What is a CCRC and How Does it Work? Part 1: Understanding CCRCs

In this three-part blog series, attorney Kelly Shovelin of Four Pillars Law Firm discusses Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): What are CCRCs?  How do they work? How do you choose the right CCRC for your needs?

Learn the answers to these questions and more as she covers Understanding CCRCsPaying for a CCRC, and Choosing a CCRC.

Understanding CCRCs

CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities) offer an entire residential continuum, from independent housing to assisted living to round-the-clock skilled nursing facility services, under one “roof”.  In most circumstances, residents pay an entry fee and an adjustable monthly rent in return for the guarantee of care for the rest of their lives.

Because CCRCs maintain an assortment of on-site medical and social services and facilities, residents can enter the community while still relatively healthy and then move on to more intensive care as it becomes necessary.

Nursing care is often located within the CCRC or at a related facility nearby. In addition to health care services, CCRCs also typically provide meals, housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, social activities, and security. Communities range in size from about 100 to 500 living units.

CCRCs are so diverse in their offerings and personalities that the saying in the industry is that “If you’ve seen one CCRC, you’ve seen one CCRC.”  The physical plans of CCRCs run the gamut from urban high-rises to garden apartments to cottage-style cluster homes or single-family homes. Some CCRCs provide units that are designed for people with special medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Most importantly, CCRCs guarantee a life-long place to live. Assisted living and even skilled nursing facilities make no such guarantees.  In fact, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities may ask you to leave if they believe they cannot provide the care you need.  That said, virtually no CCRC will guarantee an individual entry into the skilled nursing facility that is a part of the CCRC.  If the CCRC nursing facility is at full capacity (by either other residents or non-residents), the CCRC may place an ailing resident in another nursing facility in the community, in an effort to ensure the resident receives the level of care needed.

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