Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC's) provide residents with a lifetime continuum of care. CCRC’s offer a tiered approach to the aging process, accommodating the changing needs of the resident. CCRC's are usually (although not always) centrally located on one campus to include three facilities which are independent living, assisted living and a nursing home facility.
Upon entering, healthy adults can reside independently in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they can move into assisted living or nursing care facilities.
CCRC’s give older adults the option to live in one location for the duration of their life, with much of their future care already figured out. This can provide a great level of comfort to both your loved one and you taking much of the stress out of the caregiving relationship. CCRC campuses are typically located in peaceful, picturesque and hospitable surroundings. They are intended to be upscale communities set apart in choice locations that afford a great deal of privacy and convenience.
As with other types of residential environments that are specifically tailored to seniors' needs and tastes, CCRC's and their residents establish a business arrangement through a legal contract specifying exactly what supportive services, nursing care, other healthcare, and housing will be provided for residents.
Government regulation of CCRC's is largely based on state law and may vary from state to state which is important to remember if you're considering taking up residence in a CCRC. The state's Office for Aging or State Housing Authority where you live or plan to relocate can be a valuable source of information.
The most expensive of all long-term-care options, CCRC's require a hefty entrance fee as well as monthly charges. Entrance fees can range from $100,000 to $1 million with an upfront sum to prepay for care as well as to provide the facility money to operate. Monthly charges can range from $3,000 to $5,000 but may increase as needs change. These fees are dependent on a variety of factors including the health of your loved one(s), the type of housing they choose, whether they rent or buy, the number of residents living in the facility and the type of service contract. Additional fees may be incurred for other options including housekeeping, meal service, transportation and social activities.
There are three basic types of contracts for CCRC's:
• Life Care or Extended Contract: This is the most expensive option, but offers unlimited assisted living, medical treatment and skilled nursing care without additional charges.
• Modified Contract: This contract offers a set of services provided for a set length of time. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but for higher monthly fees.
• Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at their market rates.
It is very important to review with your loved one each option as well as the long-term financial plan to support them. Often, charges above and beyond the entrance cost and monthly fees arise. Ensure that everyone understands just how much money will be needed to support this housing option.