Florence Reiners, 94, loves living at Waters of Excelsior, an upscale assisted living facility in Excelsior, a suburb of Minneapolis. The 115-unit building features a theater, a library, a hair salon and a large dining room.
“The windows, the light and the people in general are very happy and friendly,” said Mrs. Reiners, a retired nursing assistant. Most importantly, she was just one floor away from her 95-year-old husband, Donald, a retired water department worker who served in the Army after World War II and suffers from severe dementia.
She resisted her children’s pleas to move him to a less expensive facility available to veterans.
Mrs. Reiners is healthy enough to be in an apartment for people who can live independently, so her rent is $3,330 plus $275 for a pendant alarm. When she needs help, she is billed an exact amount, such as a $26.67 charge for the 31 minutes an assistant spent helping her go to the bathroom one night.
Her husband’s specialized care at the center cost much more: $6,150 a month, on top of $3,825 in rent.
Month by month, his savings, primarily from the sale of his home, and monthly retirement income of $6,600 from Social Security and his municipal pension, dwindled. In three years, his assets and savings fell from about $550,000 to approximately $300,000.