Silver Maples News & Blog

A Candid Conversation About Senior Living

Click play to listen to the interview

What We Talked About

  • Large Business Leadership Award recipient from the Chelsea Are Chamber of Commerce
  • Silver Maples’ involvement in the greater Chelsea community
  • Introduction of new Executive Director/CEO, Julie Deppner
  • History of Silver Maples – Celebrating 20 years!
  • What differentiates Silver Maples from other senior living communities
  • Short description of what independent living, assisted living and short term respite care looks like at Silver Maples
  • Quick explanation of their financial structure
  • What the future has in store for Silver Maples

Interview Transcript

Lucy Ann Lance: We are in Ann Arbor's Talk Station 1290 WLBY, the Lucy Ann Lance Show. And it's time for our Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce report. Today we announce the Large Business Leadership Award winner for 2016, and it is Silver Maples of Chelsea. Bob Pierce with us from the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce. Talk about this award and how important it is.

Bob Pierce: Good morning, Lucy Ann. This is the most important award that the Chamber gives every year. We have so many wonderful businesses in town, but the Large Business I think we've only given it 14 times, maybe 15.

Lucy Ann Lance: Oh, really?

Bob Pierce: And so it just shows how special that award is for our businesses.

Lucy Ann Lance: We welcome in today, Christina Kim, Director of Marketing and Sales at Silver Maples. Nice to see you again.

Christina Kim: Good Morning.

Lucy Ann Lance: And a woman who is familiar to Chelsea residents in a different capacity. For the last year she has been the Executive Director and CEO of Silver Maples of Chelsea, Julie Deppner.  Julie, tell them what you did prior to this job.

Julie Deppner: Good morning, Lucy Ann. I was a former assistant superintendent with the Chelsea School District. A long-time teacher within the Chelsea School District, and former high school principal. So, I spent the last 21 years in education in the Chelsea School District.

Lucy Ann Lance: Why did you decide to make that transition from education to senior care and housing?

Julie Deppner: You know, it's interesting how similar Silver Maples specifically is to actually running a high school. I loved that it was an opportunity for me stay local, stay in the Chelsea community and to serve the residents of Chelsea in a different capacity. The opportunity presented itself, and it was just great timing for me to make a leap into a whole new career, and it's been very rewarding so far.

Lucy Ann Lance: To have that institutional knowledge of the community speaks volumes. It's wonderful that you know the community really from the young to the very old now.

Julie Deppner: Exactly. In fact, I see a lot of parents of former students now at Silver Maples who are children of their parents who reside at Silver Maples, so it's nice to make those connections.

Lucy Ann Lance: That description describes exactly why we've seen such a growth in senior care. Tell us a little bit, Christina, about the history behind Silver Maples.

Christina Kim: Silver Maples’ first residents moved in, in 1997. This year is very special for us because we're celebrating 20 years. So that's awesome! There's just been continual growth in the community starting with the independent and assisted living apartments when we were first built.  Then, we added some independent villas, added more independent living apartments and some additional common spaces for the residents and their families to enjoy. It's been really great to see all the growth and just how we keep enriching the community for the seniors.

Lucy Ann Lance: And tell everyone where the property is located.

Christina Kim: We're at 100 Silver Maples Drive in Chelsea, right next to the hospital.

Lucy Ann Lance: Which is yet another great connection to have.

Christina Kim: Absolutely! A lot of people that are moving to the area really love how walkable the community of Chelsea is and having a fantastic health system right next door is ideal. It allows our seniors to continue to drive if they choose to do so, and know that health services are right next door.

Lucy Ann Lance: Julie, what makes Silver Maples stand out from other senior living communities?

Julie Deppner: Well, one of the things I think, and relate it a bit to the size of Chelsea High School, is the size of our community is ideal. With 152 residential options, we certainly know every resident by name. The staff really knows them. There's this real special culture there, feeling like home, and feeling like family. But we're also large enough to have so many amenities and activities for our residents. So, I think the size just makes it really ideal for those relationships and amenities.

