Be In the Know: Continuing Care Retirement Communities
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
In recent years, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have increased in popularity as more seniors begin to place emphasis on quality and continuum of care. But what exactly is a CCRC? SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast was joined by Teri Brant, Director of Marketing at Buena Vida Estates, the only CCRC located in Brevard County, Florida. She provided crucial information about CCRCs that could help those beginning their senior living search.
Brant explained that CCRCs are senior living communities that offer a continuum of care for seniors. In other words, a CCRC offers a life lease to seniors by providing every level of care that they may need in the future, such as memory care, skilled nursing, and more. Every CCRC is different depending on their structure and vacancy – some only take seniors that are in an independent living stage, others don’t have any specific requirements.
Most people begin their research into senior living as healthy individuals and it is difficult to imagine a future with health issues associated with aging, like memory loss. However, in most cases, it is a definite possibility that distinct health issues will arise resulting in a desperate need for assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care facilities with professionals trained to assist in everyday life. It becomes much harder to find a new place to live at an older age, especially when suffering with health issues. The beauty of a contract with a CCRC is that it guarantees that a senior will have the quality of care they need whenever they need it – no stressful moving required!
Not all CCRCs are apartments, some communities have homes/villas that are very similar to regular homes in a neighborhood because not every resident may be ready to live in a communal setting. This option for a more independent lifestyle still includes all the social amenities such as community activities and outings, so much so that Brant called it a “cruise on land lifestyle.” But all the while, residents know that they will be taken care of no matter what the future brings.
Another positive factor is that opting for a CCRC allows seniors to maintain control over their life decisions before they are unable to make those decisions for themselves. It can be extremely hard for a family member to take on a caregiver role, so sparing them from that responsibility by planning out your future ahead of time is a wonderful gift to your family’s future. This practice in planning will also alleviate other challenges that come with aging, such as deciding what things to keep, gift, or donate when it comes to downsizing. By getting used to having these conversations with yourself, spouse, and family members, when the time comes to take action, it will be a breeze for everyone involved.
Brant also broke down the costs regarding CCRCs and how they differ from other kinds of senior living. In assisted living, there is no way of ensuring a life plan for staying in one specific community. If the situation arises that a senior can’t pay rent anymore, the community cannot continue being their home. And oftentimes, there is no alternative.
It can be overwhelming to look at the senior living marketplace, but it is so important to do so sooner rather than later. According to Brant, seniors pay an average of $5,000/month for assisted living, $7,000/month for memory care, or $11,000/month for skilled nursing. Many of these prices can increase depending on additional levels of care.
The price for a CCRC is a fixed number, Brant emphasized. And every resident pays the same amount. The entry fee and overall cost is specific to the size of the apartment. Many people can underwrite the cost as a medical deduction using their long-term care policies. She suggested breaking down your assets and crunching the numbers of what you are already spending in your life. CCRCs work with what you can afford, so there will be no surprises if you need more care in the future. Brant said that she tells most people that in senior living, you either pay on the frontend or on the backend. It’s better to know what you’re paying for from the beginning rather than being blindsided after the fact.
Most importantly, Brant said, is to consider all of your options. Tour several communities. Do your homework. Research their websites. Check out the high-quality virtual tours. Don’t make a snap decision without shopping around first. Above all, figure out what is right for you and your needs.
If you enjoyed this article, listen to our podcast, “The A-Z’s on CCRC’s (Continuing Care Retirement Communities)” which can be found anywhere you enjoy music or podcasts such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Alexa, Podchaser & More!Tags: CCRC, Retirement Planning