Retirement homes are facing financial problems, leaving thousands of elderly residents struggling with higher costs and the possibility that they may have to move.

Erickson Retirement Communities, which manages 19 continuing-care communities in 11 states, recently declared bankruptcy. Sunrise Senior Living announced plans to sell 21 of its assisted-living communities after posting an $82 million loss in the third quarter.

Many of the residents who paid entry deposits that were either refundable or were promised extensive care in return are facing the fact that these deposits are gone for good.

Discharge-related complaints are now the second most-common complaint about nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. They reached 12,237 in 2008, double what they were 10 years earlier, according to the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Source: Newsweek, Linda Stern (11/24/2009)