How to Choose a CCRC

There is a wide array of options with different types of CCRCs. These residences can range from studio apartments to lavish, three story villas. There are multiple types of contracts, and many different types of amenities at different residences. Here you’ll find some of the most important factors to consider in choosing a CCRC.

Type of Contract

Investigate the type of contracts available. The fees will vary substantially, depending on whether there is a life service or a modified contract. There is a large variation in entrance fees, depending on the area the community is located in and the type of housing available.

Condition of the Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Units

Try to ascertain whether existing residents who require assistance or skilled nursing care are receiving the care and services they need. The residents should seem contented.

There should be an adequate number of staff members to take care of the residents, particularly during the three standard shifts at the assisted living or skilled nursing residence. Ideally, the skilled nursing unit will have specific staff members assigned permanently to each resident so that residents become close and familiar with the individual who would be providing their care.

Each assisted living residence should have floors made of non-slip materials and have bathrooms equipped with handicap grab bars. Check if the doorways are large enough for walkers or wheelchairs. Even if this isn’t a consideration today, it could be later on down the road.

Financial Soundness of the CCRC

Ask to see the yearly financial report of the community. This should be provided gladly to prospective residents as standard protocol. Consider it a red flag if this is not provided. Gauge the occupancy rate. In general, an occupancy rate of greater than 90% is a good indicator of the financial soundness of the CCRC. Check the amount of cash on hand and compare that figure to those of other CCRCs. Find out if the community is owned by a non-profit and determine if the particular CCRC is part of a larger chain. This can be another indicator of financial soundness.

Housing Conditions

Make sure that the homes or apartments have modern amenities such as dishwashers, laundry facilities, and kitchens.  Residents should be able to control the temperature of their domiciles. Determine what modifications can be made to the rooms, such as whether or not you are allowed to choose your own color palette and paint as you see fit.

Dining and Amenities

Determine how many meals a day are provided.  Check the menus to see how varied the meals are, and accept any invitation to enjoy a meal there to taste for yourself.  The community should be able to accommodate special dietary requests, including low-sodium and gluten-free diets.

Find out if there is an additional cost for transportation, and what free transportation is provided. See if there is a calendar of activities and whether or not the types of activities would be of interest to you. Many complexes have their own hair salon, gym, and medical clinic.

General Atmosphere

The residents should seem like they are happy and being well cared for. If residents are happily interacting with one another, this is a very good sign.  Determine how many homes or apartments there are within the community. Some CCRCs are large complexes with several thousand residents, while others are small and intimate with just a few dozen.

Resident’s Association

There should be a Resident’s Association that is responsible for giving a voice to each resident who expresses a concern or would like to see changes or improvements. It is a good idea to meet with a representative to see how the CCRC handles input and feedback from the residents. Since this will be your home, you should expect the resident association to make all reasonable accommodations to ensure your new home is comfortable and pleasant for you.

Staff

Staff members should conduct themselves with professionalism and sincerity, and convey a genuine interest in the wellbeing of all residents.  Determine the credentials of the staff members. Ideally, the CCRC sponsors continuing education classes for its staff, which will allow them to grow professionally and learn about new developments related to memory care and senior assistance in general.  The administrators, and, in particular, the CEO, should have experience working with seniors and in managing long-term care complexes.

Location

Perhaps you prefer a community that is near your family, or maybe you want to relocate to a part of the country with a more favorable climate. Some CCRCs are in urban areas and are like large hotels, while those in more suburban or rural areas may be spread out over larger grounds.

It is also wise to verify that there are stores and churches nearby, and to determine the location of the nearest hospital.

Accreditation

See if the CCRC has been granted accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.  They can be reached at 520-325-1044.

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