Lucy Ann Lance: I'm a baby boomer obviously, and I can't tell you how many of my friends are right now either dealing with parents and trying to figure out what the next step in their life is going to be, or actually have some friends around my age who also are going through different kinds of health issues who are looking at making that transition as well. How does one decide independent versus assisted living and all the other options?

Christina Kim: I think it's hard to really know. And we're by no means expecting someone to know. Usually it's a health event or something has happened in their life where they're starting to investigate options. We've always said come talk to us, we want to hear from you. Tell us what's going on.  Start the conversation; start it early. It doesn't mean that you have to move tomorrow. It could be a year or even three or four years down the road. But we just want to help you understand what's available so that you can figure out when is the right time to make that move.

Lucy Ann Lance: And I think too those that like to stay in their homes; you've got that option of it really is a home setting. There's a lot to be said for I think cleaning out that home of 50 years. We just did this with our family home and sold it last year. And to have that taken care of before it becomes a necessity, it just was a huge weight off our shoulders and it meant a lot to have our father who later passed away, to be part of that process. So I think people need to know it's doable. Don't fear that.

Christina Kim: Right. It's funny. I think it's a big hurdle. I think at any age change is hard. And I think it's human nature to wait until something occurs to really force your hand a little bit to make that move. We want to empower people to just think beyond the here and now and think about the future, and not about how things will change, but how they can change in a really good way and enhance your life. It's amazing to hear from residents and even their family, say the best decision they ever made was moving to Silver Maples. They're just more vibrant, and they're connected, and they're just doing way more than they were doing in their own homes. And that's awesome!

Lucy Ann Lance: The independent residential villas are probably much more suited to seniors than perhaps the home that they raised their family in, right?

Christina Kim: Absolutely. You've got the wider doorways. You've got everything on one level. We find that sometimes people may be struggling in that independent living home that don't want to leave. And once they do make that move, they see that they can actually do even more for themselves in a setting that's appropriate for them.

Lucy Ann Lance: And then, there's the independent residential apartments as well. Same kind of thing where it's all laid out in a way that makes sense, right?

Julie Deppner: And they're indoors.  In the winter we have residents that say, "It's so nice that the apartments are inside." If they don't want to leave their home, they don't have to. Dinner is ready, there's lots of available activities for them, and all within their warm, comfy environment.

Lucy Ann Lance: Nice. So, independent means what, as far as amenities included, or are there different levels of those amenities that you can purchase?

Christina Kim: There's definitely different levels. The independent villas are larger homes. The most independent option that we have, so they have 10 meals a month and it's maintenance-free, and it allows people to be part of a greater community, or what we like to refer to as a retirement neighborhood, because we're within the Chelsea area. The apartments have a few more amenities. They have 20 meals a month. We do some housekeeping, and it's just being inside and making it easy and accessible to get to things without putting on a coat and jumping in your car. They can really do a lot without leaving the community if that's what they desire to do.

Lucy Ann Lance: And then, there's the Meadows Apartments. That's the assisted living apartments?

Christina Kim: That's correct.

Lucy Ann Lance: Okay. What would that life be like?

Christina Kim: There are a wide range of services in the assisted living. We attract a lot of very high functioning assisted living folks that maybe it’s a little bit of a struggle to be in an independent setting, and they really benefit from the additional support of three meals a day, help with medication, and some cuing if needed. So, again, it allows people to be very independent, making choices on what they want to do every day and just living their life, and knowing that that support is there when they need it.

Lucy Ann Lance: And you also have short stays, which is respite care. And that's the Meadows residence. So would that include rehab and other kinds of things that people often need when they get out of the hospital?

