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Is Buying a Continuing Care Retirement Community Right For Me?

Explore CCRC living options and discover if they are a good match for you or your loved one. Seniorly walks you through the options of CCRC living.

By Marlena del Hierro · Updated Aug 08, 2022
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Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are a long-term care option that combines independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing in one setting.  The goal of CCRCs is to provide long-term services and support that meet your changing needs over time without requiring that you move outside the community.  Your place in the next level of care is there for you and your future care needs are already planned for from the moment you move in allowing you to safely age in place.

A CCRC is the most expensive long-term care option.  It requires a large up-front entrance fee as well as monthly charges.  The entrance fee is essentially an investment in your future care.  You are buying into a property and a system of care that, in turn, commits to meet your future care needs. 

The monthly charges may increase over time as your need for care changes. The amount of these fees depends on the type of housing, whether you rent or buy, and how much care you need.  Other services such as housekeeping, meal service, transportation, and participation in activities may be extra.

Service contracts vary as well and can influence your cost.  An all-inclusive contract, the most expensive option, offers unlimited care when you need it without additional charges.  Modified contracts offer a set of services for a certain length of time after which fees increase.  Fee-for-service contracts may include a lower initial enrollment fee with market rates for assisted living and nursing care services when you need them.

Because of the significant financial cost, it’s important to visit different CCRCs to find the one that feels like home to you and pay close attention to contract details, particularly those related future cost increases as your circumstances change.

CCRCs might be a good option to consider if:

  • You are currently in good health and able to live independently, but worry about having to move at some future point when you or a spouse needs more care.  CCRCs often have waiting lists, so even if you act now it is likely you won’t be able to move in for some time.
  • You want to make decisions about your future care while you are still able to live independently rather than waiting until an emergency forces you to move.
  • You don’t have children or others close by who will be able or willing to provide care.
  • You have the financial resources both in the short-term for the entrance fee and other immediate costs and in the long-term for increases in costs as your needs change.
  • You are excited about, or at least comfortable with, the idea of communal living.  A good CCRC should be as much about community as it is about your future needs for services and support.
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written by:
Marlena del Hierro
VP of Partnerships at Seniorly, MA in Gerontology San Francisco State University
View other articles written by Marlena

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