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Four Questions to Ask When Exploring Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

by Amanda Fornecker

A Continuing Care retirement community (CCRC) is not just for seniors who need assistance. Many older adults choose to live in CCRCs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they no longer wish to live in the large house where they raised their now-grown children. Or maybe they desire to move to a new neighborhood where they can socialize with other people their age. No matter what the reason, a CCRC is a great place for older adults to get what they want and need out of life, and take comfort in knowing they have options should their care needs change. The difficult part sometimes, however, is picking which CCRC to spend your years. Here are the top four questions to ask when exploring a CCRC.

1. "What are the people like?"
While the staff may not be able to tell you exactly how you'll fit in, you may be able to get a sense of what the community is like. Brochures can only portray so much, so it's a good idea to try to sit in on some activities or walk around the CCRC to experience it for yourself. Interact with other individuals and ask them questions. See what they have to say about the CCRC and what they like to do in their spare time.

2. "What's this going to cost me?"
So you want to change your location, but how much will this actually cost you? Will it be affordable? CCRCs often incur entrance fees in addition to monthly payments, which can range anywhere from $200 to $2,500, depending on the space in which you live and the CCRC. Some CCRCs can be purchased, while others are rented. Explore your options and see what you are comfortable with financially before jumping into any decision

3. "What living options do you offer?"
Whether you are exploring CCRCs for yourself or an elderly parent, you'll want to know what living options are available. There are usually three options: those where people can live independently; those with some assisted care; and nursing facilities for those who need constant attention. Depending on which option you choose, you'll be placed within an appropriate apartment. Those who live independently usually have a large apartment or cottage, while those who opt for Assisted Living may live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Those who require medical supervision often live in single rooms with a private bathroom.

4. "Can this CCRC cater to my special needs?"
In addition to specific recreational activities that residents may desire, it is important to inquire whether or not the community offers the capability of caring for someone with a condition, such as Alzheimer's disease. Most places will accommodate this need, but it's important to make sure all needs are met before any final decision is made. After all, the contract signed to enter a CCRC is meant to be a lifelong decision for older adults.

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Excellent points. I would add two more items: 1. What are the dining and food options? Food is probably one of the key factors to happiness and good health for my mom. She was able to eat several times in various dining rooms(free) before she chose and signed the contract. 2. Are pets allowed? This is very important to Mom. She has no pets of her own but she has grown to love her neighbors two cats. They give her a great source of calm and comfort. Thank you, Dale http://daleblogg.blogspot.com/ (Transition Aging Parents)
by Dale Carter submitted on Feb 9, 2009



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