Continuing Care Retirement Communities
I recently had the opportunity to tour a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) near my hometown of Ashland, Oregon. It was a great experience and got me thinking about how and when people should start to research alternative living options.
CCRC’s offer a variety of services in one community, guarantee lifetime housing, social activities, and increased levels of care as needs change. With a tiered approach to residences for seniors to accommodate changing needs, CCRC’s are part independent living, part assisted living, part skilled nursing, and these days, often have memory care facilities as well. When first moving into a CCRC, healthy residents live independently in single-family residences, condos, or apartments. As they may begin to need assistance with daily living, residents move to areas of the CCRC that provide the level of assistance they need. This allows the resident live in one location for the duration of their lives, avoiding the necessity of moving which can cause a lot of stress, for both the resident and their family.
CCRC’s are not cheap; most require a large entrance fee ($100,000 – $1,000,000), as well as monthly charges that can range from $3,000 – $5,000. The entrance fee is an upfront sum to prepay for care as well as to provide the facility with money to operate. The monthly fees will depend on variety of factors, such as the health of the resident, the type of housing they choose, and the type of service contract.
There are three types of contracts for CCRC’s:
- Life Care or Extended Contract: This option offers unlimited assisted living, medical treatment, and skilled nursing without additional options. It is the most expensive type of contract.
- Modified Contract: This type of contract offers a set of services to be provided for a set length of time. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but at an increased cost.
- Fee-for-Service Contract: With this option, the initial enrollment fee may be lower; however, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care services will be charged at the market rate at the time the service is needed.
Make sure you and your loved ones understand the true cost of CCRC’s, and also if they have any financial aid available if the resident runs out of money after they move in. Often, part of the application process is financial qualification to help ensure the resident can afford the type of living arrangements they are requesting. Even with all the calculating that is done, residents may outlive their financial resources. It is important to know what the CCRC has (or does not have) in place to assist their residents, or if they simply expect the family to cover the costs or the resident to move out.
With most CCRC’s, the resident must move in when they are fully independent; they can not enter the community going directly to assisted living or a higher level of care. This is important to keep in mind because if a potential resident waits too long, they may find themselves ineligible for the community. When visiting CCRC’s be sure to find out their specific entry requirements so that you aren’t caught off-guard.
If this option is in your budget, it can be a wonderful experience. The CCRC I toured had so many things going on and was a place full of life! The employees we met were extremely helpful and several residents greeted us throughout the campus, telling us how much they loved living there. For both the resident and their family, a CCRC can provide peace of mind that their needs will be met, whatever they may become, taking the burden off the family and allowing them to be just that, family!
You don’t have to take this journey alone. I am here to support you and your entire family through this process, wherever you may be on your journey, and in whatever capacity I can best be of service. If you have any questions or comments, please call or email me. It is my honor to serve you and your loved ones navigate these challenging transitions.