What is a CCRC? What is a Life Plan Community?

A CCRC or continuing care retirement community is a senior living community that offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care, all on the same campus — sometimes in the same building. Some CCRCs, like Sedgebrook, also offer memory care. So what’s the benefit of having access to a full continuum of health services for residents of a CCRC, also known as a Life Plan Community, when choosing the right retirement community for your needs?

For most residents, peace of mind is number one. They know that if they or their spouse needs more care than is provided in their independent living residence, they can get it without having to move away from the community. They may have to move to a different building on campus, but they’ll be in a place they know just a short walk from their spouse.

Life Plan Communities like Sedgebrook make the transition to higher levels of care easy, especially when you consider the alternative: having to move to an unfamiliar community where a comparable living situation may not be available.
At a CCRC or Life Plan Community, you can stay close to the people you love, and your children can rest easy. You won’t be a burden to your family because you’ll have a plan in place for whatever the future might bring. In the meantime, you can make the most of each day because the best Life Plan Communities offer a never-ending variety of activities to make life healthier and happier.

What Services Do CCRCs Provide?

CCRCs are designed for you to move to the community while you are still active and independent. If at some point in the future your health needs change, you can get the health services you need without having to make a move elsewhere in a hurry.

Let’s take a closer look at the levels of living a Life Plan Community provides:

Independent Living — Residents in independent living generally live in apartments or townhomes equipped with all the comforts of home. A maintenance-free lifestyle, along with wellness programs, casual and fine dining, social outings, classes, cultural events and other activities offer residents opportunities for continued growth and enjoyment.

Assisted Living — Caregivers provide care similar to what you’d find in any assisted living community, including reminding you to take medications as prescribed, or helping you with dressing, bathing, toileting and other activities of daily living. Some CCRCs offer assistance in your independent living residence, while others ask you to move to a new apartment within a dedicated assisted living neighborhood.

Skilled Nursing — This is the highest level of care provided in a CCRC. Residents with chronic conditions but who don’t need to be hospitalized can get the round-the-clock care they need from a highly trained team of nurses, doctors and health care practitioners. In addition to long-term skilled nursing, Sedgebrook offers short-term in-patient rehabilitation in a comfortable, healing setting at Radford Green, our 5-Star-rated health and rehabilitation center.

Memory Care — Some but not all CCRCs offer memory care. These neighborhoods are designed to enhance the quality of life for residents in a safe, supportive setting. Staff receive specialized training in caring for people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. At Sedgebrook, we offer memory care at our 5-Star, top-rated Radford Green health center.

The Fee Structure of a CCRC

There are two financial components with most CCRCs: the entrance fee and the monthly fee.

Entrance Fee

Also known as a buy-in or admission payment, the entrance fee is a one-time, upfront fee you pay to move into the independent living part of a Life Plan Community. It varies depending on the size of the residence you choose, and whether it will be just you or you and your spouse living in that residence. A portion of the entrance fee may be refundable, depending on the type of contract a CCRC offers.

Monthly Fee

A monthly service fee covers the services and amenities associated with living at the community. The amount you pay depends on the size of your residence, how many people live there, and the range of services and amenities available to you in your level of living, such as:

  • Maintenance inside and outside your residence
  • Housekeeping services
  • Utilities (usually excluding internet and telephone)
  • Scheduled transportation to events, shopping, medical appointments
  • 24-hour security and emergency response systems
  • Dining plans
  • Access to fitness center (Sedgebrook, for example, has an indoor heated pool and 24-hour fitness center)
  • Full calendar of activities, events, classes, club meetings, outings and more

The ABCs of CCRC Contracts

There are three primary types of contracts you may encounter in your research.

Type A, aka Life Care

This contract promises to care for residents for the rest of their lives without significantly increasing their monthly fees. Type A contracts offer peace of mind but come with a higher entrance fee. Monthly service packages may also be higher. With Life Care, you could end up paying for care you never use.

Type B, Modified Life Care

With this contract, you’ll pay your one-time entrance fee and your monthly service fee just like at a Type A community. However, the monthly fee for higher levels of care is structured differently. Typically, the contract provides either 1) a limited number of free days of health services with additional care charged at per diem market rates, or 2) an ongoing minimally discounted rate for health services.

Type C, Fee-for-Service

The Type C CCRC contract provides access to a lifetime of amenities and services. Entrance fees and monthly service packages are typically lower than those required with Type A and Type B contracts. At a fee-for-service community like Sedgebrook, you pay market rates for health services, but you pay only for services when and if you need them.

Signs It’s Time to Look for a CCRC

If you’re reading this, it’s a good indication that now is the time to start looking at CCRCs. Ideally, you want to move to a community while you’re still active and able to take advantage of all the amenities and services designed to make life enjoyable.

The best CCRCs fill up quickly, so it’s important to start your search early. While you wait for your desired floor plan to become available, you’ll have time to prepare for your move, sell your home and get to know your new neighbors at special depositor events at the community.

  1. Home maintenance becomes a burden — Plumbing problems, roof leaks, appliance replacement and property taxes add up to a costly headache. When maintaining your home outweighs the pleasure you get from living in it, it’s time for a change.
  2. You’re on your own — Social isolation and loneliness can have a detrimental effect on your health. A CCRC gives you privacy but if you want to be social, you’ll have opportunities to meet new people, make new friends and connect with others.
  3. You want stability — Choosing a CCRC means you won’t have to move to a new community every time your health needs change. Assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehab are all available in the same community, where you’re comfortable and among friends.
  4. You want safety — A fall or injury at home can derail your plans for an active, independent lifestyle. At a CCRC, you’ll be in an environment designed for the safety and security of residents. In addition to physical safeguards, staff regularly check in on residents, and residents can call for help at any hour using the emergency call system. At Sedgebrook, we provide security 24/7/365 and security staff are EMT-certified.

Questions? We’re Here to Help

If you want to know more about CCRCs, we can provide expert answers. We work with seniors and their families every day to help them understand the benefits of a Life Plan Community like Sedgebrook so they can feel confident in their choice for senior living. To learn more, call us at (847) 876-2109 or send us your question using our Contact Us form.

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