A man on the brink of retirement found an alternative way to live out his “golden” years: by spending them in a Holiday Inn rather than a retirement home. Spring, Texas, resident Terry Robison, 64, worked out a detailed comparison between the two options, and the mid-priced hotel chain appeared to win out by a landslide.
Robison wrote on Facebook that the average cost of nursing home care is about $188 per day. A long-term stay with a senior discount at Holiday Inn, on the other hand, is $59.23 per day. “That leaves $128.77 a day for lunch and dinner in any restaurant we want, or room service, laundry, gratuities and special TV movies,” he wrote. “Plus, they provide a spa, swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge and washer-dryer, etc.”
The benefits of Holiday Inn, Robison added, also include free toothpaste, razors, shampoo and soap. An additional $5 a day in tips will “have the entire staff scrambling to help you” as well, he wrote. “They treat you like a customer, not a patient,” he said. Holiday Inn also provides a spa, swimming pool, gym, lounge and washer-dryers, but the amenities don’t stop there. The location where Robison checked out reservations has a city bus stop right in front, where seniors can ride for free.
In addition, guests can “take the airport shuttle bus” to eat at one of the restaurants at the local airport for “a change of scenery,” he wrote. From there, they can take a flight to another Holiday Inn as well, he mused. “You’re not stuck in one place forever — you can move from Inn or Inn, or even from city to city,” he wrote. The competition to find a comfortable room isn’t as steep either, Robison wrote.
“It takes months to get into decent nursing homes,” he wrote. “Holiday Inn will take your reservation today.”
And the maintenance is virtually nonexistent, Robison figured.
“TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem,” Robison wrote. “They fix everything, and apologize for the inconvenience.”
Robison did not mention what kind of health he is in, but said staff like a security guard or maid could check to see if he is OK as well as call an ambulance or an undertaker, whichever is needed.
“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,” he wrote, adding that he’d face his “golden age” with “a grin.”
But the idea touts misconceptions about elderly people’s needs, even as many seniors today cannot afford assisted care facilities. “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.”
Seniors need a sense of purpose, Cicero said, and many spend their time working, volunteering, taking care of grand children or doing art. Hotel living is especially impractical, Cicero said, for physically disabled seniors who need help with daily activities such as bathing and getting dressed.
While rates at Holiday Inns and assisted living facilities vary throughout the nation, Robison said he came up with $59.23 versus $188 a night from a Houston hotel and what friends pay for facilities. But he admits he isn’t sure if he will follow through with the idea.
“I would not rule it out completely,” Robison told USA TODAY.
Robison said he wrote the post with a dash of humor and that he hopes people appreciate it.
“Maybe it did open it up to a certain degree for debate so if it did that I’m happy for that,” he said. “And if it was a way for people to vent, that’s good . . . Because they shared it, I think they enjoyed it.”
The owner of Holiday Inn, InterContinental Hotels Group, gave another reason to visit its hotels in a statement. “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.”