Understanding Continuing Care Retirement Communities

As Healthcare Costs Rise, Here Is What You Need to Know about CCRCs

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a living option for older adults who prefer to live independently, but want to be prepared for any possible changes in the future. CCRCs differ from other retirement community options in that they give residents the provision to increase their level of service/care as they grow older. These communities offer varying levels of support for older adults, allowing them the privilege of aging in one place, instead of being uprooted each time their needs and abilities change.

How does a CCRC work?

Most of us prefer to maintain our independence for as long as possible, but this is dependent on how much we can do for ourselves. A CCRC is first and foremost a vibrant community of peers, with social activities, hobbies and classes, social dining options, and more. Where CCRCs separate themselves from other retirement communities, however, is that when residents’ healthcare needs or even ability to live alone changes, they can receive additional care while remaining on the same campus or perhaps even in their same home.

This is because the services available in CCRCs range from independent senior living to assisted living and skilled nursing care. You can also get emergency medical assistance, bathing and hygiene assistance, housekeeping services, errands, activities and outings, and transportation services. Basically, everything an older adult needs to age in place (i.e. without needing to relocate) is available at a CCRC. When your level of need changes, the services administered change with it, with no increase in cost based solely on an increase in need.

Benefits of CCRCs

CCRCs provide the greatest peace of mind to older adults and their loved ones, providing all-inclusive housing options. Because of the varying service degrees, CCRCs offer the greatest freedom for those who wish to age in place. Some of their benefits include:

CCRCs provide the greatest peace of mind to older adults and their loved ones, providing all-inclusive housing options


Joining a community allows senior residents to always have company in their golden years – both neighbors and care providers. As such, your family members have peace of mind in knowing residents have help, friendship, and emotional support while maintaining their independence.

Click here to read about the importance of socializing as we age.

All-Inclusive Services

CCRCs offer more than you can get from your typical retirement homes. Services include home care, healthcare, and emergency medical interventions as needed. Common areas and group activities help residents to pass time doing what they love.

Click here to read how to stay healthy after retirement.

Aging in Place

Even though you don’t need all the care options at the CCRC on entry, your needs will change over time. Instead of relocating when this happens, you can simply enlist to receive these services while maintaining the space, environment, and friends you’re already accustomed to. Such options aren’t available with other senior living arrangements.

What is the difference between CCRC and assisted living?

You have complete control over the kind of lifestyle you or your loved one will have at a CCRC. You have the freedom to design your lifestyle based on your present needs, with a simple option to transition smoothly as your needs change.

You have complete control over the kind of lifestyle you or your loved one will have at a CCRC.

Here are some of the aforementioned options in more detail:

Independent Living

This option is for residents who want to and are able to live without help for day-to-day activities. In the CCRC environment, they gain from having support and company nearby, and they can enjoy planned common activities or other fun options. Residents can still get help with household chores, errands, transportation, and other things they need.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is available for seniors who are not able to live independently, but don’t need medical assistance. Assisted living care is provided by non-licensed caregivers, and they help with items such as hygiene (showering and getting dressed), eating, moving around, using the bathroom, and getting up from the bed.

Skilled Nursing

Skilled nursing care is only offered by registered nurses and they must be supervised by a doctor. Residents who have medical problems may require skilled nursing care intermittently or permanently depending on their physical condition. Some examples include physical/occupational therapy, catheter care, IV injections/drug administration, and wound care, among others.

Is CCRC Care Right for Me?

If you’re wondering whether a CCRC is right for you or your loved one, you must think beyond present needs. Often, older adults and their families consider only their present needs, with no plans to cater to changing needs over time. This can become costly, if healthcare needs are added services and thus added expenses, or can cause disruption by being uprooted from your current home to move to a facility with more care.

This is why the CCRC model emerges superior to other alternatives – you get the level of care you need at any given time. Should you need additional services, they are available upon request, and you can scale back once you feel better without having to relocate.

Choosing any senior care option isn’t a decision that is made easily. You must assess yourself honestly using the following questions:

  • Do you want to live independently, but in a community of people around your own age?

  • Is it necessary for you to have medical personnel on hand? Why?

  • Do you want a place where you don’t have to move again, even if your needs change?

  • Can you afford to maintain your current home, or would you like that burden lifted?

  • Can you afford the cost of living in a community where you can receive the services you need?

  • What is your future medical plan, and how do you handle emergencies?

  • Can you afford the upfront fees to join a CCRC?

If your answer to most of these questions is yes, then a CCRC will suit your needs very well. There are various types of contracts according to the level of care you need.

Click here to read does a CCRC make sense for you?

Take Time to Prepare for Your Future

Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer excellent living options for older adults of various ages. The greatest advantage is the security of knowing that you can age in place while receiving all the care you need regardless of how your needs change. You can get everything from independent living to skilled nursing care and more.

The cost of CCRCs varies according to the company or individuals in charge, as well as the amenities, activities, and level of care offered. You can find everything from basic-care CCRCs to luxury options. If you’re thinking about CCRC care, visit at least three communities and assess their suitability before making your final decision.

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