Christina Kim: It's not rehab, a lot of people confuse that. It's actually AFTER rehab. So if someone has done a rehab stay, and they're not quite able to return home, (especially if they're living alone), the short stays is one of my favorite programs, because it just allows that additional support to get them stronger to return home. We also have a couple of individuals that have stayed with us several times a year because their plan is living at home with their children, and that's great. They use our short stays for maybe a week or even a month while family's traveling. What's cool about that is that they know us well, the individual knows us well, and the family knows us well. It just really works out great for everyone.

Lucy Ann Lance: Okay. For instance, if you were in a hospital and you go into a rehab setting, there's only a certain amount of time that MediCare or Medicaid will pay for that.

Christina Kim: That's correct.

Lucy Ann Lance: Okay, then, you might not be quite ready to go back home. You could this as an option, this respite care through Silver Maples.

Christina Kim: Absolutely. We had a lady that lived alone and fell and hurt her shoulder. She had a hard time getting dressed, and living alone would be difficult. So, she stayed with us for about a month and a half and then returned home. Do we hope that she returns to our community later? Yes, absolutely. She had an opportunity to experience what life is like at Silver Maples, and often times people do come back when the time is right.

Lucy Ann Lance: That's nice. You don't have to come from a hospital setting to use that though.

Christina Kim: No, not at all. Like I said, we work with individuals that live with their adult children, and that's their plan. And they have no really desire to move into a community long-term. They use our short stays program as an option for when their family is traveling, or they have meetings or appointments. They'll come and stay with us for a week (our minimum stay is 1 week), or could be as long as several months. It just depends.

Lucy Ann Lance: You provide retirement living options, wonderful ones, and services to seniors in Chelsea and our surrounding area. We're talking about Silver Maples of Chelsea and with us today, Christina Kim, who you just heard, Director of Marketing and Sales. Julie Deppner, she is the Executive Director and CEO. This is a locally owned non-for-profit senior living community. And tell us about that distinction and in particular what payment plans are available and how that works with your community.

Julie Deppner: Well, first of all Silver Maples was actually a partnership with UMRC, United Methodist Retirement Communities and the Chelsea Hospital back in the late '90s. Since then the Chelsea Hospital has now become St. Joe, so the 5 Healthy Towns organization took on that partnership. So we currently have a 50/50 partnership with UMRC and 5 Healthy Towns. As a not-for-profit organization, that allows us opportunities to really give back to the Chelsea community, so it's really nice to have that relationship within the community. It also allows us to help control our costs. Our residents have a lot of input, and help us during the budgeting process prioritize some of our projects. for example, sometimes the budgeting process, or how we prioritize some of our projects.

Lucy Ann Lance: I want to talk about pricing in just a moment, but Bob, to Julie's point on the collaboration they do in the community, and they host a lot of events, service clubs, organizations, the Adult Learners Institute, artists and musicians. It really is a neighborhood.

Bob Pierce: You know, it really is. I was sitting here listening to Christina describe all of the amenities and the services for seniors. And when we come in as a community member for an event, this is a vibrant place. It's just very lively, and they open their arms. We've had many Chamber events there. We've had our luncheons there, fun events as well as the educational events. It really is part of Chelsea. It isn't some isolated community. It's a very, very well connected.

Lucy Ann Lance: That certainly is a great option for those who need it, and that's going to be all of us one day from what I can tell out there. Silver Maples of Chelsea. If you go online to silvermaples.org and if you click on Accommodations, you can see the various options that we're talking about. You can actually take a tour, and there's a pricing sheet you can download. Could you give everyone an idea of how are people paying for this today?

Christina Kim: Sure. So, the assisted living is just monthly fees that they're paying. In our independent options, the financial structure is an entry fee that's refundable based on the contract option that they choose, and they do pay a monthly fee on top of that. A lot of our residents really appreciate that structure because they feel that they're investing in the retirement neighborhood. They know that as a non-profit we're investing back in Silver Maples. We're also investing back in the community of Chelsea. People who are moving to Silver Maples are really checking out the community of Chelsea as well when they're doing their tour. We encourage them to drive around, check out the area and what's available because a lot of them are moving in town maybe from out of state because their children are in the area. So, they really want to see the community that they're going to be involved in, so it's kind of a neat thing. That's really why we changed our name to a retirement neighborhood.

