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10.06.16 – Luncheon Notes

SPOKES Notes written by Roger Morgenstern

Holland Home has grown from literally one home more than 100 years ago to Michigan’s largest non-profit continuing care retirement community. Our speaker was Carolyn Flietstra, executive vice president of home and community services for Holland Home.

Holland Home makes up four campuses, serving more than 4,000 individuals in their own home or one operated by Holland Home, Flietstra said. The organization has more than 1,450 employees and 1,000 volunteers. Rotarian Carl Verbeek is among those volunteers, serving as a board member for 20 years.

Holland Home has a full continuum of care, from independent living to nursing home facilities and even a residential hospice facility through its Faith Hospice program.

Flietstra said there are many challenges facing the senior care industry, including changing demographics, finances, and a declining pool of family caregivers and changing lifestyle desires of seniors.

We’ve all heard about our aging Baby Boomer population. The statistics Flietstra provided bear that out. In 2010, nearly 14 percent of the U.S. population was aged 65 or older. In 2040, that is expected to jump to more than 23 percent.

At the same time, these seniors have less financial resources. As Flietstra outlined:

  • 50 percent of households headed by 65-74 year olds have no money in retirement accounts.
  • 83 percent polled by AARP will retire later than expected (past age 62).
  • 20 percent provide financial assistance to a parent
  • More than 40 percent pay medical costs for a parent or other older relatives
  • 59 percent help support adult children

And the ratio of caregivers to 80 year old-plus citizens continues to shrink. This is leading to organizations like Holland Home to offer a variety of housing plans, community activities, and providing assistance to seniors still in their own home.

“Today, we don’t think of it as retirement,” Flietstra said. “We don’t like rules, we want options and we don’t want to pay very much for it.”

Holland Home works through a number of different financial models for its clients, including pre-paid continuing care agreements, long-term care insurance, out of pocket and Medicaid.

For those desiring to stay in their own home, she outlined a number of simple examples how homes can become safer for seniors. Visit to learn more.


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