What Is A Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Simply put, a Continuing Care Retirement Community (or CCRC) is a retirement community that offers accommodations for independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care. This allows their residents to receive a continuum of care. This means that someone would be able to spend the rest of his or her life in a CCRC because they are able to move between the varying levels of care at the same community as they require it. Those who work in this industry refer to this as “aging in place.”

In order for a retirement community to be defined as a CCRC, it must have the following available to seniors: the ability to live independently, it must offer assisted living, as needed, and provide nursing home care, all consolidated in one place. To be eligible for a CCRC, seniors are required to move into a CCRC while they are still healthy. While the setup is obviously different from place to place, most of them have a lot of the same or similar things, such as a common dining room, activity centers, gyms, outdoor recreation and swimming pools. Many social events happen on the campus, and there are also outings to events as well, like a night at a symphony. Depending on the community, the living spaces may include houses, cottages, clusters, townhouses, duplexes, and apartments.

Keep in mind, however, that though it may sound like a good thing, it is very costly, and those who have a low or middle income and assets normally are unable to afford a CCRC. The payment plans usually vary by facility, but a lot of them demand a hefty entrance fee, which can range in price from $10,000-$500,000. In many instances, the senior does not purchase the place that he or she lives in; rather they pay a monthly maintenance fee, that can be anywhere from $200 to over $2,000, and a contract made between resident and the facility details exactly what the monthly maintenance fee goes toward, as well as any health care coverage costs too.

As with most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to living in a CCRC. If an elderly person lives outside of a CCRC, he or she normally needs someone to do yardwork or take them to get groceries. The following services, however, may be offered at a CCRC, though this is dependent upon the monthly maintenance contract:

  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Lawn care
  • Gardening
  • Garbage and snow removal
  • Housekeeping
  • Social activities
  • Laundry
  • Some utilities
  • Health monitoring services
  • Emergency call monitoring, and
  • Security 

Keep in mind though, that such places may be good for some, but they aren’t necessarily the right choice for all. If you or a loved one are considering the possibility of a CCRC, it would be best to go over all your options and see whether or not a CCRC is right for you. It isn’t a decision to make lightly, so take your time, and figure out what would best work for you or the ones you love.