Ask the Experts - NH Magazine’s Guide to Retirement Living and Continuing Care

The time to investigate senior living options is now. We spoke with a number of senior living executives from around the state to learn more about how to approach the topic, what to look for, what to expect and how best to prepare.Here is our panel of experts:

Seacoast School of Technology opens opportunities

As seen on:

 By Lara Bricker
Posted Apr 7, 2018 at 4:50 PM

The article below was published by on April 7, 2018
and can be viewed on the Seacoast Online website by clicking here.

Click to view photo and original story on SeacoastOnline website.EXETER -- As principal of Seacoast School of Technology, Margaret Callahan knows local businesses are eager to hire students from the school. And she’s been working hard to spread the word.

Callahan has been organizing regular industry tours, during which she invites guidance counselors, school administrators, staff and local school board members, to board a bus and visit nearby businesses that have relationships with the school.

Guests on the tours hear firsthand from those businesses about their desire to hire students, during school and after graduation. Many will train students on the job, then hire them permanently, with a number offering tuition reimbursement, health insurance, vacation time and other perks such as on-site gym memberships.

The Seacoast School of Technology, or SST, has more than 700 students from six school districts and 19 towns. Students can enroll in 12 different programs such as automotive technology, biomedical science and technology, digital media arts and culinary arts, with some offering college credit and valuable industry certifications.

“They get here and they’re finally doing what they’re interested in and they’re in a class with kids who are exactly like them,” Callahan said. “Whether they’re the engineering kid or the culinary student who loves to cook. It’s like they’re among their own people.”

Tours have included local businesses such as Lindt and Sprungli, Highliner Foods, Palmer and Sicard, McFarland Ford, the Exeter Inn, and Riverwoods.

“We just see so many students go to college, don’t know what they’re going for, come out of college still unsure and have debt,” Callahan said. “So many of these local industries right in town will hire people full time, with incredible benefits, and pay for college.”

While high school students may be more inclined to get a lower paying job at a coffee shop or fast food restaurant, Callahan says they may be missing the opportunity to find a potential career.

Guests on the March 30 tour visited Riverwoods in Exeter, a continuing care community where jobs include everything from dining room servers, to nursing, to grounds and maintenance to marketing, according to Gina Dickenson, director of human resources at Riverwoods.

7 Ways to Judge a Retirement Community’s Financial Health

By Peter Finch, The New York Times 
(Click here to view this article on the NY Times website)

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt has it all figured out. With their three children grown and out of their New Jersey home, she and her husband, William, will move into a full-service retirement community this year. It will be someplace “interesting and affordable,” in her words, and, ideally, dry in the summer. “I don’t like humidity,” she said.

The 68-year-old Dr. Ehrhardt — she has a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering — has been researching this move for the past couple of years, narrowing her list from more than 100 communities to around a dozen.

Yet something is nagging at her. What if, after all her careful planning, their retirement community has some kind of financial wipeout? “There you are, 97 years old, the community’s bankrupt, its managers are in jail,” she said. “Now what are you going to do?”

2017 Executive Director & Chairman's Letter

 Deb Riddell, Executive Director, RiverWoods Exeter and Bruce Mast, Chairman of the Board, RiverWoods Exeter The following letter was published in the 2017 RiverWoods Annual Report. Current and past RiverWoods Annual Reports and Financial Statements can be found by clicking here .

Community and peace of mind; it is at our core. It is our soul and it is who we are. Well before we opened our doors 23 years ago, our founders believed that “community” was essential to living one’s best life. RiverWoods was built and community formed. Over the years, as the physical community grew and changed, our nonphysical community grew stronger. As it turns out, community is more about the non-tangibles than it is about the physical environment. For us, community is our culture, it is our desire to learn with each other, to advocate with each other, to support each other and in doing so, bold ideas emerge. This year, one of those bold ideas turned into a guiding philosophy. 

Two years ago, our residents came together to form a goal group on diversity with a mandate to learn about diversity within our community and to understand how the broader cultural dialogue might impact our community. Over the course of time, the group became convinced that they should change their focus from “diversity” to “inclusivity” as this put the focus on our common humanity rather than our differences. This group of residents drafted an Inclusivity Philosophy Statement as an extension of our Charitable Intent Philosophy. Together, the two set a framework for our moral obligations as an organization, defined a path for our initiatives and guided our actions. 

