A CCRC is the "one-stop shopping" of the retirement world -- a campus-like setting (or an urban high-rise) that offers everything from fine dining, housekeeping, activities and health clubs in independent living units through assisted living and nursing home care all in one place. Some are built near universities and offer an opportunity to enroll in college classes and be surrounded with an academic environment, while others may be located where outdoor activities abound. Whatever the surroundings, most people who have chose these communities have said that a passion for personal growth, along with comfort, security and peace of mind are drew them there.
Besides independent living, assisted living and nursing care in a single setting, an increasing number of CCRCs are also offering Alzheimer’s and dementia care. This tiered approach to the aging process and accommodating changing needs without facing a move can provide a great level of comfort for all involved.
Traditionally, such communities have required a sizable entry fee (ranging anywhere from $200,000 up to $2 million), which may be refunded when they move out or die, depending on the contract. Residents also pay monthly maintenance fees, in exchange for a living unit, meals, and health care coverage, up to the nursing home level – all depending on the contract type. There are three basic types of contracts for CCRCs:
Life Care or Extended Contract: This is the most expensive option, but offers unlimited assisted living, medical treatment and skilled nursing care without additional charges.
Modified Contract: This contract offers a set of services provided for a set length of time. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but for higher monthly fees.
Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at their market rates.
Although CCRCs need to be treated by consumers as a major investment and not just a place to live, they still hold widespread appeal. They promise to alleviate one of the biggest worries facing families with aging loved ones: how to secure, and in many cases pay for, future long-term care.
If you are considering a CCRC, industry groups have come up with dozens of questions to ask to make sure they are financially sound and the right fit for you:
- AARP has a list of questions and things to observe when visiting a community.
- CARF International, which accredits CCRCs, has a free "Consumer Guide to Understanding Financial Performance and Reporting in CCRCs," which is available at their website.
- The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging offers "The Continuing Care Retirement Community: A Guidebook for Consumers." [PDF]
The Terraces, the first, and so far only, life care community in Boise began ground breaking on its 12.6 acre site in October. Located in the Harris Ranch area of southeast Boise, this not-for-profit community will include 150 residential living apartments with underground parking and 12 single-story cottages. There will also be 105 health care residences/suites, including assisted living residences, memory support suites and skilled nursing accommodations. The community will offer fine dining, interior and exterior maintenance, transportation, housekeeping services, fitness and wellness programs, and 24-hour security. Residents will enjoy scenic views of the Boise Foothills, along with hiking and biking trails, parks, the Boise River Greenbelt and a host of nearby recreational opportunities.
As a “life care” model of CCRC, The Terraces provides the highest level of care available. According to Campbell Palfrey, marketing director for The Terraces, the lifestyle and financial security this model will provide older adults is a big draw. “Given the response we’re seeing, there are a lot of people who are clearly interested in what we’re doing here and the long-term security this community will bring them,” said Palfrey.
The entrance fee at The Terraces start at $200,000 with up to 90% refundability. For this entrance fee, and a smaller monthly fee, the resident receives access to their apartment, use of the community’s amenities, and any future assisted living, skilled nursing or memory support care they need. Monthly rates for long-term care are at predictable levels significantly below the street market rate.
Through a common parent, The Terraces of Boise is affiliated with ABHOW, an experienced provider that has been serving seniors since 1949. For more information about ABHOW, visit their website. Or for more information about The Terraces, visit MyTerraces.com.