Tom and Karen Winters of Lancaster remember well the conversations that would come up innocently enough among their friends.
Tom, a retired education executive with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and Karen, a retired Institutional Territory Business Manager with Bristol-Myers Squibb, have been SmartLife Members since 2018. They both recall how the thought process started. Once they and their friends retired, social conversations naturally led to talk about their next season of life.
As questions arose about everyone’s plans, the subject of possible future long-term care needs would often come up. What would happen if long-term care was needed as they got older?
Who would make the arrangements? And, was it possible to lose one’s nest egg paying for it all?
The Winterses, parents of two grown sons, were adamant about not wanting to be an added responsibility for them. “We didn’t want to be a burden to our children, either financially or emotionally,” explains Tom. “We wanted to assure our sons that we were going to have the care we need without them having to face those obstacles.” Karen agrees. “My boys will always be my boys— not my caretakers.”
After researching options, the couple soon realized that SmartLife met all of their needs.
As a true Life Plan at Home program, SmartLife helps seniors to “age in place” in their own home. Tom’s and Karen’s home, with its stunning outdoor living space and pool, is perfect for entertaining friends and family, and they did not want to change the lifestyle they have there. The couple also enjoys gardening together, adding extraspecial colorful blooms to enhance their property. Inside their spacious, sunlit front living room stands a majestic grand piano where you’ll often find Karen.
The Winterses can continue this current lifestyle with the security of knowing they are covered if long-term care is ever needed. In that event, SmartLife’s Lifecare Coordinators would take care of the many details of arranging care—not Tom and Karen’s sons.
Additionally, the couple’s assets are protected for the future because monthly fees do not increase because a Member needs an increased level of care.
“I immediately realized SmartLife has significant benefits over long-term care insurance,” Tom recalls. “We can stay in our home and enjoy the benefits of Willow Valley Communities, as well as a SmartLife Care Coordinator who is there for us always.” “Our Care Coordinator doesn’t miss a beat,” Karen chimes in. “She’s very warm, very personable. She follows through.”
“You simply don’t get that with long-term care insurance,” adds Tom. “One is personal, and the other is very impersonal. It feels far more comforting to know there is someone who is going to take care of everything.”
The couple agrees that the comfort of knowing they have SmartLife makes it all worthwhile. “We haven’t needed a lot,” Tom says. “It’s more of a matter of feeling the assurance that when we do, it will be there.”
“It was definitely a relief just to know we have that support if needed,” comments Karen. “Because I really believe in SmartLife. I really do.”
They also say that knowing SmartLife is backed by Willow Valley Communities’ 40-year reputation of excellence adds to their feeling of security. “We view our SmartLife membership as something we did for our boys,” they explain. “We know for the future we will be covered, and our assets will be protected. That’s the reputation of Willow Valley Communities, and that’s the reputation of SmartLife.”