Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Terry Robison, 64, has his retirement plan all figured out. The resident of Spring, Texas, challenged the idea that a retirement home is his only option. So he compared the cost of living in one to the cost of living in a hotel. The latter won, and he boasts about spending the rest of his life at Holiday Inn.

Robison wrote the details of his plan in a now-deleted Facebook post. “With the average cost for a nursing home care costing $188.00 per day, there is a better way when we get old and too feeble. I’ve already checked on reservations at the Holiday Inn. For a combined long-term stay discount and senior discount, it’s $59.23 per night.

“That leaves $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service, laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies. Plus, they provide a spa, a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, and washer-dryer, etc.”

Additionally, Holiday Inn provides free essentials like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and razors. As a bonus bit of wisdom, he adds that paying $5 in tips would “have the entire staff scrambling to help you.” There’s also the emotional aspect of living independently. “They treat you like a customer, not a patient,” he said.

Meanwhile, the social scene goes beyond the Inn. “There’s a city bus stop out front, and seniors ride free. To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there.”

Plus, he could travel to visit relatives and friends in many different places — or just because. “You’re not stuck in one place forever — you can move from Inn to Inn, or even from city to city,” he wrote.

There are still more perks to tell of. Robison figures maintenance issues easily become non-issues. “TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem… They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience.”

Robinson further compares his two options. Consider this: there’s no waiting list for life in Holiday Inn. “It takes months to get into decent nursing homes,” he wrote. “Holiday Inn will take your reservation today.”

However, one of the most important aspects of a retirement home is the care. Robison didn’t specify his current health state, but he did add that he won’t be entirely left alone as one would be in a private apartment. “The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks to see if you are ok. If not, they’ll call an ambulance . . . Or the undertaker.”

About a worst-case scenario, he wrote, “If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Holiday Inn will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

“What more could I ask for?” Robison concluded. “So, when I reach that golden age, I’ll face it with a grin.” [1]

Although Holiday Inn didn’t contact Robison about his post, they did talk to USA Today. “While we’re not certain how Mr. Robison arrived at his current budget calculations, we look forward to welcoming him when he reaches his ‘golden age,’” an IHG spokesperson said. “He did miss one big benefit in his long list of reasons to stay with us — kids eat for free at Holiday Inn.”

Their comment about Robison’s budget refers to how there’s no guarantee of the $59 a night his calculations depend on. Their rates often change and are based on the hotel, location, and region. This deeply flaws Robison’s plan. [2]

This post has a satirical edge, but many experts discourage the plan. After all, there is more to senior living than having a nice place to stay. Plus, not everyone could afford retirement living. Not to mention how COVID would complicate current matters.

“This is all just based on the idea that you have nothing else to do but check-in and out of a Holiday Inn and take an airport shuttle,” said Caroline Cicero, an associate professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California. “And that’s just not based in reality.” [3]

Additionally, senior citizens need a sense of purpose. That’s why many choose to work, volunteer, create art, and take care of their grandkids. Also, some need help with daily activities, which the Holiday Inn doesn’t provide. This includes dispensing medicine, help bathing, and dressing, and aid in the bathroom. There’s also the medical supervision, three meals a day, and rehabilitation

Although living at a hotel is possible with the proper budgeting, hotels don’t ensure people engage in mentally stimulating activities or promote long-term companionship. And while maids check-in daily to clean, they are not trained to spot red flags.

Keep in mind that the key differences between a nursing home and a retirement home. Nursing homes are for seniors who need regular attention due to illness and disabilities. Meanwhile, retirement homes involve independent living, social opportunities, recreational activities, and medical assistance as needed. Choosing between the two depends on the very individual needs of the person involved. [4]

Robison responded to the critics, saying he intended his hotel plan for physically and mentally fit seniors who’d otherwise choose an independent living center. He added that he wrote the post for comedic effect, and he’s not certain of his own retirement plan. But he won’t rule out life at Holiday Inn.