What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?


A Continuing Care Retirement Community, also known as a CCRC, is a retirement community that provides a continuum of care which includes independent living, assisted living, memory care for individuals struggling with cognitive disabilities and/or skilled nursing care. These levels of care are typically in one building and/or on one campus. The general concept is a retiree can move into a CCRC and any future medical aging needs can be met on one campus. This truly allows aging in place.

It is not uncommon for the community to have a residency process and requirements. Potential residents may need to disclose financial and medical information. This allows the community review the information to confirm they are a good fit for the potential resident and that the resident is a good fit for them.

Many variables can affect the cost of a CCRC. The type of contract they may offer can affect the cost. A popular contract option is a life care contract. An upfront investment (entrance fee) is made for an accommodation of your choice – such as an apartment or a small home. The entrance fee is typically based off of the size of the accommodation you select. A portion of the entrance fee is allocated to cover future cost of your potential healthcare needs. There is also a responsibility to pay a monthly fee, which is typically determined by the size of the unit selected. The monthly fee typically covers utilities, taxes, maintenance, one meal a day, 24 hour security and a medical alert system. The fee and what it covers will vary with each community. The monthly fee, which is paid for the remainder of life, is typically “locked” in and will not change if/when needs change or level of care changes.

Another common contract is a fee for service contract. This type of contract will likely still have an upfront investment (entrance fee) similar to the life care contract, but the biggest difference with a fee for service contract is that the monthly fee will change at the time additional care is needed. For example, if the initial monthly fee in an independent living apartment is $2,000, but a transition is needed to an assisted living apartment, the monthly fee will change to the current monthly fee in assisted living. There are many variables and different types of contracts offered by CCRC’s so research thoroughly to find the community that best suits your financial, medical, spiritual and social needs.