Interesting: I’d just blogged about how adult sons and daughters sometimes go into debt in order to help keep parents in a retirement community (see Is It Parents Or Children Doing The Driving – Down The Road To Bankruptcy?), comparing that situation to the more common one where parents go into debt to help out children (see Some Dads and Moms Driven Into Debt Helping Sons And Daughters). A few months back, I’d written about Haven Healthcare retirement communities whose bankruptcy filing had had a negative effect on many New England towns.

Since I continue to follow closely all news that can affect my Indiana bankruptcy clients, I was happy to learn that the bankruptcy of a local retirement community seems to have had a happier ending. The story began In 2004, when Robin Run Village, one of Indiana’s largest senior living centers, was involved in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. As a result of the court-supervised process, the then-owner of Robin Run, the National Benevolent Association (a health ministry of the Disciples of Christ church), ended up selling the retirement community to a Chicago company called Brookdale Living Communities.

By way of review, just as there are different kinds of bankruptcy that can be filed by individuals, there are different forms of bankruptcy for corporations and businesses. A business filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy might be compared to an individual who files a Chapter 13 debt repayment plan. In several earlier blogs, I explained that bankruptcy is meant to buy time for businesses to work out a plan to either get back on their feet, or find a buyer for their assets. In the case of Robin Run, the 86-acre property housing 700 residents and 200 workers, the assets were bought for more than $200 million by Brookdale, and the community continues to operate.

Robin Run serves as an example of how the lives and the finances of parents, children, the businesses that serve the needs of each, and, in a very real way, the entire local economy, are intertwined. Think about an elderly mother in the assisted living facility at Robin Run who’d depleted her own savings to help her son and daughter-in-law after a job layoff and who was now having trouble with monthly expenses. I imagine it would have been extremely difficult to find a new assisted living facility for someone no longer self-sufficient physically and without adequate financial means.

Think about the daughter who’d maxed out her own credit cards in order to help her elderly father stay in that same assisted living facility, and who would undoubtedly have needed to go further into debt to find new housing for him (or bring him to her home and hire nursing help). Indirectly, the business bankruptcy served as a safety net for these individuals, preserving their way of life, as well as for the Robin Run Retirement Community itself.