**Not to be confused with a continuing care retirement community, often referred to as a CCRC or life plan community –this is a “buy-in” model where older adults put a significant sum of money down to move into a CCRC, ideally, when they are healthy. More is discussed at the end of this post.**
When asked the question, “Where would you like to live when you get older?” Most older people answer the same, they would like to stay where they are and “age in place.” This is understandable, especially if it’s the same house they’ve lived in for most of their life. It might be their first home, the home they raised a family in or any number of other reasons they would like to stay. However, the hard truth is that their beloved house in a familiar community can become both physically impractical and socially isolating over time. Keeping up the house and yard will become more difficult as they age and the friendly neighbor that they remember might still be just as friendly, but all their friends and neighbors will slowly be replaced with a new generation. So, what’s to be done? The answer could be quite simple, move them into a continuing care retirement community.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
To be defined as a continuing care retirement community, often referred to as a CCRC or life plan community, a community must offer independent living, assisted living and nursing home care all in one campus. Older adults must move into a CCRC when they are healthy. Although settings vary, most have a common dining room, activity centers, gyms, outdoor recreation and swimming pools. Social events happen on campus, and often there are outings to events. Perhaps the most desirable component of a CCRC is that healthy adults can live within these communities in a single-family home or apartment. Some are even condo developments. They live independently as long as they want to or can. This creates a high level of independence and quality of life. Over time, when they begin to need help, it is there for them. They may move to an assisted living or skilled nursing area as their needs change.
Benefits of CCRC
Residing in a continuing care retirement community can bring great peace of mind for both the resident and their loved ones. The health and wellness centers lead senior living activities to help all seniors lead a more active life, which can be difficult to organize in the regular community/neighborhood. When “aging in place,” elderly people often need someone to mow their lawns and take them to the grocery store. Perhaps they don’t always want to prepare their meals. At a CCRC, the following services may be offered, depending on the monthly maintenance contract:
- Lawn care
- Garbage pick-up
- Snow removal
- Social activities
- Some utilities
- Health monitoring services
- Emergency call monitoring
Disadvantages of CCRC
There are two main disadvantages to a continuing care retirement community. The first is the overall cost. As you might suspect, this all-in-one living doesn’t come cheap. In fact, a CCRC is one of the more expensive senior living options. When a person commits to CCRC or life plan community living, they sign a continuing care agreement. A lawyer or financial advisor should review this document first, as it is a legal contract between the resident and the CCRC. The second one really isn’t much of a disadvantage, if you do your due diligence. When you are first researching a facility, make sure you are looking at all three of the phases of the continuum of care. Finding out that the facility you and your loved one chose is great for the independent living phase, but sub-par in the nursing home phase only after your loved one needs the care in the nursing home is a huge disadvantage. A person also needs to be comfortable with both the healthcare continuum and the monetary responsibility of living in a CCRC. Deciding healthcare options for the rest of a loved one’s life and committing to lifelong financial obligations is a big decision. Do your due diligence.
Learn more about what Sholom has to offer your aging loved ones!