Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are unique because they offer a full range of living arrangements for their residents – independent housing, assisted living/adult care facility and nursing home – within one community. This allows a person to enter the independent housing facility and, as their care needs increase, the services provided by the CCRC are increased without the person having to move out of the community. This also allows couples to remain in close proximity to one another.
Residents pay an entrance fee and monthly charges out of their own funds and/or from long term care insurance benefits. In exchange, they have guaranteed access to the entire range of services provided in the community. By guaranteeing access to services for a person’s remaining lifetime in exchange for payment, a type of CCRC called a “life care community” also provides an insurance product that makes them subject to the laws and regulations of the New York State Department of Financial Services, in addition to the Department of Health.
CCRCs are an attractive alternative to many seniors, since they provide security in knowing that the resident’s future health care and other needs will be met by the same organization, and that the monthly fee remains predictable even if the level of services needed changes. This allows a resident to budget for the cost over time.
In 2004, the New York State Legislature approved the development of a limited number of fee-for-service CCRCs that offer the same services as other CCRCs, although residents pay a daily rate for each level of care that can increase or decrease based on changes in the resident’s service needs.
When deciding on a particular CCRC for services, consider asking the following questions:
• What are your current living expenses vs. the costs of the retirement community?
• Is there a policy that allows a refund of the entrance fee in the event that you leave the community?
• How long has the CCRC been in business? How about the organization that operates it?
• What services are included in the monthly fee? What services are offered for an additional change?
• What kind of health care is available on-site (physicians, dentists, clinic, etc.)?
• What activity programs, educational opportunities and transportation services are available?
• What opportunities are there for involvement through resident councils?