Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Philadelphia

Moving to a Continuing Care
Retirement Community (CCRC)

A swimming pool, bowling alley, billiards, fitness center, entertainment, beautiful gardens, social and recreational programs, trips, fine restaurant dining, new friends, pleasant & accommodating staff, housekeeping and laundry services, 24 hour security, plus so much more…Are you on a cruise? No, you are living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC! Living in a CCRC means care-free living in a secure environment. Best of all, residents and their families have peace of mind knowing that care and supportive services are available no matter how their healthcare needs change over time.

What is a CCRC?

A Continuing Care Retirement Community offers a wide array of programs and services in one location. It has Independent Living apartments for those who need no or little assistance. Personal Care/Assisted Living services are available for those who need some help with bathing, dressing, medication management, and a more structured environment. Specialized memory care may also be available. A Skilled Nursing Center is provided for those who require the most care or rehabilitation. A Rehabilitation Center provides short term therapy to assist each resident in their recovery from a hospital stay. The goal for this unit is to build the resident’s strength and skill level so they may return to their previous living situation.

Having several levels of care on one site provides you with the security of knowing that you will have a home for life. You will always be taken care of and never have to move to a new environment and leave all your friends and familiar staff should you need more assistance in the future. This feature is especially important to couples. Should one of them need a higher level of care, the other can easily visit them any time of day. They can spend quality time together socializing, dining and engaging in activities while receiving the care that they need.

A scientific study conducted between 2002 and 2003 by Dr. Margaret A. Wylde’s ProMatura Group found that seniors who live in Continuing Care Retirement Communities are more satisfied with their daily lives and are more likely to be happier than their contemporaries who remain in their own homes. The social, recreational, and volunteer programs offered at CCRC’s provide seniors with many opportunities to meet new friends, experience new activities and have a feeling of self worth. Dr. Wylde’s study also found that CCRC residents were more likely to report that their current health status was better than it had been in the previous two years, as compared with seniors who remained in their own homes. I often hear residents say after they have settled in, “I should have moved here sooner.”

Communities vary in cost and amenities so it is important for you to visit several and compare the services offered and the fees charged. Speak with current residents and family members.

Ask your self these questions:

  1. Is the community accredited?

  2. Is the community an appealing place for me to live?

  3. Does the fee include the services I want?

  4. Does the community meet my needs?

One of the primary benefits of moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community is financial. Again, community policies vary, so you must get specific information from each community. Generally, this is how it works: You pay an up-front entrance fee and then you have a monthly fee. In many communities, this monthly fee covers most of your services and amenities. As you need more assistance, you may move through the continuum of care. Residents of CCRC’s have priority to these services over someone who does not live in the community. Complete your own cost-analysis by comparing the cost of living in the CCRC community of your choice to the current cost of maintaining your own home--you will see the benefit of living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community! Should you deplete your savings, Continuing Care Retirement Communities may have financial programs to assist you to stay in your current setting.

So, throw away your shovel, lawn mower, and maintenance tools! The song title, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” comes to mind. Let the community’s staff attend to your needs so you have more time to enjoy the things you love and maybe find new interests and new friends.

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