How to Find a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Do your elder parents have a continuing care path picked out? If not, here is how to find a solution to ensure their remaining years are happy, healthy and safe.


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    Choose a suitable option. If you are looking for the ideal situation for senior family members, consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC. A Continuing Care Retirement Community is a relaxed, comfortable, and secure environment that offers active senior housing, assisted living and nursing home care all in one place. 55+ communities offer mature living without extended care options.
    • The Continuing Care Retirement Community concept is to provide elderly residents with social and physical care aspects to enable a long and happy existence. When care is required, it is available on a short-term or long-term basis as needed. The goal is to recuperate and return to independent living.
    • For example, when a resident undergoes surgery, they temporarily move into the nursing or assisted living section to receive personalized care and physical rehabilitation aimed at building strength to move back to their independent living section. During the time they are recuperating, their active senior home awaits their return. If they are unable to return to independent living, the move to assisted living or nursing care is seamless, as they remain within the CCRC family.
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    Check out the 55+ communities. These offer conclave settings of individual, one story homes (typically) with community recreational facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and even golf courses in some cases. Restaurants and other meal options are not usually included, but may be, so check what options are available in the community you are researching.
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    Pick a suitable CCRC. Once you have decided that a CCRC is the best choice, the time to move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is when you are healthy enough to live independently and take advantage of the many social and health related activities offered.
    • Residences range from single, detached homes with garages to apartment-style living.
    • Communal facilities often include fitness centers, recreation rooms with pool tables, swimming pools, art studios and dining rooms or restaurants.
    • You buy into the CCRC and own your home, free to make reasonable modifications to truly make it your home.
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    Get additional assistance if needed. The CCRC aims to provide residents with care to enable them to live a dignified and productive life. When residents require assistance with facets of their life, such as dressing, laundry, cooking, managing medications, which they can no longer do for themselves, a cheerful apartment is provided where extra care is available with minimal additional costs.
    • Residents in the Assisted Living area of the community still have their own apartment and are free to come and go as are the folks in the independent living residences.
    • The communal facilities and social activities are still enjoyed by those living in Assisted Living arrangements.
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    Get nursing care if needed. Whether on a short-term or long-term arrangement, CCRC's usually provide their residents with on-site nursing care. There is an additional cost tier for these services. Nursing home residents remain a part of the community because they can visit with their CCRC friends and keep up with community news and activities as they are able.
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    Determine if the CCRC is affordable. There are various financial arrangements from community to community. Generally, there is a one-time fee to hold a space on the waiting list for the residence best matching your needs.
    • These typically range from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand. Once a residence becomes available, the one-time entrance deposit is required. Again, these fees vary depending on size and location within the community.
    • Once moved in, there is a monthly fee that generally covers 1-2 daily meals, general community upkeep, monthly housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments, and basic laundry needs.
    • There are always options to buy additional amenities. These costs will be explained in detail when you visit the CCRC being considered.
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    Time the move. As already stated, the best time to consider moving to a CCRC is when you are healthy. Many seniors find it easier to acclimate to a new lifestyle when they are mentally and physically fit. CCRCs offer many activities and amenities aimed at making active senior life relaxed and enjoyable. Once in a CCRC, you automatically have the extended care options available if and when they are needed.
    • Finding reliable, reputable and affordable extended care options at the time they are needed severely limits your options and adds costs. CCRCs have sprung up everywhere, so it's easy to find communities in desirable retirement locations or close to where you already live and have your ties.
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    Find the right CCRC. There is a wealth of information on the Internet about Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Keep in mind, these are not the same as 55+ Retirement Communities, which do not offer extended care. Many CCRCs are affiliated with religious or fraternal groups. These usually are subsidized and offer pricing benefits. Most CCRCs do not provide costing information on their web sites, but some do. In either case, you will need to make an appointment and visit the community to learn all they have to offer.


  • Care should be taken to protect the dignity of your senior family members when making this type of life decision. This is ultimately their decision to make.
  • Advanced planning is critical because once an elder family member becomes unable to live independently, the options they have become more limited.

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Categories: Aged Care