Few decisions may be as important or life-impacting as that of where you or a loved one will choose to live as you reach the “golden years.” There are a multitude of options available, but if you’re planning for the long run, one excellent choice may be a continuing care retirement community – or CCRC – which offers all levels of care to its residents, from independent living, to assisted living and skilled nursing.
If you think a CCRC might be a good fit for you or your loved one, I recommend that you explore all of the communities available in your area and consider the following points:
Your financial situation
There are three types of CCRC contracts, each one bringing different cost and payment options to the table. When exploring the financial component of each contract, be sure to weigh it against your health needs to determine which one makes the most sense.
Type A is a life care contract that typically involves a relatively higher entrance fee and monthly fees. All assisted living and skilled nursing are pre-paid, use it or not.
Type B: Under a Type B or modified contract, a resident will pay a lower entrance fee than with Type A and an ongoing monthly fee to live in an apartment. In a Type B contract, a CCRC is obligated to provide an appropriate level of assisted living or skilled nursing as in a Type A contract, but only for a specific period of time.
Type C also includes an entrance fee and a monthly fee, and can sometimes include the option of a refundable plan. Skilled nursing services are provided at market rate and on an as-needed basis. They are not pre-paid as in Type A or Type B.
The community’s financial situation
If you are interested in CCRCs, you are likely attracted to the long-term nature of the living arrangement. Make sure the community is well-established and thriving to ensure it will be operating for years to come.
The community’s culture
Learn about the culture of the CCRC. You want to be sure that the community is a place where you will fully enjoy spending your time and be welcomed. We recommend engaging candidly with current residents to better understand the environment and what day-to-day life is like in the community, and whether you’d enjoy your time there. You can also inquire about staying for a few days at the CCRC to try it out. Here are a few questions to help you learn more about the community’s culture: What is the occupancy? What kind of life-enrichment programs are offered? What are some of the characteristics of the staff? Are they an “inclusive living community?” Will you continue to grow there?
Above all, when choosing a residence don’t forget your instincts. Trust your intuition and consider these questions: How do you feel when you walk into the place? Do you feel a sense of respect and trust established within the community? Could you see this being a happy home for you or your loved one?
Monique Eliezer is chief of sales, marketing & strategies officer at Ingleside, a premier provider of comprehensive senior living opportunities in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Reach her at MEliezer@Inglesideonline.org.