With all the unique characteristics of today’s senior living communities, one important feature that is often overlooked is whether the community or facility is a for-profit or non-profit organization. Even though this distinction can make a world of difference, many individuals searching for a new senior living community fail to take note of this defining characteristic. Whether looking at skilled nursing, assisted living, independent living, or home care, the industry is predominately for-profit. According to the American Geriatrics Society, nearly 70% of nursing homes in the U.S. are for-profit, while only 23% are non-profit, and approximately 7% are government-run facilities.
While each community is unique with its own management, generally speaking there are several benefits to choosing a non-profit community. One important feature of a non-profit community is that any surplus gained is invested back into the community, with a focus on caring for the residents and improving the facilities. The pressure of making money and being accountable to shareholders is a heavy focus for a for-profit organization, whereas a non-profit is given the freedom to remain focused on their mission and resident care. This non-profit distinction allows the community to put their focus and energy on what they value most.
Many of the for-profit communities are run by large, national chains and can lack the benefits of local community leadership. Snyder Village, a non-profit life plan community in Metamora, IL, has deep local roots stemming all the way back to its namesake, Bertha Snyder. Mrs. Snyder had a profound love for her local community which led to her leaving a charitable gift that would ultimately lay the foundation for Snyder Village. As a non-profit organization, Snyder Village is governed by a volunteer board of directors. This board is comprised of individuals from the local area who possess a variety of perspectives and a committed interest in the local community. All decisions made regarding the residents and their care are made locally by people who are held accountable by the community.
The time, commitment, and even resources invested by local community members into a non-profit facility help to further establish the accountability put on the organization to continue offering a high level of care. Snyder Village has roughly 180 volunteers each year who do everything from running fundraising events to accompanying residents on outings. “It would be difficult to almost impossible to operate our larger fundraising activities such as the Annual Tee It Up Golf Outing Benefit and the Annual Online Benefit Auction and Village Market without volunteers,” explains Mike Lane, Development Director at Snyder Village. “Our volunteers are a vital part of not only the fundraisers, but also many of our resident activities across our campus.”
Because of the non-profit distinction, Snyder Village is able to provide care for its residents in ways that its for-profit counterparts may not be able. The Snyder Village “Resident In Need Fund” was established to help provide continued care for those residents who have exhausted their personal resources and can no longer pay for the cost of their continuing care. “The Snyder Village Resident In Need Fund will allow Snyder Village to continue to care for our residents and is even more important today than ever, as health care costs continue to rise,” says Mike. Donations garnered through local community fundraising events and other means help ensure that Snyder Village can provide the highest quality of care for its residents – whatever their situation may be.
Yet another distinction of a non-profit community or facility is their freedom to define themselves as a faith-based organization. Non-profit facilities are not owned by hospitals or other medical entities, and the majority are run by religious or faith-based organizations. This allows them to remain focused on a mission statement that leadership and team members are encouraged to adhere to each day. However, residents are not required to be of the same religious background, and entrance is not based on the religious affiliation of the resident. “Our Snyder Village mission statement is short,” says Mike, “but it states: ‘We are committed to providing for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of others in a loving, dignified and Christian atmosphere.’ This definitely applies to all of our residents across our campus and to each of our employees who provide the care and services for our residents.”
When considering senior living communities, it is always best to visit or speak directly to the community you are considering. Each community is unique in its services and offerings and requires a thoughtful look. A distinguishing feature that shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is whether the community is a for-profit or non-profit organization. This characteristic alone may prove to be the deciding factor that makes all the difference.
Snyder Village in Metamora is a Life Plan Community that offers independent living, assisted living, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, therapy, and home care. For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.