What Are Continuing-Care Retirement Communities (CCDRs)?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are retirement communties that are designed to provide flexible alternatives to retirement homes. They provide as much care as the retirees need, serving as either active living, assisted living or skilled nursing homes. If the retirees' health gets worse and they require more care, the level of care can be adjusted accordingly without requiring them to move anywhere or change their lifestyle any more than they have to. CCRCs tend to be more expensive than many other retirement living options, but they provide security and flexibility few other retirement housing options can match.

Understanding Continued Care Retirment Communities

As a person gets older, their health tends to deteriorate. Diet, exercise and healthy living can partially mitigate the deterioration, but the aging process is a process of life. Older adults are more likely to require frequent care and assistance.

Traditionally, retirement housing provided just that. The traditonal nursing homes provided round-a-clock, hands-on care. Assisted living facilities provide the more hands-off care. Retirees get to live on their own in apartment-like units, but on-site staff administers their medications and assists them in their day-to-day tasks. On-site medical facilities and resources allow them to get the treatment they need.

The Continued Care Retirement Communities are designed to combine the best features of all retirement housing options and ensure that retirees can transition from one to another without much difficulty should their health require it. When retirees move into a CCRC, they can take comfort in knowing that no matter how bad their health may get, they will receive adequate care.

Three Levels of CCRC Care

CCRC services are divided into three levels of care; independent living, assisted living, and nursing care. The independent living level of care isn't much different from what one can expect to get from living in an ordinary apartment building. Residents can participate in community activities and take advantage in on-site medical services if they need to. Assisted living level of care provides more hands-on care. The care tends to be customized to fit each retiree's needs. Finally, the nursing care provides the same level of round-a-clock care, very similar to a nursing home, except you are not required to actually move.

The retirees are moved between levels as their health requires. Unless they are judged mentally incapable of making independant decisions, they usually cannot be moved without consent.

Joining a CCRC

First and foremost, retirees need to be able to live independently in order to join a CCRC. A retiree and CCRC administration signs a contract that guarantees that the retiree will receive medical services for a certain period of time. It can be anywhere between one year and the retiree's lifetime. The contract can be extended as necessary. Retirees are free to opt out if they so choose to, but they may not be able to get a full refund.