Retirement Communities > Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Life Plan Communities
A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) allows residents to move in while they are active and healthy, yet have services and care nearby for when their needs change as they age. The community provides several tiers of senior living options or care levels all on one campus, with the guarantee of care for the rest of a resident’s life; providing peace of mind to the resident and their family.
Though some communities have more skilled care options than others, most typically offer the following levels of care:
If someone moves into an independent living apartment in a CCRC, for example, but then eventually needs help with tasks like bathing and medication administration, they can then transition into assisted living within that same community.
This tiered approach allows residents to remain on the same campus – close to a spouse or friends from the community – even if more care is required in the future. It provides peace of mind to the residents and their families alike.
Just note that many of these communities, however, are changing their names to Life Plan Communities; their structure remains the same, but the new name gives a fresher and more inclusive association.
A typical Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community campus is divided into separate areas based on lifestyle and care level. Each area may include a separate building, or multiple buildings, depending on the layout of the community. In larger cities, an entire CCRC may be housed within a single multi-story building. In more suburban and rural areas, the campus may be sprawling and set up with shuttle services or golf carts for easy transportation.
Often, the independent living portion of the campus features small cottages or apartments for residents. In the areas that offer more care, like assisted living, residents receive a single or shared bedroom with a bathroom.
Living spaces are designed for ease of access, with features like handicap accessibility and emergency alert systems built right in. In addition, regardless of the type of unit, maintenance and upkeep are generally handled by staff members.
The experience at a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community greatly depends on the lifestyle choices and level of care each resident seeks. Most residents begin at independent living, which has little or no restrictions on how they spend their time. They can continue to pursue their own hobbies and interests, host visitors, and come and go as they please. Some communities will offer flexible dining options allowing the independent living or cottage residents to purchase less meals than those in assisted living.
As care gets more extensive, residents are more closely monitored and receive daily assistance. In many cases, residents receive care on-site; however, if a service – like skilled nursing care – is not available, most CCRCs reserve the right to provide care off-site. Further, if a resident requires only short-term skilled nursing care due to an illness or injury, they can generally move back to their independent living unit once they get better.
In addition to medical care and wellness, CCRCs work to provide a consistent range of on-site activities and social opportunities.
Most campuses incorporate a variety of large dining rooms and common areas for residents to interact with each other. Some campuses even partner with nearby universities to offer ongoing education classes, or travel programs. There are generally daily activities targeted towards health of body and mind, including:
Services at CCRCs also vary depending on care level and lifestyle choices. All levels generally receive basic services such as:
With higher levels of care, residents get further assistance with tasks like bathing, medication reminders and administration, and even medical care.
CCRCs generally charge a one-time entrance fee, in addition to monthly fees. Some communities also charge additional fees for extra amenities, including:
CCRCs are in high demand because of the flexibility and the guarantee offered to residents. They are generally one of the more expensive senior living options. Unlike other options, CCRCs usually include a contract between you and the community, which guarantees care for the rest of the resident’s life in return for a financial investment.
Long term care insurance, Medicare and Medicaid may help cover some of the costs as care needs increase.
Consider these statements below to determine if any of them describe you, or your loved one:
If most or all of the above statements apply to you, then a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or Life Plan Community may be a good option. You could also consider the following living options:
*Some CCRCs have availability in their more supportive care levels including Assisted Living and Memory Care. This can be especially helpful for spouses with differing needs. Another option for couples with variant needs would be to bring in a Companion Care or Home Health Care company to supplement their care needs.
Still not sure? Take our Care Assessment to see what care level may be best.
– Gustave Flaubert