Everything You Need To Know
Your top FAQs about Retirement Living McCarthy Stone-style, answered. From service charges and running costs to health planning, furnishings and pets.
Is it more expensive to live in a McCarthy Stone apartment than my current home?
In many cases service charges for McCarthy Stone apartments are lower than like-for-like costs in a customer’s previous home. Heating costs are often lower due to modern construction methods and the more manageable size of the new home.
What does the service charge cover?
The service charge may seem intimidating if homeowners are not used to communal living or are not moving from an apartment block. McCarthy Stone’s charges reflect both its customers’ expectations and its own high standards.
In Retirement Living schemes, the charge covers such services as:
- House manager
- Intruder alarm
- Buildings insurance
- Water rates
- Communal area heating
House managers are employed directly by McCarthy & Stone Management Services (MSMS), while other services are outsourced. The cost of heating within apartments is included in some newer developments.
When it comes to Assisted Living, which involves a greater level of hands-on care, in addition to the above items, the service charge also includes:
- Running cost of the restaurant (with a small additional cost per meal eaten in the restaurant, typically £4 for three courses prepared on site).
- An on-site team, which can total up to 17 people per development, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is registered with the Care Quality Commission in England and its equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales.
- One hour of domestic support per week from staff on site. This covers such chores as cleaning, shopping and domestic help. Homeowners themselves choose how best to use this support.
In addition, there are optional personal care packages, which could include: help with going to bed and getting up in the morning; a sitting, night- sleeping or waking service; preparing breakfast; getting to and from appointments or regular assistance during a period of convalescence. All services in Assisted Living developments can be provided by on-site staff.
How much are the service charges?
They vary between developments, reflecting different sizes and facilities, but are formulated the same way across the country. For a typical Retirement Living apartment (based on Emma Court, Basingstoke), the service charge was £35.35 per week for a one-bedroom apartment from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. For a two-bedroom apartment, it was £53.03 per week.
For a typical Assisted Living apartment (based on Lady Susan Court in Basingstoke), the service charge was £118.85 per week for a one-bedroom apartment for the financial year 2015-16. For a two- bedroom apartment, it was £158.59 per week.
Costs in Assisted Living developments are higher to reflect increased staffing costs, providing domestic support packages, and the restaurant on site.
How are the service charges set?
Service charges are fixed on an annual cycle and reflect the costs of services procured on behalf of homeowners. McCarthy Stone is transparent when it comes to showing how the service charge is calculated. The charge for each year is agreed in consultation with homeowners through an open-book budgeting process.
McCarthy Stone tries to negotiate the best cost with service providers on behalf of its homeowners, and regularly monitors service charges in its managed schemes against others in the market and third-party providers to ensure competitive rates.
What is buying off-plan?
This is buying a new apartment before it is fully built. It can feel strange, but with McCarthy Stone there are many advantages. You get first choice of the plots on the development. Then, once you have reserved, they can help make the move go smoothly through a number of different services. See page 14 for more details.
Are retirement apartments a good investment?
McCarthy Stone believes its apartments represent a good long-term investment, compared with renting or moving into a care home. Its properties generally track the ups and downs of the housing market. As well as buying their apartment, customers recognise they are buying a lifestyle based on security and a share in communal facilities.
Can you rent apartments?
Apartments are currently only for sale.
Are apartments part or fully furnished?
McCarthy Stone can provide the apartments fully furnished to a customer’s taste or as a blank shell they can enjoy making their own.
What if someone develops dementia?
McCarthy Stone properties are designed for independent living. They are not secure units.
They are not suitable for people with significant dementia care needs. Therefore during the sales process it is important that buyers and families understand the limit of the support McCarthy Stone can offer, and satisfy themselves that their family member will be safe.
If McCarthy Stone itself is unsure whether a would-be homeowner needs a higher level of care, a care manager can make a home visit with the family present to discuss an individual’s care needs. The customer’s GP can also be consulted. If a homeowner develops dementia, there is a lot that can be done to support them, through the purchase of a specially tailored dementia care service. However, if they can no longer live independently and safely in a development, then McCarthy Stone can work with them and their family to help them move to a more specialised setting.
Can I bring my pet cat or dog with me?
A well-behaved pet, either a cat or a dog, can come with you to your new apartment*. McCarthy Stone understands the importance of such companionship. See for yourself how pets are getting a new lease of life along with their owners at our developments.
For more information, check out our full FAQ section, or contact McCarthy Stone on 0800 153 3594. *Terms and conditions apply.