Lucy Ann Lance: The investment. Is that for the residential villas and the residential apartments?

Christina Kim: That's correct. So the entry fee is for the independent options.

Lucy Ann Lance: Can you give us an example of what that might be like and how that refund occurs?

Christina Kim: Sure, so there are three different contract options. A 90% refundable option, 50% refundable, or a zero, non-refundable option. The fees change depending on the option that is chosen.

Lucy Ann Lance: ...So zero would be less than a 90%.

Christina Kim: That's correct. You got it.

Lucy Ann Lance: And the refund happens at the end?

Christina Kim: Yes. When they're closing their contract and moving out for whatever reason, that's when the refund would be given back to them.

Lucy Ann Lance: So if they pass away, it would go to their estate.

Christina Kim: Yes, their estate.

Lucy Ann Lance: Or, however they've constructed that.

Christina Kim: They can tell us how they want that to be handled. It can go to a trust, their estate, they can divide it evenly amongst [their] kids... So they tell us exactly how they want that handled.

Lucy Ann Lance: And in the meantime, you're able to use those funds to invest and to use the interest, et cetera on the properties. Correct?

Julie Deppner: We’ve had a lot of families say, "It was so nice I didn't have to worry about putting my parents’ home up for sale." There's no real estate fees at that point. They know what the refundable amount is going to be. And at that time, it's just refunded.

Lucy Ann Lance: Well, so many people are worried about using their investments to do something like this, but this really allows them the option of still having investments actually.

Christina Kim: Absolutely. Some people are selling their home and using the funds from that sale to pay their entry fee at Silver Maples. But Julie's absolutely correct, we've had a handful of people that have moved out to move to other states to be closer to children elsewhere because they've transferred jobs. They give us 90 days notice, and they're free to go. They can then take those funds and use them somewhere else. So it really allows a lot of flexibility.

Lucy Ann Lance: And then, monthly for the villa would be ...

Christina Kim: It can be anywhere from about $3,500 to $4,000 depending on single or couple.

Lucy Ann Lance: Is that considered a rental then, or do they own that villa?

Christina Kim: It is more of a rental. There's the investment. The entry fee's an investment in the villa. And then they're just paying the monthly fee for the services.

Lucy Ann Lance: Okay. Then, for the Maples apartments, the independent residential apartment. Approximate monthly?

Christina Kim: That can be anywhere from about $2,500 up to $4,000, depending on if it's a single or a couple.

Lucy Ann Lance: Remember, we're talking about meals. We're talking about housekeeping. Right?

Christina Kim: Right, and so we challenge people to look at the numbers. It can be shocking at first, but really we have a nice comparison to say, "No, go home, and look at what are you paying for meals and housekeeping and lawn care and all these extra things. You're going to get a lot closer than you think."

Lucy Ann Lance: If someone has purchased long-term care in their life, which I urge all young people to get it now.

Christina Kim: Absolutely!

Lucy Ann Lance: If you're even up to your 50s, I mean, just do it. Can you use that on the assisted living apartments? Can you use it on the independent?

Christina Kim: You can only use it on the assisted living. When we hear people have long-term care insurance, that's great. We love hearing that, because what that does is it takes some of the financial burden out of the question of where you want to go. If you have that, it really helps make your choices a little bit easier. That the financial part is not dictating where you need to go.

Lucy Ann Lance: Let's make this clear. Insurance doesn't cover any of this, right?

Christina Kim: Right.

Lucy Ann Lance: Does it cover respite care?

Christina Kim: No.

Lucy Ann Lance: No. Okay.

Christina Kim: It's all private pay.

Lucy Ann Lance: All right. These are conversations we need to have. You were in high school. You were a teacher. This is the kind of thing I think we have to teach young people so they understand the value of these kinds of things when it comes time to make these determinations.

