If you’re nearing retirement age and are looking for a long-term care option that will allow you to stay in the same place, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) may be right for you. CCRCs provide independent living with access to onsite higher-level care, should your needs progress. This continuum of care ensures residents have the stability of remaining in the place they call home. In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about CCRCs, from what they are to how they work. We’ll also answer some common questions about CCRCs so that you can decide if this is the right long-term care option for you.
Questions You Should Ask When Visiting a CCRC
When visiting a CCRC, it’s important to ask plenty of questions. Here are some questions you should ask:
- What is the minimum age for residents?
- What is the average age of residents?
- What services and amenities are included in the monthly rent?
- Is there a limit to the number of guests I can have?
- What is the monthly price?
- How much does it cost to move into a CCRC?
- Are there any entrance fees?
- Is there a refund policy if I leave the community?
- Are meals included in the monthly price?
What Services Are Provided at a CCRC?
A CCRC provides independent living with access to onsite higher-level care, should your needs progress. This continuum of care ensures residents have the stability of remaining in the place they call home.
CCRCs offer a variety of services, which can include:
- Independent living
- Assisted living
- Memory care
- Skilled nursing
- Rehabilitation services
What Are the Different Types of CCRCs?
There are three different types of continuing care retirement communities:
Also known as a life care community, Type A CCRCs contractually guarantee residents access to all levels of care, should they need it. This contract is known as the Extensive life-care contract and almost always carries the most expensive entrance fee and monthly fee.
Type B CCRCs do not contractually guarantee access to all levels of care but typically offer priority access to those who live in the community. This contract is known as a modified contract and any services you receive over what is contracted will incur monthly fees.
Also known as a fee-for-service community, Type C CCRCs do not contractually guarantee access to any level of care but typically offer a lower monthly price, and the enrollment fee will likely be lower. Think of this as a la carte type of care where you pay for what you need and receive.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Moving into a CCRC?
Moving into a continuing care retirement community has its pros and cons. Here are some things to consider:
- You’ll have access to onsite higher-level care, should you need it.
- You’ll have the stability of remaining in the same place.
- CCRCs offer a variety of services and amenities.
- CCRCs can be expensive.
- There may be a waiting list to get into a CCRC.
- You may have to move if you need higher-level care than what’s available at the CCRC.
How to know when it’s time for a CCRC
The signs that an elderly person may need continuous care can vary depending on the individual. However, some of the most common signs that it may be time for a CCRC are:
- The person is having difficulty with basic activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
- The person is experiencing memory loss or changes in cognitive abilities.
- The person is isolated and/or feels lonely.
- The person’s health is declining, and they are having difficulty managing their medications.
- The person is at risk of falling.
- The person’s home is no longer safe or comfortable.
If you are noticing any of these signs in an elderly loved one, it may be time to start looking into continuing care retirement communities.
What to look for in a CCRC
When you are looking for a continuing care retirement community, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are some things to look for:
- Location: You’ll want to choose a CCRC that is located in an area that is convenient for you and your family.
- Services and amenities: Make sure the CCRC offers the services and amenities that are important to you.
- Price: CCRCs can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you can afford the monthly price.
- Refund policy: Find out if the CCRC has a refund policy in case you need to move out of the community.
- Continuum of care: Make sure the CCRC offers the level of care that you or your loved one may need in the future.
You should also take a tour of the CCRC and meet with some of the staff before making a decision.
How You Can Pay for a CCRC
There are a few ways that a person can pay for their continuing care retirement community:
- Out of pocket: The senior can pay for the CCRC out of pocket. At We Care Senior Solutions, we will take a look at the seniors’ investments, IRA’s, savings and home equity as well as consider age and current / potential future care needs to calculate a solid financial plan.
- Long-term care insurance: The senior may be able to use their long-term care insurance to help pay for the CCRC. This can be a good option if they already have a long-term care insurance policy and care is already in place or warranted.
- Life insurance: The senior might want to use their life insurance policy to pay for the CCRC. This can be a good option if they have a life insurance policy with cash value. Oftentimes, policyholders do not realize that paid up life insurance, or life insurance paid over decades may acquire a nice cash value.
- Medicaid: The senior in some instances; in certain states may be able to use Medicaid to pay for the CCRC. This can be a good option if the person is eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that could help low-income seniors pay for medical care. It’s a federal program, however, each state interprets it differently.
- Veteran Aid & Attendance benefits: If the senior is a veteran or spouse of a veteran who served during wartime, benefits could be applied for, and if qualified, monthly benefits would be awarded from $1,300.00 to $2,430.00 + each month for life!
You should speak with a representative from We Care Senior Solutions first to discuss your options. In many situations, a senior living community providing Independent, Personal Care or Assisted Living and Memory Care at the same community will have a more affordable one-time community fees ranging from $1500 to $4000, rather than the large entrance fees that CCRC’s have in place. This type of senior living community also provides you a month-to-month lease and no long-term financial commitment.
Additional Resources for Finding a Great CCRC
If you are looking for more information on continuing care retirement communities, take a look at AARP.
Now that you know a lot more about continuing care retirement communities, you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right long-term care option for you or a loved one. CCRCs offer residents a variety of services and amenities, as well as the stability of remaining in the same place throughout different stages of aging. Keep in mind that CCRCs can be expensive, so you’ll want to make sure you or your loved one can afford a CCRC. You should also tour the CCRC and meet with some of the staff before making a decision and utilize various planning tools. And finally, speak with your family and financial advisor to find out what the best option is for you.
WeCare Senior Solutions specializes in helping Seniors and their families find the best answer for their Senior housing needs. Click the link to schedule a call with us today.