WSJ: The Best Time to Move Into a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Three Major Factors to Consider: Timing, Timing, Timing

By Glenn Ruffenach
(Click here to view this article on the WSJ website)

  My husband and I are considering a move to a continuing-care retirement community. We are in our early 70s, and both of us are in good health. But we recognize that we might need help in the future. Is there a “better” or “best” time to settle in one of these developments? Residents in some of the communities we have visited seem decidedly older than us. Perhaps we should wait before moving. Any thoughts?

I’ll talk about CCRCs in a moment. But there is a more important issue here: the risks associated with postponing big decisions in retirement.

At the risk of stating the obvious, time is something we’re running out of as we age. And yet, many of us act as if the opposite were true. Human nature (or, more simply, denial) is a big part of this. It’s much more pleasing to focus on the positive aspects of later life—opportunities to follow new paths, increased life expectancy, travel—than on our mortality.

RiverWoods Exeter renews partnership with American Independence Museum

By Rob Levey, Seacoast Online  (click here to view this article on seacoast online website)

RiverWoods Exeter partnership with American Independence Museum _ Exeter NHEXETER — RiverWoods Exeter, a continuing care retirement community, recently renewed its partnership with the American Independence Museum with a $1,000 contribution.

According to Ben French, marketing manager at RiverWoods Exeter, the partnership with AIM is “much more than a financial obligation.”

“It’s actually a very active partnership that engages our residents and staff to get involved in the greater Exeter community,” he said. “Like RiverWoods Exeter, the American Independence Museum embraces history in a way that makes it both current and sustainable.”

For French, though, the partnership is as much about the future as it is a celebration of history.

“What makes us stand out from the pack is the fact that we both as nonprofits are always looking to the future, leading the way, and expanding people’s perceptions beyond those of your typical retirement communities and museums,” he said.

RiverWoods Group unveils plans for Durham community

Continuing care community to be company's first outside Exeter


(click to view this article on the NHBR website)

The RiverWoods Group has announced plans to build a new continuing care community in Durham, the first RiverWoods facility outside of Exeter.

Scheduled to open in late 2019 or early 2020, the nonprofit RiverWoods Durham is being built by general contractor Lecesse Construction of West Henrietta, N.Y., which built two of the last three RiverWoods Exeter communities, designed by AG Architecture of Dover and with landscape architecture by Robbie Woodburn of Newmarket. RiverWoods’ development partner is Greystone of New York City and Chicago-based investment bank Ziegler is its financial partner.

RiverWoods Exeter Announces Major Charitable Partnership with Seacoast Family Promise

Exeter retirement community’s outreach effort to culminate in October 2018 gala fundraiser with fellow nonprofit.

RiverWoods Exeter Announces Major Charitable Partnership with Seacoast Family Promise Exeter, NH (June 6, 2017) – Residents at RiverWoods Exeter have selected Seacoast Family Promise (SFP) of Exeter as the recipient of the retirement community’s two year partnership to culminate in a major fundraising gala event in October 2018 at RiverWoods Exeter.

From the first year RiverWoods Exeter opened, the community has held a fundraiser for another local nonprofit. The most recent RiverWoods Exeter Gala Auction raised a record $120,000 in one night for Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Exeter. The record breaking evening was held at RiverWoods Exeter Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) last fall with more than 400 in attendance. RiverWoods Exeter staff and residents donated hundreds of hours of time during the multi-year partnership.

NH's largest arboretum opens at RiverWoods Exeter

RiverWoods Exeter Arboretum - volunteer resident docent group


By Rob Levey, Seacoast Online

Click to view this article on Seacoast Online website.

EXETER — On Friday, May 12, RiverWoods residents, volunteer docents, staff and others held a celebration ceremony on the Exeter campus to formally open New Hampshire’s largest arboretum.

At the ceremony, a Kentucky Coffeetree was planted to commemorate the occasion.

Featuring more than 100 unique trees and woody shrubs, the arboretum is spread over 200 acres on the RiverWoods Exeter campus and is the result of a concerted effort by both residents and staff.

“It’s been the most rewarding work of my life,” said Dan Burbank, landscape manager at RiverWoods. “When the idea was brought up by the residents, we began the investigative process to see if it was feasible and then took it to the senior team. We realized this was a possibility.”

He said it was a possibility only because of the work that had been put into the selection of trees and woody shrubs on the property many years prior, which he said was spearheaded by several residents. Tom Adams, who has lived at RiverWoods for the past 12 years, was one of those residents. 

“There were small trees planted here and there in the beginning — there was basically dirty here,” he said. “After a year when some of the plants started to die, we thought of some unusual plants that could replace them.”