Timing is everything. When the economy took a turn for the worse at the end of 2008, many seniors who were ready and eager to move into a retirement community hesitated. “They wanted to make the transition, but worried they wouldn’t be able to sell their home,” says Rita Vicary, administrator of marketing and sales at Lutheran Senior Services (LSS). “We wanted to make it easier for these folks, so we decided to help them through the process by providing a wide range of financial assistance options and moving services.”
LSS is a faith-based, mission-driven nonprofit that specializes in enhancing life for seniors, ages 62 and older. The network offers 19 retirement living locations in Missouri and Illinois, including nine that span all levels of care: continuing care, independent and assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. “Our mission is to support older adults in living life to the fullest,” says Vicary. “For us, that means creating ongoing opportunities for seniors to achieve their utmost development—physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We provide supportive options such as affordable housing and in-home services as well as senior living communities.” Last year, LSS served more than 8,000 people.
For seniors who are ready to move to an LSS retirement community but have not yet been able to sell their home, LSS can provide a special bridge loan program. “We finance the loan ourselves, so we can cover the cost of their entrance fee for them if their home is still on the market,” Vicary explains. “In addition, we deal with preferred realtors with whom we’ve negotiated discounted commissions to benefit our residents. We can also assist with the option of converting a resident’s home to a tax-advantaged annuity that provides a monthly income stream for life.”
Founded more than 150 years ago, LSS has an ‘A-’ Fitch rating and is the 12th largest nonprofit, multi-site senior living organization in the country, Vicary points out. “We have a tradition of maintaining a financial structure that ensures long-term stability, supports a highly qualified staff, provides for the best of care and encourages future growth and improvements,” she says. “Our stability and size enable us to offer a wide array of amenities to support older adults.”
Financial assistance isn’t the only service LSS offers to prospective residents. “Our move-in services staff offer in-home assessments, guidance and referrals that help with the task of downsizing, including making sales or storage arrangements,” Vicary says. “We can do everything from helping you lay out your new floorplan to making all the arrangements for moving day—and we can get you a discount with the moving company, too.”
Even under the best circumstances, moving can be an exhausting, overwhelming process, Vicary notes. “That’s why we strive to make the experience as easy and stress-free as possible for our residents,” she says. “It’s part of our person-centered approach to a comprehensive continuum of life choices. We’re dedicated to carrying out our mission—and to serving our seniors with compassion, heart and strength.”
On the Cover: Lutheran Senior Services is a faith-based nonprofit focused on enhancing life for seniors ages 62 and older. The network offers 19 retirement living locations in Missouri and Illinois, including nine that span all levels of care, and provides a wide range of financial assistance options to seniors who are ready to move to an LSS retirement community. For more information, call 262-8235 or visit lssliving.org. Cover design by Luke Smith