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