With all the unique characteristics of today’s senior living communities, one important distinction 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 24% 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 distinction of a non-profit community is that any profits gained are 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. Ms. 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 that are 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. As Keith Swartzentruber, Executive Director of Snyder Village, explains, “Our care and service is further enhanced by our non-profit model in that we have dedicated volunteers who devote their time because they know they are helping Snyder Village deliver better care and outcomes for our residents. We have generous donors who make tax-deductible contributions to Snyder Village because they know their charitable giving allows us to deliver the kind of care our residents want and need.” 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. 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. As Keith Swartzentruber explains, “(Snyder Village) is a Christian-based organization whose mission states our commitment to ‘providing for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others in a loving, dignified, and Christian atmosphere.’ That is the standard against which we need to judge and evaluate how we are doing. We will fall short of that at times, but it doesn’t mean we stop striving to achieve that.”
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 is whether the community is a for-profit or non-profit organization. This distinction 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 in its retirement cottages and apartments. Beautiful assisted living accommodations, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, and physical therapy are also available on campus. Its home care services support individuals in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Marshall Counties. For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.