Frequently asked questions about senior living communities in Gig Harbor, WA.

What is a Life Plan Community-Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

Life Plan Communities, also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), are senior living communities that provide several lifestyle options, so you can choose the one that fits your needs and the way you want to live. This includes a range of services, amenities, wellness programs and activities, all designed to help you stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. Most important, Life Plan Communities provide residents with access to high-quality health care at fees significantly lower than market rates. As your health needs change, you have the appropriate level of support. At Heron’s Key, we offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, and Short- and Long-Term Rehab.

What is an entrance fee?

The one-time entrance fee is an upfront sum to help cover community operating and capital costs, including some of the costs that come with offering access to continuing care for life. It also ensures priority access to several levels of health care, in case you ever need it, and with no increase in monthly service fee if additional care is needed. At Heron’s Key, your entrance fee is based on the size of residence that you choose and the number of occupants. You’ll have lifetime residency at Heron’s Key, as well as Penrose Harbor for health needs, either rehabilitative or long-term.

Who operates Heron’s Key?

Heron’s Key is affiliated with Emerald Communities, a Redmond, Washington-based, nonprofit organization.

Can I move from one residence to another at a later date?

Yes, depending upon availability. Any moving and renovating expenses will be incurred at your own expense.

What are some of the tax advantages of a Life Plan Community?

The IRS has ruled that for a life plan community such as Heron’s Key, a portion of the entrance fee is tax-deductible as a pre-paid medical expense in the year you pay the entrance fee. In addition, every year a calculation of how much of monthly service fees go toward operating Penrose Harbor is distributed to residents and can be used toward their annual medical deduction. All care provided to residents of Penrose Harbor can typically be deductible as well. Discuss all tax considerations with your own tax professional.

Independent Living Frequently Asked Questions

What is an independent living community?

Independent Living communities are designed for older adults who want the conveniences of community life without the burdens of home maintenance. Some communities, like Heron’s Key, offer an enriched lifestyle with recreational, social and educational opportunities, while others provide housing and only a minimal number of services and amenities.

What services and amenities are available at Heron’s Key?

Heron’s Key offers a comprehensive array of services and amenities, including restaurant-style casual dining, full-service salon and spa, fitness center and more. Plus, our complimentary transportation will take you shopping and to scheduled medical appointments in the area.

Will I have a voice in the community?

We encourage residents to participate in our community resident committees – special committees focused on different aspects of community life. Residents are able to actively participate in decisions that decide social programming, activities, outings and more.

Assisted Living Frequently Asked Questions

What is assisted living?

Assisted Living provides a distinct combination of individualized care, familiar neighborhood surroundings and professional expertise. Residents are assured ongoing wellness evaluations and levels of living that address their specific needs. Licensed, compassionate team members assist with daily tasks as needed, and the many amenities and life-enriching activities are geared toward helping residents more easily enjoy what matters most to them.

How do I know when someone needs assisted living?

It’s best to start with a physician’s assessment. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, or that of your loved one, you can match needs to the right level of assistance. When help with daily tasks is needed — taking medications, bathing, dressing, meals, transportation and housekeeping — Assisted Living can be the answer. Trained professionals provide support while helping preserve an individual’s independence.

What if my loved one needs more than what’s provided in assisted living?

At Heron’s Key, we offer a continuum of care. In addition to Assisted Living, we provide Memory Care, Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing care. These levels of living provide round-the-clock care for individuals recovering from illness or injury, or those needing more long-term care or support.

Memory Care Frequently Asked Questions

What is memory care?

Memory Care provides a distinct combination of individualized care, familiar neighborhood surroundings and professional expertise specifically designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Residents live in a secure environment focused on their comfort and safety. Licensed, compassionate team members specially trained in Memory Care assist residents with daily tasks as needed. Residents take part in a full range of activities that are customized to meet individual interests and capabilities.

What is the difference between assisted living and memory care?

Memory Care offers all the services of Assisted Living, plus:

  • A secure indoor environment and a secure outdoor courtyard
  • Activities specifically designed for those with memory loss
  • Staff trained in dealing with symptoms of dementia, including stress, confusion and agitation
  • 24-hour supervision

How do I know when someone would benefit from residential memory care?

The following behaviors or circumstances might indicate that someone requires Memory Care:

  • Behavior changes
  • Wandering or confusion/disorientation that impacts personal safety
  • Overall decline in physical health
  • Caregiver stress
  • Incontinence

Short-Term Rehabilitation Frequently Asked Questions

What does physical therapy and rehabilitation include?

At Heron’s Key, we provide Short-Term Rehab through physical, speech and occupational therapies. Resident and nonresident seniors can receive expert care from our skilled pathologists and therapists using the most advanced treatments and technologies.

Is occupational therapy the same as physical therapy?

It’s similar in that it helps restore strength and mobility. Occupational Therapy helps people adapt to their social and physical environment through education in things like dressing, memory training and coordination exercises.

What can I expect from speech therapy?

Our skilled speech and language pathologists address communication issues and swallowing dysfunction. They’ll design treatment plans to help with language ability, provide alternate communication strategies and give appropriate diet recommendations.

Skilled Nursing Frequently Asked Questions

What is skilled nursing?

Skilled Nursing is for those who need longer-term care delivered around the clock by licensed professionals, including RNs, LPNs, Certified Nurse Aides and Certified Medication Aides. We also offer custom programs that encourage maximum social interaction and preserve dignity.

When is skilled nursing necessary?

These are some conditions that often require skilled care for seniors:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other major illness
  • Hip or bone fracture
  • Fall-related injury
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Severe osteoarthritis

When would someone need long-term skilled nursing care?

Potential candidates for Long-Term Nursing Care include those who are dealing with an ongoing health condition or disability, chronic or severe pain, a chronic medical condition, permanent disability or dementia.