What Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Seniors these days have more living options than ever before. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also known as a Life Plan Community, offer several levels of care to allow seniors to age in place, which ensures seamless transitions when care needs change over time.

According to the National Caregivers Library, 350,000 seniors live in Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Seniors who choose CCRC usually begin their experience in an Independent Living community and eventually move to different levels of care as needed, all while remaining in the same community. CCRC facilities offer multiple amenities, from group activities to dementia resources. Continuing care facilities give added peace of mind to both the resident and their loved ones.

Here are a few things to consider before choosing a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

What Services Are Available in CCRCs?

CCRCs offer a wide range of health care and supportive services. These may include skilled nursing care, social work, nutrition counseling, assistance with daily activities, and other services. Depending on the community, residents may receive laundry services, housekeeping, and meals at dining centers onsite. Many CCRC communities offer transportation services as well.

Besides offering these basics, most CCRCs offer enriching activities, such as yoga, lifelong learning opportunities, and wellness programs. CCRCs also offer privacy and convenience, while continuing to offer social activities, so seniors can live comfortably in a peaceful, friendly environment.

Find out more about what’s included in a senior living community.

What’s the Difference Between CCRCs and Assisted Living?

Among the choices to make when considering retirement living is the level of care desired. This choice highlights the differences between CCRCs and Assisted Living.

Assisted Living care exists between the self-sufficiency of Independent Living communities and the more specialized needs of skilled nursing communities. Assisted Living communities offer many of the same services as a CCRC, such as help with daily living activities like dining, dressing, bathing, and other activities. But because they focus on one senior population, their care services can be limited. For example, they may not have medical services in their communities.

In contrast, CCRCs will typically have medical team members in the community. CCRCs also provide a range of care for seniors depending on their needs. Seniors who need little care can start with more independent services and move along the scale as their care needs grow.

One of the biggest benefits of living in CCRCs is the opportunity to age in place. Instead of moving to a different location as care needs change, CCRCs continue to provide new services as seniors require them. This means that seniors don’t need to be put through the stress of moving again, getting acclimated to a new environment or leaving their new friends behind. They can be surrounded with familiar faces in a familiar setting, which is an especially important option for those with cognitive impairments.



Who Should Choose a CCRC?

CCRCs are an excellent choice for seniors who wish to remain independent as long as possible but who understand that their needs may eventually change.

If a senior’s needs grow as time passes, they can stay in familiar surroundings to obtain the kind of care they require, instead of moving to a new community to obtain the needed care. Their CCRC facilities can accommodate them while allowing them to remain in place comfortably. This allows them to avoid the burdens of property maintenance, personal safety, and loneliness that seniors may experience when living in a typical housing situation.

There may be age requirements implemented by individual CCRCs, so seniors and their families should explore each community under consideration.

Learn some of the best reasons to live in a retirement community.

What Should a Senior Ask When Looking for a CCRC?

Options and amenities may seem overwhelming for seniors and their families when selecting a CCRC. This can leave important questions unasked and unanswered. Here are some important questions to ask Continuing Care Retirement Communities:

  1. What services and amenities are covered in the monthly fee?
  2. How does this community help residents maintain their freedom and independence?
  3. Does this community have adequate emergency response systems in place?
  4. How do you measure the satisfaction of your residents?
  5. Do your residents have ways to provide input and feedback to the community?
  6. How do you support aging in place?
  7. What are the policies for transitioning to different levels of care?
  8. What are some popular programs in your community and who decides what goes into programming and events?

Seniors and their loved ones should use these questions to determine whether the care community can meet their needs. AARP offers a Long-Term Care Worksheet to keep track of options, needs, wants, finances and more when exploring your care options.

Connect with a Retirement Community Today

Senior Lifestyle offers many different lifestyle options, including CCRCs, which can simplify your search for just the right fit. Our care options offer the social settings, vibrant activities, and welcoming spaces designed to delight residents and their families. Reach out to a community near you today.


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For more information on retirement and senior housing options, reach out to a Senior Lifestyle community near you.