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Finding senior living for yourself or a loved one can seem like a daunting task. Knowing where to start, what questions to ask, or how to determine which community is right for you are all things we can help with.

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What Is A Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (also known as CCRCs and Life Plan Communities) are retirement communities that provide a continuum of services and care for seniors as they age, ranging from independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. Typically, CCRCs are designed to be like large campuses or resorts with multiple buildings and amenities. Independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing are often separated into dedicated sections of the campus or building. In the US, there are over 2000 such communities with as many as 100 more by the end of 2019.

Retirement Communities v. Assisted Living/Nursing Homes

It is not uncommon for people to misunderstand the differences between a retirement community and an assisted living community or nursing home. Here are the major differences between them:

Forget Aging Gracefully — Age Successfully!

The MacArthur Foundation’s landmark ten-year study in 1998 showed that 70% of how we physically age, and 50% of how we mentally age are determined by the lifestyle choices that we make. It was this study that sought to break the stereotypes that equate aging to sickness, senility, slowness, weakness, and that longevity is predetermined by genetics.

Different Types of Retirement Communities

For many active, independent seniors, there are several retirement community options to consider but keeping track of different types can often become confusing. Below are six factors to help you understand the key differences.

What to Consider When Evaluating a CCRC

Choosing to sign a Life Care contract and move into a Continuing Care Retirement Community is an enormous decision that will  impact the quality and security of your life in retirement. Since it is generally something people only ever do once in their lives, most know nothing about the evaluation process at its outset. To help you navigate your decision-making and give you greater confidence you have made the right decision in the end, we have created a list of questions to consider asking.

Senior Living Options Today

Long gone are the days when senior housing conjured up images of living alone at home or moving into nursing home facilities that felt more like hospitals for the old.

Since the late 1980s, the concept of senior housing has evolved from medical care for the elderly to one of providing services to allow the aging to live with more independence. And in the last two decades, that concept has further evolved to accommodate lifestyle and quality of life choices, focusing not just on senior “living” but “living well.”

Understanding the Costs of CCRCs

While CCRCs offer the most comprehensive retirement option for seniors, they have the most complicated contracts and are the most expensive.

Here are the two primary cost components to consider:

Entrance fee also known as a “buy-in”. This is a one-time entry fee based on the size and location of the residence, as well as the type of residency care contract you choose. (More on that later.) The fee can range anywhere from $50K to even over $1M. The fee will be used to cover the costs of your growing care needs as well as providing funds for the community to operate.

What is “Aging in Place”?

“Aging in place” is a term used to describe a person’s ability to remain in their home or community of choice for as long as possible, even as their needs for assistance and health care grow and change with age.

According to a recent AARP survey of people aged 65 and over, about 90% of seniors want to age in place.

Finding The Senior Living Option That's Right For You

One might feel overwhelmed by the breadth of senior living choices available today. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help guide you to the right option.

Can you live independently or do you need assistance?

Determining how much physical help you need to live daily is the first thing to consider. Are you active and independent? Or, do you need assistance with some daily activities like managing medication, bathing, or dressing? Are there any health and mobility concerns you are facing?

If you need assistance, do you need medical or non-medical care?