What are Continuing Care Retirement Communities?
Continuum of care allows seniors to transition through different levels of care while remaining at the same facility or campus, often times at a discounted price. Continuum of care is also referred to as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or lifetime communities. Campuses that offer continuum of care usually provide services in each of the following fields:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care
Find Continuum of Care Retirement Communities Near You
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Asheville, North Carolina
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
Charleston, South Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Corpus Christi, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Lexington , Kentucky
Los Angeles, California
Miami / SE Florida, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York City, New York
Oklahoma City , Oklahoma
Salt Lake City, Utah
San Antonio, Texas
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Services Provided By CCRC's
Many seniors are interested in and use continuum of care because it offers the senior the assurance that they will be taken care of well even if their health were to deteriorate. As a senior ages or their health changes, they are able to move easily through the different levels of care that is provided. As well as the different levels of care, continuum of care campuses also provided seniors with:
- Private or Semi-Private Rooms
- Residence Maintenance
- Social Activities Based on the Senior’s Abilities
- Health/emergency call monitoring
Some services do offer home care, rehabilitation and physical therapy, and hospice care. Each provider of care is different, and different states have different laws, so be sure to look in your area to find out exactly what continuum of care will provide for you or a senior you love. Living spaces can include cottages, houses, townhouses or apartments depending on the community.
What are the Different Levels in the Continuum of Care
Some people like to think of continuum of care in different phases. This breaks the level of care into three different phases; early, middle, and late stages.
Lowest Level of Care
- Home health aide, nonmedical home care, housekeeping, meal preparation, etc.
- Independent living
Middle Level of Care
- Adult day care
- Assisted living
- Increased home health aide care
Highest Level of Care
- Nursing Home also known as Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care
- Hospice Care
- Extended Hospital Stay
Cost of Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Every continuum of care community has different costs, but most of them start with a contract, an entrance fee, and then a monthly maintenance bill. Some communities have an entrance fee as low as $20,000, but some can be as expensive as $500,000. Just as the entrance fee is variable, so is the monthly bill. Some can be as low as a couple of a hundred a month, and some are a couple of thousand. Expect the monthly rate to increase 3-5% every year.
Here is a checklist of everything that should be included in the contract:
- Insurance requirements
- Services provided
- Cancellations and refunds
- Health care coverage
- Fee schedules
- Different resident options
- Conditions for transfer to a different level of care within the community
- Information retrieved from AARP
Every contract should be reviewed by an elder law attorney before it is signed. Most communities are honest, but entering a continuum of care community is a big commitment that is not cheap. It is better safe than sorry.
3 Contract Schedule Options
- Extensive Contracts- This is the most expensive but it guarantees the senior unlimited access to health care with little monthly change in cost.
- Modified Contracts- Seniors pay for health care as needed and the bill is adjusted accordingly. Often health care is offered at a discounted price.
- Fee-for Service Contracts- This is the cheapest option to begin, but it can be the most expensive if a senior’s health requires extensive health care. The senior pays for each health service separately and individually.
Questions and Concerns
- Here are some questions and concerns to keep in mind when you are looking for continuum of care.
- How well is the staff trained? Do they have a memory care section? Are the staff specially trained for this?
- What is the staff to senior ratio? Just like school, a smaller ratio usually means the senior is receiving better care.
- Is the facility clean, well maintained, and safe?
- Does the environment match the senior? The senior will be living there permanently, they should enjoy the facility, staff, dining options, etc.
- How does a senior transition levels of care? Do they or the family have any say?