Making the Transition - Tips to Know Before Moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community
◉ Residents who are interested in moving to a CCRC tend to plan ahead. This article will discuss when the best time to consider moving to a CCRC is and tips about what to do if your CCRC of choice has a long wait list.
CCRC Residents Tend To Plan Ahead
CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community also known as a LifePlan community) residents are planners who do indeed plan ahead. They move to a CCRC before any higher levels of care are needed. Another set of people plan a bit less ahead. They wait until some assisted living care is needed and then hurry up to obtain that care as soon as possible. Both styles may be successful but planning ahead is often a better way to go about important life decisions.
Move To A CCRC When You Are In Good Health
Don't wait until you need assisted or nursing care before you aim to move to a CCRC. By that time it may very well be "too late" to make the move. Ideally you should move into a CCRC when you are in good health and can move into an independent living unit. The health qualification process of a CCRC aims to make sure you are in good shape to come to the community in independent living status.
CCRC Waiting Lists Can Be Common
Popular CCRCs may have a waiting list and the size the the list may be significant. We know of several CCRCs with multi year waiting lists and know of one with a ten year waiting list due to extreme demand. Smart CCRCs will turn long waiting lists into good reasons to expand and build a new campus, but this is not always a financial option for the CCRC. Even if a CCRC has a waiting list there may be no waiting list for a very small or less desirable unit on campus. This may or may not be advertised as part of the wait list time.
Long CCRC Wait List Strategies
If your first choice CCRC has a long wait list (of several years) ask if there are any small studio units available. Often times the small size of studio units make them unpopular so the wait list, if any, for these units is small. You might be able to work out a deal where you occupy a small studio unit until a larger unit becomes available. This way you integrate into the campus early and have access to common areas rather then spending your wait list time outside the community. You may be able to negotiate a good waiting position from inside the community versus waiting on the outside.
Paying The CCRC Early
Some CCRCs allow you to pay for at-home care or future care even though you do not live on the CCRC campus. Such arrangements allow you to use the common facilities (cafeteria, gym, common rooms, etc) when you visit campus and so you can join the community from afar. Sometimes this membership takes place with CCRCs that have long waiting lists. We know of one CCRC with a 10 year waiting list so long wait times do happen. Being a member of a community at a distance can still allow you to access some of the CCRC experience and make friends while setting you up to be a future resident member on campus.
CCRC At Home
"CCRC at home" is one option you may consider if you are not ready to leave your home or if your CCRC has a long waiting list. With "CCRC at home" you get some of the features of living at the CCRC on campus without living there. You also probably have access to the common areas such as the cafeteria, gym, and game rooms. Some "CCRC at home" options allow you to upgrade to living at the campus when a spot opens up or when you are ready to move. "CCRC at home" with an entrance fee is sweet money to the CCRC. You pay a large up front fee but take up no permanent space living on the campus. Keep this in mind if you plan to negotiate this option. Also ask what medical care, if any, you would qualify for with "CCRC at home".
People who choose to move to a CCRC should plan ahead and apply when they are in good health, because it is common for there to be a wait list to move in. If there is a long waitlist there are other options you can do in the mean time such as "CCRC at home" and paying the CCRC early for services in your home.