People entering their golden years often have fears about the future, such as what will happen in the event that they become ill, lose their mobility, or become unable to maintain a home anymore. Many seniors worry about burdening their family members, or having to move from their home and familiar surrounding to a skilled care, nursing home facility. For seniors who are financially well set, a CCRC, or continuing care retirement community may be the perfect choice.
A CCRC provides living spaces for seniors who are fully independent to those who required skilled nursing home care, and all places in between. People who choose to live in a CCRC may enter the community while they are independent and can choose from a variety of housing option, including studio apartments, full apartments, houses and town houses. If the senior person’s needs change, they know that they can move within to same community to an assisted living situation, or into the skilled care facility in the community. Seniors who are single choose a CCRC as do couples, which allows them to live together even if their individual needs differ.
I have an aunt who has Alzheimer’s disease and she requires assisted care. My uncle is still capable of living independently. Because they have moved into a CCRC, my aunt and uncle can live together in an apartment and my aunt can receive the assistance that she needs, taking the responsibility off of my 80+ year old uncle. He may grouse about having to live in such a place, because he is cantankerous by nature, but there is peace in knowing that my aunt will always receive appropriate care.
When a person, or couple, chooses to live and move to a CCRC, they are signing a lifetime contract that guarantees that they will be able to remain in the same community, moving if necessary, as their personal needs change. If skilled care is suddenly needed, the senior is moved to the skilled care facility. Should they no longer require that skilled care after a time, they can move back to a more independent living situation. For those who need it, food is provided, usually in community dining halls, and there are opportunities for recreational activities for all ages and stages. Once a person joins a CCRC there is no more worry about moving, being separated from a spouse, and so forth.
However, CCRC living is not inexpensive. While most CCRCs are run by not for profit groups, such as certain church denominations, or ethic groups, there are large by in fees to live in a CCRC, varying from $20,000 to $400,000. This is out of range for many seniors. On top of the by in fee, there are monthly fees that can range from $400 to $2500. Of course, these costs are dictated by the CCRC that you choose and the type of care package that you decide to pay for as well. With a CCRC, when signing the lifetime agreement, you also get to choose options for future care, such as full coverage through death, to fee for services care where the senior pays out of pocket should they need assisted and skilled nursing care.
So, how does one choose the right CCRC? To begin, your budget may play a large role in the choice. Also, certain CCRCs may have more appeal to you, for instance a CCRC run by a Jewish non profit agency may appeal to those of the Jewish faith, while CCRCs run by golf non profits may have more appeal to an avid golfer. The proximity to other family members and friends should factor into the choice, as should the climate and living conditions and amenities.
The CCRC should be accredited by the CARF, which oversees the accreditation of all rehabilitation facilities. You will want to know if you can have pets, and if the food is of good quality. Since you will be paying plenty for it, you should like what you may be eating. It is suggested that you ask to spend a night or two at any CCRC to see if you like the feel of the environment, as well as to have a chance to experience the range of recreational activities available within the community. Some may want a CCRC with fitness facilities while others may not care about such things.
Ask yourself if you like the staff members that you meet and feel that the people who are working with you during the decision making process are caring and committed. Take the time to speak with those who already live at the CCRC to see if they are satisfied with the facility.
Choosing to live in a CCRC may sound like the perfect choice on paper, but do your research and check out each community thoroughly. You will be signing a lifetime contract, and you will be paying a high price for the security that a CCRC provides, so take the time to make certain that you have chosen the right CCRC for you before you sign on the dotted line.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities