Golden Years: Could Living Out Your Life in a Holiday Inn Be Cheaper Than a Nursing Home?

iStock.com/vgajic
iStock.com/vgajic

In a wry commentary on the financial and logistical issues that come with advancing age, a number of people have proposed a more economically sound alternative to assisted living. Rather than enter a nursing home, they're suggesting an extended stay at a Holiday Inn hotel—continental breakfast included.

Here's the theory: If you assume an average daily cost of $188 for a nursing home—although according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the national average is actually $253 for a private room—the $59.23 nightly rate for seniors at a Holiday Inn hotel compares pretty favorably. The rate includes housekeeping services, free continental breakfast, complimentary toiletries, exercise equipment, and laundry. Socializing is available via lobbies or bar happy hours.

Variations on this unique strategy date back to at least 2011, with some mentioning a brochure that's been disseminated making a case for hotel retirement. More recently, a Facebook post by Virginia man Terry Robison was picked up by Michigan CBS affiliate WWMT and has renewed interest in the idea. There are obviously some gaps in such logic, specifically the idea that a hotel is equipped to monitor and care for elderly occupants with the same qualifications as staff in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. A maid can change bedding but is highly unlikely to assist with bathroom needs or helping physically compromised patients get around. You're also not going to find a Holiday Inn hotel tackling the potential liabilities involved in dispensing medication.

Then again, for those without such needs, it's not as far-fetched as it sounds. People on a fixed income, such as Social Security, might find good reason to consolidate housing costs in an extended-stay environment.

The idea speaks more to the financial crunch experienced by the elderly. People who are no longer able to live on their own are often faced with funding their "golden years" out of pocket, as health insurance and Medicare or Medicaid only cover such facilities in limited circumstances. Many people wind up dipping into savings, annuities, or reverse mortgages; others find they don't have the means to pay at all. The fact that a hotel chain can provide some of these services at a more reasonable cost than locations dedicated to assisted living is a rather alarming indictment of health care options for an aging population.

[h/t WWMT]

Starting in July, All Kohl's Stores Will Accept Amazon Returns

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The only thing that can dilute the excitement of receiving a package from Amazon is the realization that you ordered the wrong item. Maybe it’s a shirt that doesn’t fit, or a gadget that didn’t meet expectations. Now it has to go back, which means printing out a return slip, boxing it back up, and either making a trip to the post office or waiting for a postal carrier to take it away.

Amazon's return policy is now getting a makeover. Beginning in July, all 1150 Kohl’s locations will be accepting returns for the online giant. The program is called Amazon Returns, and it’s free for the consumer. Items don’t need to be packaged. All you have to do is bring in your unwanted Amazon order and let them box it up. While it would seem like a massive inconvenience for Kohl’s, it’s actually part of a mutually beneficial strategy.

By inviting Amazon customers to walk into their stores, Kohl’s is increasing their foot traffic and setting themselves up for an opportunity to capture some additional revenue from people who might not have stopped in otherwise. It’s a smart approach for a brick-and-mortar retailer, a segment of commerce that has been dramatically impacted by the rise of online shopping and Amazon’s dominance in particular.

For Amazon, it likely means consolidating their shipping costs. Instead of retrieving returns from a number of addresses or drop-off locations, they’re able to bundle shipments from Kohl’s.

There are some caveats. If you bought a product from a third-party Amazon seller, it’s not eligible to be processed at a Kohl’s location. And you’ll still have to log on to your Amazon account to notify them you’ll be returning an item via a Kohl’s store.

Accepting Amazon returns may not be the only change you see in Kohl’s in the coming years. Some locations have partnered with Aldi and Planet Fitness to offer a more diverse array of services.

[h/t Gizmodo]

The Government Will Pay You $1000 to Adopt a Wild Horse

iStock.com/Callipso
iStock.com/Callipso

In an effort to reduce the population of wild horses out West, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has scrapped the $125 fee for adopting a wild mustang and offered an incentive in its place. Anyone who brings home one of these horses will receive $1000 from the government, according to The New York Times.

You won’t have to travel to Wyoming to check out the selection, either. An “online corral” called Wild Horses Online lets you browse the different horses (and burros) available for adoption. You can peruse photos and short bios of the animals, narrowing your search by gender, age, color, height, training, and more. Some of the horses are completely untrained, while others have been “gentled,” meaning that they’ve had some degree of handling.

According to the bureau’s most recent data from March 2018, there are more than 66,000 wild horses in 10 states. Nevada is home to more than 40,000 of these animals, making it the state with the largest wild horse population. Montana has just 155 horses, a handful of which live on the state’s Wild Horse Island in Flathead Lake.

In many areas, rising populations and drought have threatened the animals’ access to food and water. The government has responded by rounding up the animals and bringing them to corrals or pastures that aren’t located on public land. About 50,000 horses were available for adoption as of last month.

In addition to the adoption program, the bureau has also been working with a nonprofit organization that hosts a national competition called Extreme Mustang Makeover, in which horse trainers have about 100 days to tame a wild horse. Some wild horses are also taken in and “gentled” by inmates at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center as part of a rehabilitation program. Similar programs exist in at least five other states as well.

[h/t The New York Times]

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