Golden Years: Could Living Out Your Life in a Holiday Inn Be Cheaper Than a Nursing Home?

iStock.com/vgajic
iStock.com/vgajic

In a wry commentary on the financial and logistical issues that come with advancing age, a number of people have proposed a more economically sound alternative to assisted living. Rather than enter a nursing home, they're suggesting an extended stay at a Holiday Inn hotel—continental breakfast included.

Here's the theory: If you assume an average daily cost of $188 for a nursing home—although according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national average is actually $253 for a private room—the $59.23 nightly rate for seniors at a Holiday Inn hotel compares pretty favorably. The rate includes housekeeping services, free continental breakfast, complimentary toiletries, exercise equipment, and laundry. Socializing is available via lobbies or bar happy hours.

Variations on this unique strategy date back to at least 2011, with some mentioning a brochure that's been disseminated making a case for hotel retirement. More recently, a Facebook post by Virginia man Terry Robison was picked up by Michigan CBS affiliate WWMT and has renewed interest in the idea. There are obviously some gaps in such logic, specifically the idea that a hotel is equipped to monitor and care for elderly occupants with the same qualifications as staff in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. A maid can change bedding but is highly unlikely to assist with bathroom needs or helping physically compromised patients get around. You're also not going to find a Holiday Inn hotel tackling the potential liabilities involved in dispensing medication.

Then again, for those without such needs, it's not as far-fetched as it sounds. People on a fixed income, such as Social Security, might find good reason to consolidate housing costs in an extended-stay environment.

The idea speaks more to the financial crunch experienced by the elderly. People who are no longer able to live on their own are often faced with funding their "golden years" out of pocket, as health insurance and Medicare or Medicaid only cover such facilities in limited circumstances. Many people wind up dipping into savings, annuities, or reverse mortgages; others find they don't have the means to pay at all. The fact that a hotel chain can provide some of these services at a more reasonable cost than locations dedicated to assisted living is a rather alarming indictment of health care options for an aging population.

[h/t WWMT]

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Centre of Excellence
Centre of Excellence

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The Best Way to Defer Your Credit Card Payments During the Coronavirus Shutdown, Explained

Credit card companies can offer financial assistance, but there can be drawbacks.
Credit card companies can offer financial assistance, but there can be drawbacks.
alexialex/iStock via Getty Images

A number of financial relief options are available to Americans who have been affected by the unprecedented health situation created by the spread of the coronavirus. Mortgage companies are offering forbearances; insurance companies have lowered premiums for cars that aren’t being driven. Credit card companies have also acknowledged that cardholders may have trouble keeping up with their bills. While many companies are eager to help with debt and interest, there are some things you should know before picking up the phone.

The good news: If you’re unable to make your minimum monthly payment in a given month, major card issuers like Chase, Capital One, and others are willing to grant a forbearance. That means you can skip the minimum due without being hit with a negative strike on your credit report for a missed payment.

A forbearance is no free ride. Interest will still accrue as normal, and the card issuer may consider the missed payment deferred, not waived. If you pay $50 monthly, for example, and are able to skip a May payment, make sure the card won't expect a $100 minimum in June to cover both months. Ask the company to define forbearance so you know what’s expected. Some may be willing to lower your minimum payment instead, which could be a better option for you.

While the skipped payment won’t impact your FICO credit score directly, be aware that it could still have consequences. Because many minimum payments mainly cover interest, your balance won’t remain the same—it will continue to grow. And because that interest is still adding up, your total amount owed is still going up relative to your available credit, which can affect your score.

If you have a sizable amount due, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recommends looking into alternatives to forbearance, like using savings to pay down some high-interest cards, taking advantage of zero-interest balance transfer offers, or even taking out a personal loan with a lower interest rate.

If you have multiple credit card balances and the prospect of trying to get through to a human to discuss payment options seems daunting, the NFCC is offering their assistance. The agency can put you in touch with a credit counselor who can act on your behalf, obtaining forbearances or other relief from the card companies. Be advised, though, that card issuers may want to get your permission to deal with the counselors directly. The program is free and you can reach the NFCC via their website.

Be mindful that emergency relief is different from a debt management plan, which consolidates debt and can have a negative impact on your credit card accounts.

In many cases, the best thing to do is to pick up the phone and deal with the card issuer directly. Explain your situation and ask about what options they have. Some might waive payments. Others might offer to lower your interest rate. No two card issuers are alike, and it’s in your best interest to take the time to see what’s available.

[h/t lifehacker]