Julie Deppner: Exactly. In my new role here it certainly has. Boy, I've had a great education myself. It's been nice for my family and I to start having some conversations as well.

Lucy Ann Lance: Wonderful. Well, great to see the growth at Silver Maples and all that you offer the community. Silver Maples is the Large Business Leadership Award winner from the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce this year, and I can see why, Bob.

Bob Pierce: It's so deserving. It's just a great community and a great business.

Lucy Ann Lance: What does the future hold for your properties, and where would you like to take Silver Maples, Julie?

Julie Deppner: Yeah, great question. You know, right now we do have a wait list for all of our villas and really for our other independent living apartments as well. Our occupancy is very high, and so that's very exciting for us. We are looking for opportunities for growth, especially in the independent living villas and apartments. We see those as areas of great need, especially within the Chelsea community.

Lucy Ann Lance: Do you have property that you could build on?

Julie Deppner: We do. We have some property that's located on Old U.S. 12, that we're looking into as a possible expansion. It's not contiguous to our currently property, so we're working with the hospital and some other organizations to find some locations that we can do some potential expansion.

Lucy Ann Lance: Wow.

Julie Deppner: Yeah, very exciting.

Lucy Ann Lance: And if you had to guess, how many years out would that be?

Julie Deppner: We're really looking at a one to three year plan here because the need is there for residents in our community and the greater Washtenaw area for senior living. We want to be able to provide opportunities.

Lucy Ann Lance: It is indeed. That wait list. How long conceivably if someone gets on it do you have to wait?

Christina Kim: The villas can be long, because we only have 17 villas, so they're in high demand. So it could be two or three years. If a villa is something that you're looking to move into, definitely come talk to us right away. Get on the wait list. There's a lot of perks to the wait list too, where we invite you to come in and have dinner with us, with our residents, once a month.

Lucy Ann Lance: Right.

Christina Kim: We want people to get connected with the community before they move in. We also offer a really great VIP program where they can come and stay for a couple of nights. Again, meeting with our residents, dining with them, asking questions. Seeing what the community is like on a daily basis when it's crazy busy with activity, when it's maybe a little bit slower of a day, I think really helps answer questions regarding whether the community is the right fit for me? For our apartment list, we do have a wait list as well. It's really more about what size of apartment you desire. We've got nine different floor plans.

Lucy Ann Lance: Oh, nice.

Christina Kim: We try to help people figure out what's the perfect size that you're looking to move into. So that wait list, you might be able to move right in, and you might be up to a year. It just depends.

Lucy Ann Lance: All right. Smart marketing though, having people come in while they're on that wait list and experience it.

Christina Kim: Thanks. It's been the best program. We started it in 2008 when the market was a little bit lower. We had a bunch of apartments to fill, and we've never gotten rid of it. It's been great. We allow our residents to rent it for family members that are coming in town, and then we use it marketing-wise. It' a great program. People love coming to stay for a couple nights.

Lucy Ann Lance: Beautiful. It's Silver Maples of Chelsea and certainly a wonderful senior residence neighborhood. You can go online to silvermaples.org and learn more. Great talking today with Christina Kim, Director of Marketing and Sales, and Julie Deppner, the Executive Director and CEO. Thank you very much.

Christina Kim: Thank you.

Julie Deppner: Thank you.

Lucy Ann Lance: Bob Pierce, Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce. A true gem in your community, Silver Maples.

Bob Pierce: Absolutely. And Julie just recently jointed our Board. We've had the CEO of Silver Maples on our Board for the last 14-15 years.

Lucy Ann Lance: That's great.

Bob Pierce: So, very involved.

Lucy Ann Lance: Congratulations for the Large Business Leadership Award.

Julie Deppner: Thank you.

Christina Kim: Thank you.

Lucy Ann Lance: You're listening to Ann Arbor's Talk Station 1290 WLBY.