Continuing Care Communities

Continuing care communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities, CCRCs or life care communities, offer an alternative to the typical independent living community.

Continuing care communities are unique in that they provide multiple levels of long-term care, from assisted living to skilled nursing, all in one location. This allows seniors to age in place, receiving all the services they need without the hassle of moving later in life.

The Cost of Continuing Care Communities

Compared to other kinds of senior housing, the cost of continuing care can seem much more expensive, especially at the time of move in. However, because continuing care communities guarantee a lifetime of services over a long period of time, overall costs may actually come out less than other types of senior living.

There are five main costs associated with continuing care communities:

  • Entrance fees – This is often the largest expense associated with continuing care communities because it pre-pays the cost of all future healthcare services upfront at the time of move-in.
  • Buy-in fees – This fee covers the cost of purchasing a housing unit at a continuing care community. Some communities don’t require this, but others that do operate similarly to condominiums and allow residents to buy and sell their own units.
  • Monthly fees – these fees cover regular living expenses such as food, housekeeping and activities.
  • Service fees – some communities may charge additional fees for a la carte services such as transportation, meals or beauty services.
  • Additional fees – this covers all other expenses of day-to-day living such as utilities, cable and phone service.

Contracting With Continuing Care Communities

Because continuing care communities offer a wide range of care services over a lifetime, many communities draw up contracts that spell out what services will be provided and what a resident can expect to receive during their stay.

There are three general types of contracts that communities offer:

  • Type-A (Extended) Contract – This type of contract ensures lifetime care at a set monthly fee even if the care level changes over time. In other words, if a senior needs to upgrade to assisted living in the future, the monthly fee agreed upon at move-in will not change. The monthly fee for type-A service will be a little higher compared to other types of contracts, however it offers the assurance that fees will stay the same even in extreme cases where extensive nursing care is needed.
  • Type-B (Modified) Contract – This type of contract offers a fixed monthly fee for independent living and covers only a limited period of assisted living or skilled nursing care. Once a resident exceeds the agreed upon number of days of covered service, they will be required to pay a daily rate to cover the cost of additional care.
  • Type-C (Fee-for Service) Contract – This contract is also called a simple renting contract. It guarantees a relatively low monthly fee for independent living. However, should a senior require assisted living or skilled nursing care, they will be charged daily fee for any care services.

Find Continuing Care Communities

Continuing care communities are a great option for recently retired seniors who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will be able to live out their lives in the same place. Our comprehensive directory can help you Find Continuing Care across the United States.

Written by senior housing writer Jacqui Howell.

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