Today’s baby boomers are living longer than any previous generation, providing plenty of opportunities for older adults to enjoy all that retirement has to offer, such as traveling, pursuing hobbies, and spending time with family.
While many active older adults look forward to this new phase of life, many are often confronted with the question of if their health changes, where will their care take place, if needed. A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) also known as life plan community can provide excellent peace of mind and elevate this concern.
CCRC is a convenient option for those who want to ensure their changing needs are met as they age. Let’s take a closer look and learn what is a CCRC, how it works and some of the benefits you can expect.
What’s a Continuing Care Retirement Community?
A CCRC provides a continuum of care to older adults, offering a full range of housing options and care services in one location. They offer a full range of retirement living accommodations and services for independent living, personal care and skilled nursing care.
- Senior living options usually provide housekeeping, maintenance, community dining, and a full range of amenities as well as activities such as fitness classes.
- Personal care support provides assisted living activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management as needed.
- Skilled nursing care provides short-term, long-term, rehabilitative, and respite care to meet the health needs of residents.
CCRCs or life plan communities are designed so that adults live independently in a private apartment for as long as they wish. As their health changes, they can access the care they need in the same community.
Many residents who choose to move to a CCRC are in good health and capable of living on their own but like the comfort of knowing they have a familiar, stable home no matter when their care needs change. They’re also drawn to community living in a resort-style environment that’s rich in opportunities for recreation and socializing.
Benefits of Independent Living at a CCRC
Some people prefer not to move until it’s absolutely necessary, but independent living at a CCRC offers many benefits. You spend less time maintaining a residence and enjoy convenient services such as dining, housekeeping, laundry, transportation services, security, maintenance, and emergency assistance.
CCRCs or life care communities typically offer a selection of floor plans and layouts to accommodate individuals and couples, including private studio apartments and multi-bedroom spaces with kitchens, balconies, and in-space storage. In independent living residences, apartments are unfurnished so you can bring in your favorite pieces and make it your home.
Most continuing care retirement communities also provide a full range of amenities and recreation to encourage active living. Riddle Village, for example, has a fitness center, pool, putting green, games room, art studio, woodworking shop, and social calendar of events. Amenities vary by CCRC, so it’s important to consider your lifestyle so you find a community that’s the right fit.
What If My Care Needs Change?
Continuing care retirement communities provide worry-free living. Residents can transition from independent living to assisted living or nursing care if needed.
Independent living is for those who are relatively healthy and can take care of themselves. It’s like living in a regular apartment complex or senior living community, but with added amenities and social activities.
Assisted living is for those who need help with some activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and taking medications.
Nursing services is for those who need around-the-clock care.
The beauty of continuing care retirement communities is that you can stay in the same place as your needs change. You don’t have to worry about moving or finding assisted living communities or nursing homes when you’re no longer able to take care of yourself.
Just be clear on the different levels of care a CCRC can provide and what’s included as part of the fees. Some may charge the same rate no matter which level of care a resident moves into, while others may have additional cost for assisted living and nursing medical care. It’s also important to know when and how decisions to transition to other levels of care are made.
How Does a CCRCs Work?
Most CCRCs require an entry fee and collect monthly fees to cover services and maintenance. Be sure you understand what’s included as part of your fees, as this varies by community. There are three types of contracts.
- Type A (Lifecare or Extensive Contract): Residents pay monthly for housing, residential services, amenities, and a full range of health-related services with little or no increase in payments over time.
- Type B (Modified Contract): Residents settle a monthly fee that covers housing, residential services, amenities, and a set amount of health-related services. Additional services cost extra, and entry fees vary.
- Type C (Fee-for-Service Contract): Residents give a monthly service fee for housing, residential services, amenities, and basic services. Health care services are usually provided on a fee basis. Entry fees may be refundable over time.
Moving to a continuing care retirement community is a big decision but ultimately offers an enriching lifestyle now with the comfort of knowing future needs are taken care of. Be sure to consider what’s important to you, and take the time to find a CCRC that provides the services and amenities you need in a warm, vibrant environment.`
Choosing the right Continuing Care Retirement Community
When it comes to choosing continuing care retirement communities, there are many factors to consider.
Geographic location can become a major issue when determining a CCRC if keeping close family contacts becomes important. A CCRC should also be easily accessible through private and public transportation.
One final factor to consider when choosing a CCRC is the size of the community. Some people prefer larger communities with more activities and people, while others do better in smaller, tighter-knit groups. There are CCRCs of all sizes, so finding one that meets the needs and preferences of the individual is possible.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can start researching CCRCs. There are CCRCs located in nearly every state, so finding one should not be difficult. Check out the websites of different communities and read online reviews. Schedule a tour or attend an information session to get a better sense of what each community has to offer.
Ask lots of questions when you visit, including:
- What fees are associated with living in a CCRC?
- What levels of care are available?
- Is there a waiting list for any of the services
- ·What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
- What are the community’s policies around visitors and overnight guests?
Requirements for Moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community
To be eligible to move into a CCRC, seniors must meet certain age and health requirements. Many CCRCs have an age minimum of 62 or 65, although some will accept younger residents if they require a higher level of care.
In terms of health, most communities require that applicants be in relatively good health and able to live independently.
Those who choose to move to CCCR are then required to complete a questionnaire indicating their financial resources, health status and income status.
Prospective residents must complete a thorough needs assessment for the type of service (independent or assisted living) and care they need upon arrival.
Naturally, all these affect costs. Applicants need to make financial arrangements prior to being considered and entrance fees are needed to proceed.
The Lifecare Difference – Understanding your CCRC contract
Riddle Village is a CCRC that is proud to offer a Lifecare contract to its residents. Unlike other CCRC contracts, this contract provides all of the advantages of our luxurious living accommodations, amenities, and residential services with the added peace of mind of unlimited long-term care, if ever needed in the future.
With a Lifecare contract, you can be protected against financial disaster if your health requires you to need personal care, memory care or skilled nursing in the future. Residents get great comfort knowing they are protected by the Lifecare contract and can utilize the higher level of care, should they require it, without a steep increase to their monthly fees.