Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Grocery stores offer a broad selection of foods allowing you to create thousands of different meals. Similarly, Home Depot offers thousands of items to address thousands of home projects. Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) or life communities offer seniors different housing options meeting different levels of housing needs. In other words, housing that addresses a senior’s health needs as they age.
This article discusses what’s unique and exciting about CCRCs. See our Housing Section for details on Continuing Care and Life Communities and how to select the one best for you.
The Basic Definition Of Life Communities
Life communities or CCRCs are designed to house a senior for the remainder of their life. They acknowledge that seniors require different levels of care as they age. In response, they provide housing options that can address those changing needs on the same property, or at nearby facilities. In other words, CCRCs provide seniors housing matching their care needs.
The Range Of Housing
CCRCs address three types of housing: independent, assisted, and dependent.
Independent housing is usually a small house (cottage) or apartment with a full set of appliances supporting cooking and laundry. It’s a standard apartment offering all the amenities of any other apartment or house.
Unlike independent living, assisted living focuses on assistance. The most common forms of assistance are meals, laundry, and cleaning. Assisted living facilities are usually apartment types of structures. However, assistance can be provided to seniors living in independent housing.
Dependent living is for seniors that are dependent on others. Unlike assisted living, seniors needing dependent housing need much more assistance. Seniors that need help performing most or all of their activities of daily living (ADLs). See our Sciton on ADLs here. It’s usually provided in a skilled nursing facility or a nursing home. The facility helps seniors with eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, and grooming.
Costs Of Life Communities
Costs for CCRCs and life communities are high. The best way to think about these communities is that your moving from your owned home into a facility that charges you for a new home plus a guarantee of lifetime care.
There are three basic types of CCRC contracts we cover here. However, the standard contract usually has these features.
The number one advantage of a life community is, once you’re qualified and admitted, you receive lifetime care. In addition, there are many other advantages, some are listed below.
Surprise Benefits Of Life Communities
Carmen and I heard a number of children with parents in life communities voice something like the following.
We visit all the time. Before Mom and Dad moved into the life community we stayed away. Every visit was a fight over their health and their ability to manage their house. Now every visit is a joy. We laugh, play, and reminisce.
This may be the biggest advantage of life communities. Transfering responsibility of health, housing, and finances to someone else.
The cons of life communities are the costs and the permanence. Life communities are very expensive. For most seniors that choose this option, it’s the last option they choose. Although sometimes, a resident can get their buy-in back, the funds have been eroded through inflation.
The other disadvantage os the permanence of the arrangement. Because the facility exists in a specific geographic location, if a senior’s life moves away, they lose the part that moves away. In other words, if a senior spends lots of time with family and friends and they move away, the senior loses that connection.
Other Resources On Life Communities
See our Section on Senior Housing here.
View a great review of CCRCs here.