At South Bay, Flexibility Is Part of the Lifestyle

The decision to move into a retirement community or continuing care facility can be fraught with difficult choices, chief among them whether to commit much of your life savings to a long-term placement. But one company with a new complex in the Charleston area is helping to make the process easier.

South Bay at Mount Pleasant, managed by Liberty Senior Living, is popularizing the concept of a month-to-month rental option providing seniors and their families flexibility other retirement communities can’t match. The concept has roots in feedback from seniors who wanted the option of moving if life circumstances called for it.

It is rather unique in the continuing care/retirement community market,” said Jerry Cooper, director of marketing and development for Liberty Senior Living. “Most continuing care communities demand either a buy-in or an up-front fee, and in our research over the past 10 years or so, we’ve found that most individuals are more interested in a month-to-month rental product. That has to do with the fact that they’re not locked in to being in one particular place for the rest of their lives.”

It’s a valid concern considering seniors are moving into retirement communities at a younger age than those in past generations, perhaps due to downsizing or the desire for maintenance-free living. The month-to-month rental concept gives them the freedom to move if, for example, their children relocate due to job transfers.

If the son or daughter move to another city, they’re not locked in here,” Cooper said. “They can give a 30-day notice to get out of their lease and follow their children.”

The month-to-month concept has been well-received, Cooper said, with other Liberty properties open in Charlotte and Wilmington, N.C., and others under construction in Charlotte and Cary, N.C. South Bay opened October 1st, on a landscaped 26-acre tract in the Midtown area of Mount Pleasant with walking trails and a lake. The facility offers nine floor plan options and is open for tours.

Besides 143 rental retirement apartments, South Bay also features continuum of care services including assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing facilities all on the same campus.

Amenities for active seniors include a wellness center with indoor heated saltwater pool, workout room, exercise area for yoga or meditation, and personal training. Corridors connect different parts of the complex so residents don’t have to venture outside to get from one area to another—easing a common concern.

South Bay also features multiple dining venues, providing residents with more options at mealtime. And like its month-to-month rental concept, the facility also takes the hassle out of dining costs: rather than purchasing one or two meals per day, residents have a declining balance meal plan built into their rent. After each meal, residents sign a ticket as they would in any restaurant, and the amount is deducted from their declining balance.

With its pleasant weather and coastal location, the Charleston area has long been a haven for retirees. Choosing a retirement community can help seniors make new friends, enjoy a robust social life and maintain improved physical fitness. The social nature of retirement communities also helps slow memory decline, a Harvard study found. And nearly 90 percent of residents in retirement communities rate their satisfaction level as good or excellent, according to a 36-state survey of over 57,000 respondents conducted by a Pennsylvania consulting firm.

That’s the goal for South Bay at Mount Pleasant, which combines an array of dining choices, amenities, health care services and wellness options with a unique month-to-month rental concept that allows residents to keep control of the financial nest egg they’ve worked so hard to maintain.

For the independent-living individual, it gives them so much more flexibility,” Cooper said. “And it gives them the ability to maintain control of their primary assets.”

Interested in taking a tour, or learning more about South Bay’s unique month-to-month rental concept? Contact them at (843) 936-2800, stop by the property at 1400 Liberty Midtown Drive in Mount Pleasant, or visit their website at