What is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC)?

April 14, 2016

CCRCs are residential communities established in a campus-like setting that provide older adults access to multiple levels of housing and care including residential homes or apartments much like their own homes; assisted living, which provides a level of assistance with daily tasks; and skilled nursing care for those with greater health needs. CCRCs are like the one-stop shopping of the retirement community industry. Generally, residents move to a CCRC when they are still well enough to live independently and as their needs change, they have access to greater care within the community from health care staff they already know. Meals, activities/programming, medical care, lawn care, and maintenance are examples of services provided as a resident of a CCRC. At most CCRCs, there are many amenities such as multiple dining venues, walking trails, libraries, and fitness centers. Resident can enjoy all the benefits of active retirement living, with a safety net of health services on site.

There are over 2,000 CCRCs across the country. In order to enter a CCRC, you must qualify both financially and medically. There are many different types of CCRCs, and just as many different kinds of contracts and costs.  Most CCRCs require an initial one-time investment, often referred to as an entrance fee, and paid upon moving in, similar in the amount of a home purchase, along with a monthly service fee. Costs will vary widely depending upon size and features of the home and amenities you choose and level of care needed. CCRCs offer a number of different entrance fee options, some of which may be refundable. Most refundable options include 50% plans. Should you move out within a certain time-frame after moving in, your entrance fee may be partially refundable. These plans exist to help estate preservation and legacy giving.

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To many older adults CCRCs offer the best of all possible worlds. On one hand you have the independence and privacy of living in your own cottage or apartment and on the other hand there are tremendous opportunities to meet new people and enjoy an active social and recreational life, all this while knowing there are other services available if you should need them.