. Financial requirements vary according to age, health at the time of entry and residence selection.
What services are offered beyond independent retirement living?
While most residents of Grace Ridge initially enter as independent living, we offer a full continuum of health and wellness in case your care needs change. Assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support care services are provided in the same building as independent living apartments, ensuring the care you need is always nearby.
What other cities is Morganton close to?
Grace Ridge is ideally located in Burke County in Western North Carolina. We’re only an hour’s drive from Charlotte and Asheville — both of which have airports — as well as Boone and Statesville. An added bonus? The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most famous U.S. highways, winds its way through the northwestern part of Burke County.
Is it easy to make friends at Grace Ridge?
Here’s one of the best parts about living in an intimate community with just over 200 residents: Whether you’re married, single or widowed, it’s easy to fit right in with our friendly community.
What kinds of amenities and common areas do you have?
Grace Ridge offers numerous areas and amenities, most of which are housed on the main floor of our community to allow easy access for everyone:
- Gracious lobby and gathering area
- Spacious formal dining room
- Private dining room for special occasions
- State-of-the-art theater
- In-house exercise spaces with fitness equipment and classes
- Beauty salon and barbershop
- Game and billiards room
- Card rooms
- Meeting and activity spaces
- Library and reading rooms
- Auditorium with 200-person capacity
- Sewing room
- Rooftop solarium and lounge with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
- Outdoor garden with raised flower/vegetable beds
I love live sports and theater. Can I get my share of both?
You sure can! A one-hour drive gets you to Charlotte, where you can watch Charlotte Knights baseball, Charlotte Checkers hockey, Carolina Panthers football and Charlotte Hornets basketball. Closer to Morganton are the Hickory Crawdads and Asheville Tourists baseball teams. Meanwhile, CoMMA (City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium) offers year-round Broadway shows, concerts and theatrical productions.
What features do your apartments and cottages include?
Our residences are large, airy, and designed to complement today’s active senior lifestyles. While apartment and cottages differ slightly in layout and design, most include the following:
- Plush carpeting
- Vinyl flooring in kitchens and baths
- Spacious walk-in closets
- Fully equipped kitchens with generous cabinet space
- Large bathroom(s) with a shower, tub, or combination and vanities
- Television cable, telephone and data port outlets
- Emergency call system in bathrooms and bedrooms, connected to our central system for 24-hour security and nursing
- Fire and smoke detectors and a sprinkler system in our Health Care Center and expanded areas
- Individual heating and air conditioning system controls
Can I furnish and decorate my apartment?
Certainly! We expect residents to furnish and decorate their apartments and cottages to reflect their own personal tastes. Grace Ridge also offers comprehensive finish options so you can customize your residence, and we’re delighted to work with you as you plan your décor. Structural changes or additions beyond standard features are also possible; however, these must be approved by Grace Ridge management and are the financial responsibility of the resident.
May I bring my pet(s)?
Grace Ridge is pet-friendly and we welcome your four-legged family members. However, there are certain areas where pets are not permitted, so residents who have allergies or who aren’t animal enthusiasts can have their personal space as well.
How much are resident entrance fees?
Because our contracts and residences vary, entrance fees and monthly service fees also vary; however, most entrance fees are covered by revenue received from selling your home before moving to a retirement community. Likewise, monthly service fees are generally less than the typical costs you’d pay for food, utilities, health care and activities while living at home.
What’s included in the monthly service fee?
Your monthly service fee covers a minimum of the following programs, services and amenities: (*Also available under fee-for-service agreement at additional cost)
- One meal per day with flexible meal programs available*
- Access to on-site registered dietitian and nutritional counseling
- All utilities except for telephone and cable TV
- 24-hour security, emergency call and response systems
- Smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in common areas
- Regular housekeeping, including dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning of kitchen and bathroom areas*
- Biweekly laundering and changing of bed and bath linens*
- Washers and dryers in all new apartments and cottages
- Laundry facilities in the main building for washing and drying personal laundry
- Landscaping and maintenance of lawns, trees, shrubbery and garden areas
- Maintenance of all facilities, buildings and parking areas
- Scheduled transportation
- Complimentary subscription to The Morganton News Herald delivered daily to your door
- Variety of activities, including social, recreational, spiritual, educational, cultural, activity and special-interest programs
- Planned events and trips to exciting destinations
- Campus Health Care Center providing home care, emergency response from the Health Care Center, assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care for dementia-related disorders (all available with only a minimal increase in monthly service fee through Life Care benefit)
- Use of campus amenities such as lobby, 24/7 coffee bar, formal dining room, private dining room, 24/7 library, Table Rock Lounge and rooftop terrace, fitness area and exercise equipment, beauty and barber shop, arts and crafts areas, meeting and activity rooms, and card and game rooms
- Complimentary memberships to Phifer Family YMCA and Mimosa Hills Golf & Country Club
Do you have a health and wellness program?
