What Is a Continuing Care Facility?

Last Updated: August 5, 2019

One of the challenges many families face when considering a senior living community for a parent or senior loved one is identifying which option is the right one.What Is a Continuing Care Facility?

Will your loved one need assistance with the everyday activities that are offered at assisted living or do they only want the social community that comes with independent living? When it comes to continuing care facilities, they don’t make you choose.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care facilities, also known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), make it easy for seniors to move from one level of care to another as needed. Usually, seniors move in when they’re still fairly healthy and able to enjoy independent living, but then they can stay where they are when they start to need increasing levels of care.

Continuing care facilities offer three levels of care:

  • Independent living: For seniors that are healthy and don’t need help with day-to-day tasks
  • Assisted living: For seniors that need help with basic activities of daily living, like bathing and getting dressed
  • Skilled nursing: For seniors that are injured to the point of needing consistent care from a trained healthcare professional

The goal is to provide seniors with easy access to whatever care or services they’ll need throughout the rest of their lives.

The Benefits of a Continuing Care Facility

Instead of moving a parent or senior loved one to multiple senior living communities as they age and their needs change, moving loved ones into continuing care facilities means not having to move again for the rest of their lives.

Continuing care facilities offer all the care that a senior loved one will need and also especially benefit couples – if one partner needs more care or passes away, the other still has a close community nearby to lean on, so there’s less risk of anxiety and depression.

Also, just as all senior living communities do, continuing care facilities offer several activities and events for residents to take part in. They can enjoy card games, classes, and craft games without going very far. They can also take advantage of easy transportation for local trips like those to the museum or nearby parks.

What You Should Know About Continuing Care Retirement Communities

If you’ve been wondering what the catch is, it’s probably just what you’d expect. Continuing care retirement communities are expensive. Typically, they require an entrance fee that can span anywhere from $60,000 to $1 million, as well as a monthly fee that ranges from $200 to $5,000. The entrance fee is refundable or partially refundable in some cases, but at some CCRCs, once you pay it, it’s gone even if you later choose to leave.

The monthly fee residents pay can change over time based on the level of care you need, so anyone considering a continuing care facility should make sure they fully understand how the terms work for the life of their care.

If you can afford a continuing care facility, it’s one of the most convenient and safest options available, but the cost is high enough that you want a move to a CCRC to be for keeps. You should, therefore, be certain that it’s the right place for you or your loved one before making a decision.

Take lots of time to talk to the people working there and the other residents, and spend some time scoping the place out. Make sure you present the continuing care facility’s contract to a lawyer to make sure you fully understand what you’re signing and are comfortable with it.

If everything does fall into place and you’ve found a continuing care facility you love, then get settled in and make an effort to meet the other residents. They’re likely to become some of your best friends and your go-to support system in your remaining days.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for SeniorAdvisor.com.

1 Comment

  1. Dawn September 23, 2016 Reply

    Dear Miss Hicks,
    Thank you for sharing the benefits of a CCRC, and breaking down the exclusive services. I do however have to clarify and add to your article. I am a longtime employee at a CCRC that has been around for 30 years, and I am proud to say that our communities type of living gives the best of all worlds with what we have the offer. I would like to give a laundry list of benefits that make CCRCs unlike any other:

    -The Entrance Fee you mentioned guarantees the lowest monthly rates for a lifetime and more available services. So the portion that is lost from the refundability plan is made up for in the savings in the monthly rate which is virtually cut in half in a lot of cases.
    -CCRCs also guarantee a fixed/capped monthly increase with a range of 2-5 percent with no increases possibly some years.
    -In some states there is s tremendous tax benefit where all Independent Living residents can write off a large portion of their monthly rates annually. Obviously income requirements apply.
    -An Entrance Fee Community preserves the Estate of the family, so the money is held and protected for a long period of time.
    -CCRCs generally have very elaborate Wellness Programs with high levels of care, Actvities Programs and Dining Services Programs.
    -And last but not least, CCRCs have custom living options to where the future residents can customize their Apartment or Casita without having to pay major renovation costs.

    I hope this article generates some great consideration of CCRCs, opens up the door to a new exciting chapter in our senior’s lives.

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