What Is A Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (also known as CCRCs and Life Plan Communities) are retirement communities that provide a continuum of services and care for seniors as they age, ranging from independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. Typically, CCRCs are designed to be like large campuses or resorts with multiple buildings and amenities. Independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing are often separated into dedicated sections of the campus or building. In the US, there are over 2000 such communities with as many as 100 more by the end of 2019.

Individuals or couples can enter a CCRC as active, independent seniors. Communities will provide an enormous array of amenities such as fully equipped fitness centers, pools, tennis courts, and/or golf courses, along with activities and events to delight their residents.

As the personal and medical needs of residents change, the community would provide the necessary level of services, on-site. Couples who have different levels of care needs can still be in the same community. Knowing that they can be cared for till the end provides residents and their families peace of mind, both in terms of care and finances.

While CCRCs are the most comprehensive retirement option for seniors, it is also the most complicated and the most expensive. Those interested in living at a CCRC must provide proof of financial resources along with a large, one-time entrance fee, ranging anywhere from $50K to over $1M. A life-care contract will be required and depending on the type of contract, the entrance fee can be higher or lower. Once moved in, the resident then pays a monthly maintenance fee to cover the cost of care, services, meals, and activities - typically ranging from $2000-6000, depending on the community and its offerings and the level of care required. (For more info, click here.)

A CCRC may be an excellent option if a senior:

  • is a planner and likes to know that everything is guaranteed to be taken care of
  • does not want to burden their family or does not have any family to manage whatever health care issues may come up in the future
  • is part of a couple with potentially different care needs
  • wants to age in place