Indeed, and it’s included in your monthly service fee. Our program caters to all components for healthy senior living, offering on-site classes and lectures through Grace Ridge University and classes (at little or no cost to you) at Western Piedmont Community College, less than five miles away. We provide on-site fitness and membership to Phifer Family YMCA with an indoor pool, membership to Mimosa Hills Golf Club, and a wealth of opportunities for indoor and outdoor recreation. Finally, we concentrate on your emotional, social and spiritual well-being. Whatever puts you in a good mood, from gardening and volunteering to fitness and games, you’ll find it at Grace Ridge.
Is the monthly service fee fixed or subject to change?
Monthly service fees are subject to change and reviewed annually by Grace Ridge’s board of directors and management. In most cases, fees are adjusted to cover actual operating costs. However, Grace Ridge strives to maintain low fees consistent with sound financial practices. Historically, annual increases approximate the annual cost of living and medical expenses, which affect the population of the area. If monthly service fees will increase, residents receive a 60-day written advance notice.
Are entrance and monthly fees tax-deductible?
Since the IRS considers that you’re “prepaying” part of your future health care costs by signing a Type A Life Care or Type B Modified Plan contract, you can deduct portions of your entrance fee and monthly fee as medical expenses. Please see IRS form 502 and your tax professional for details.
If I leave the community, does Grace Ridge offer entrance fee refunds?
Yes. Grace Ridge offers 90 percent refundable entrance fees for both Type A Life Care and Type B Modified Plan contracts. However, residents over age 80 are ineligible for refundable fees.
Do you have an emergency response system and on-site security?
We wouldn’t expect residents to live without it! Residences are designed for comfortable, distinctive living with careful consideration given to security, safety and accessibility. These features aren’t always noticeable in day-to-day living, but they’ll give you additional peace of mind. Every Grace Ridge resident has access to our emergency response system at any time. By request, we can also offer a manual daily check-in for apartment residents and phone check-in service for cottage residents.
What if I need assistance but don’t want to leave my apartment or cottage?
In addition to assisted living, Grace Ridge offers enhanced care, which provides in-home assistance within apartments and cottages. In-home services may include delivered meals, bathing and dressing assistance, medication and medical treatment, and routine monitoring of temperature, blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar levels. Typically provided by a certified caregiver, these services incur an additional charge depending on the amount of assistance needed.
Are concierge services available?
Our concierge program helps eliminate day-to-day worries and other stressful responsibilities so you can focus on enjoying retirement. Services are divided into six primary offerings to help you manage your daily schedules, activities and tasks: personal, home, shopping and errands, entertainment and leisure, travel and technical. Our professionals will perform the service themselves or safely and efficiently outsource the job.
How does Grace Ridge determine when I should move to assisted living or skilled nursing care?
The decision to move to another level of care follows a long, thoughtful process. Grace Ridge encourages residents to age in place, but sometimes resident safety requires us to consider other levels of care. These decisions and discussions are based on mental and physical health and made in consultation with our Medical Director, Director of Health Services and our Executive Director, using professional assessment criteria. In addition, we consult with the resident, their family, and personal physician to make sure everyone takes part in the decision.
In the event of a health care status change, will I have to give up my home?
Often, when residents need care at Grace Ridge Health Care Center, the stay is only temporary, so there is no need to give up their residence. In fact, we design our move and transfer policies to enable residents to remain in their apartments and cottages as long as possible, while still ensuring the safety and well-being of the resident and community. In the event of a need for hospitalization, most residents use nearby Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge Morganton hospital for these services.
Is there a Residents’ Association?
Yes, Grace Ridge’s Residents’ Association plays an active, integral role in community planning and interacts with our leadership team on many facets of campus life. Resident committees include decorating, planning and events, spiritual life, scholarship, library, landscaping, safety, fund development and welcoming committees. The association meets monthly and officers are elected annually.
How do I become a Grace Ridge resident?
It takes just four easy steps to become a resident and start living the active retirement life you always imagined.
- 1. Choose your preferred residence, complete your residency application, and make a $1,500 application/processing fee.
- 2. Wait approximately 30 days for your application to be reviewed and approved.
- 3. Following approval, submit the Residences and Services Agreement with a 10% deposit (less your $1,000 application deposit).
- 4. Plan your move so when your residence is ready you’ll be ready to move in and pay the remaining 90% of your entrance fee.