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What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

Seniors are living longer than ever before. In 2011 the United States reached a milestone as the first wave of Baby Boomers reached retirement age. Thankfully, today’s adults frequently reach their senior years with their health intact.  Among people over 70, the vast majority of those surveyed by the National Council on Aging said that it was easy to live independently. A 2011 MetLife survey of baby boomers revealed that 85% of the senior Baby Boomers surveyed reported their health as being good, very good, or excellent. Among residents in senior housing, over 50% rated their health as about the same or better than two years prior.

Housing options have changed to reflect the needs and wishes of this new generation of senior retirees – your generation. You may wish to downsize, yet retain a great deal of independence, something that was not always possible in traditional retirement homes in years past.

Enjoying Today…Planning for the Future

Continuous Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a unique opportunity to enjoy independent living while taking into account the possibility that in the future you may need more advanced care. These communities are designed to offer a full continuum of care as residents age, placing independent living, assisted living, and advanced nursing care all in one location. And this is all done in accordance with a model that makes efficient use of existing savings, insurance, and real estate assets.

CCRCs are groups of homes or apartments in which those 62 or older can enjoy an independent lifestyle. This arrangement involves living in an apartment or detached house, while having basic care such as housekeeping and meals taken care of. Such arrangements offer the unique opportunity to join a senior community as a healthy, independent adult with the knowledge that any changes in your health, or the health of your spouse, will be able to be easily accommodated.

All CCRCs are not the same, and there is a tremendous variety from which to choose in terms of location, layout, size, culture, religious affiliation and more. In fact, based on a 2010 report there are more than 1850 such communities in the United States. Some seniors prefer the lively energy of large communities that include many people who have a great diversity of backgrounds, while others prefer smaller, more intimate and tight-knit communities.

Why CCRCs Make Sense

After time passes, if need be, CCRCs provide assisted living or skilled nursing care to those residents whose health has changed such that they require more assistance with daily tasks or more advanced medical care. As needed, this can include memory care for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

To accommodate a situation where one spouse requires more advanced care than another, memory care or advanced nursing care units are located on the same campus or in the same complex as the independent living facilities. Spouses can readily visit each other, and the occupants of these units remain close to their friends who are still enjoying independent or basic assisted living.

Here you’ll find the answers to all the questions you’re likely to have as you consider the Continuous Care Retirement Community that’s right for you.

This guide describes the structure and function of CCRCs, along with tips on how to choose from the many options out there.

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