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Why CCRC’s Are the Best Option For Seniors


Staff member
Dec 13, 2023
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There’s a great joke from the classic days of The Simpsons.

After Grampa gets into some sort of shenanigan, Homer threatens to put him in a home. When Grampa argues they already put him in a home, Homer retorts, “Then we'll put you in the crooked home we saw on 60 Minutes!

Fortunately, in most cases, that storyline is fiction. In fact, modern senior living is so appealing it would make any child want to move right in, too. Amenities galore, fun and engaging community programs and friendly neighbors abound in senior living communities.

And one of the most appealing options is known as a “continuing care retirement community,” or CCRC. But what exactly is it and what are the pros and cons?

What is a CCRC?​

A continuing care retirement community is most definitely not an “old age home.” It’s independent living, assisted living and full-service nursing home all in one. Active and independent seniors can keep living as they’re used to in their own apartment or condo, or even a single-family home.

But as they age, and assistance is needed for daily activities or a healthcare professional at home becomes more necessary, seniors can move right into an assisted living facility or from a house to an apartment. And if needed, eventually to a nursing care facility. This gives your loved one a feeling of consistency with the ability to live in one place for the rest of their life and removes the stress of wondering if they’ll be forced to move again.

What’s great about a CCRC?​

About a decade ago, my family and I decided it was time for my mother to sell the single-family home she lived in alone and find an active elder community right for her. We discovered a continuing care retirement community we liked close to where she had been living. She was skeptical at first but also understanding of what her needs were. She had a tough time the first year or so. She told us, “Everyone here is so old!”

But what she learned over time was that a CCRC was a great place to live and nearly everyone can find like-minded friends and a ton to do. Most of these facilities also contain all sorts of amenities such as (depending on the facility) multiple dining rooms with wonderful food and service, game and playrooms, workout facilities and pools, computer labs, shopping, movie theaters, activities, organizations, clubs and so much more. And everything is contained inside one campus (and wheelchair and disability accessible) where both those living on their own and those with assisted care can participate equally and really never need to leave for anything.

And what helped my mom the most was realizing that she wasn’t as alone as she thought she would be. She has a group of close friends she’s met in her time there with whom she eats meals with and plays cards and goes on community-run outings and trips.

No matter who you are or your level of needed care, there will certainly be new friends with whom you’ll connect. A CCRC can be a great source of community and companionship that an older parent might not find elsewhere alone. And visiting your relative or loved one in a CCRC couldn’t be easier or more accommodating, especially during Sunday buffets!

But the entire point of a CCRC is that when a resident begins to lose their independence or needs further regular medical care or assistance, everything is taken care of. Residents are seamlessly moved to an elevated care part of the campus without worry. All medical needs are attended to based on a predetermined procedure without finding and moving to an entirely different facility. It can make an extraordinarily stressful situation almost easy.

What’s not so great about a CCRC?​

There is one glaring downside to continuing care retirement communities, and that’s the cost. If you can afford the expense or have insurance that will assist, the sky’s the limit as to what you can get out of a CCRC. But for many, the cost is prohibitive.

CCRCs require a large substantial entrance fee before you even move in, and then fairly significant monthly charges as well. According to AARP, “Entrance fees can range from $100,000 to $1 million — an upfront sum to prepay for care. Monthly charges can range from $3,000 to $5,000 but may increase as needs change.”

Of course, some CCRCs are more costly than others, depending on your location. Most also offer tiered contract pricing as well that can ease some of the upfront costs but there may be additional care costs down the line.

You also need to consider this – if your CCRC shuts down or goes bankrupt in 10 or 15 years, you could lose your entire investment. It’s hard to think that far into the future, but you need to get informed. Before signing on the dotted line, you must ask the facility direct and honest questions about their financial status, history and certification. Be sure to research any facility you’re considering and consult the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CARF–CCAC), which is the nation's largest CCRC accreditation organization.

Aside from cost and, for some, distance from relatives and friends, there are few other downsides to living in a CCRC. As with my mother, it can be difficult adjusting to a new lifestyle as well as living only with other seniors, but most people acclimate. Additionally, you’re required to join when you’re still able to live independently.

The contract is a very complex legal document. And like anything else, some facilities are world class and others aren’t as beloved by their residents.

Do your research, talk to other residents and then decide if a CCRC is right for you.

The post Why CCRC’s Are the Best Option For Seniors appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.
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