There are many significant benefits of residing in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). In order to fully appreciate these benefits, it’s important to understand what a CCRC is. When your parent or loved one decides they want to move from their home, CCRCs may be worth checking out. Offering a wide variety of services within one community, CCRCs provide lifetime housing; social and recreational activities and escalated levels of care as needs change. Learn more about CCRCs to determine whether they’re right for your loved one.
What is continuing care?
A continuing care community, also referred to as a life-care community, is a type of retirement community. In the U.S. where the older adult population is increasing there is a greater need for aging care from assisted living, independent living and nursing home facilities. These various levels of accommodation and care range from a single residence to a high-rise building, or in some cases a physically adjacent building, such as garden apartments, cottages, duplexes, townhomes, mid- and low-rise buildings or campuses.
As seniors age and medical requirements change, the level of nursing care and service increases proportionately in response. In such a way, the needs of older adults are consistently monitored and provided, especially as those needs become more intensive. If a senior is hospitalized due to illness or injury, they may come back to their continuing care residence after recovery and are able to still receive appropriate treatment and care.
Continuing-care communities are perfect for seniors that may be living by themselves and would like to live in a sociable environment with other people of the same age. However, CCRCs are costly, and vary widely in entrance and monthly fees.
A life-care community will typically offer several levels of health care on one site:
- Independent Living for residents who need no personal assistance
- Assisted Living for people who require a little assistance with the activities of daily living
- Memory Care
- Skilled Nursing
What services are provided in a continuing care community?
Services generally offered include health services, personal care, housekeeping, dining, transportation, and emergency assistance. In addition, the communities have an abundance of social and educational activities.
When elderly people live in their own homes, they will often need someone to cut their grass, take them shopping or even prepare their meals. At a CCRC, the following services may be offered, depending on the monthly maintenance contract:
- Meal preparation/Dining
- Lawn care/Gardening
- Housekeeping/Laundry/Personal Care
- Social activities
- Wellness programs
- Some utilities
- Health monitoring services
- Emergency call monitoring
Having various levels of care available onsite is a tremendous benefit. It provides you with the confidence of knowing that if in the future you require assisted living or skilled nursing care, you won’t have to move to another facility.
Extended care facilities, or comprehensive care facilities, are one of the most expensive of all long-term care accommodations; CCRCs typically require a substantial entrance fee as well as monthly charges.
Entrance fees, the initial sum required by CCRCs to be permitted to move into the community, can range anywhere from $10, 000 up to $1 million. Monthly charges can range from $2, 000 to $5, 000, but may increase as the needs of the resident change.
These fees are contingent on a range of factors including the resident’s health, the type of housing they decide on, whether they lease or purchase, the number of residents in the community and the type of service contract. Additional fees may be incurred for other options including housekeeping, meal service, transportation and social activities.
Types of Contracts
There are three basic types of contracts for CCRCs:
- Extended or Life Care Contract: This is the most costly choice, but it provides the resident medical treatment, unlimited assisted living services and skilled nursing care without additional charges.
- Continuing or Modified Care Contract: This contract typically provides certain services for a specific amount of time. When that time has ended, other services can be purchased, but for higher monthly costs.
- Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at higher market rates.
It is important to research and consider each option as well as the long-term financial plan. Oftentimes, expenses above and beyond the entry cost and monthly fees occur. Make sure that the financial plan takes into account the amount of money needed to support this housing option.
Also, make sure the facility you are considering will be financially viable over the long term. Get assurance that 10 to 15 years down the road the CCRC will still be operating and able to provide the care that has already been paid for.