Retirement Community - Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

The term Continuing Care Retirement Community is the primary term for a major part of the retirement scene, in books, magazines, accreditation and legislation, in parallel with the categorization just presented. A typical definition, from a New York Department of Health website is "Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and fee-for-service continuing care retirement communities (FFSCCRCs) are residential alternatives for adults that offer, under one contract, an independent living unit (an apartment or cottage), residential amenities and access to a continuum of long-term care services, as residents' health and social needs change over time." The accrediting agency CCRC/CARF uses the term CCRC with the same meaning.

In 2010, over 2,000 CCRCs existed in the United States with an estimated 640,000 residents. The popularity of CCRCs is increasing, as the number of older adults in such retirement communities has more than doubled during the last decade. The primary benefit of the CCRC model is that it allows people to age in one community even if they need additional healthcare services with time. Additionally, CCRCs embody a general sense of community and offer peace of mind for couples with the assurance that they will always be near each other, even if one spouse needs more care.

There are three levels of care in most CCRCs. The first level is independent living in which residents live on their own and have access to a wide array of amenities. The second level is assisted living, which provides help with daily tasks such as bathing and dressing. The third level is 24-hour nursing home-style care. As residents health needs increase, they will transition from one level to the next, all within the same community.

Most CCRCs include an entrance fee and a monthly fee, and these costs vary widely depending on several factors: the luxuriousness of the facility, the size and type of housing unit, whether the person enters alone or with a spouse, and how much future care is covered. Fees tend to be expensive and usually do not include additional services such as phone and television. Additionally, residents should plan on a 3-6% increase in monthly fees each year. CCRC's usually offer various payment plans, which are listed below.

  1. Life care: Residents pay a large entrance fee (average $270,000) and pay a set monthly fee (average $2,750) that does not increase if additional healthcare is needed.
  2. Modified: Residents pay a lower entrance fee (average $239,000) and their initial monthly fees (average $2,400) cover a certain amount of higher-level care. The monthly fees rise when further care is needed (assisted living average $4,400; nursing care average $8,200).
  3. Pay as you go: Residents pay a lower entrance fee (average $238,000), but initial monthly fees (average $2,000) increase when additional care is needed (assisted living average $4,300; nursing care average $7,700).

One risk of entering a CCRC is that most will refund only a portion or none of the entrance fee if a resident choses to leave the community. The same refund policies exist when a resident passes away. Persons considering moving into a CCRC may wish to research existing CCRCs before committing to one.

Read more about this topic:  Retirement Community

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