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Anyone here living in a continuing care community?
Old 03-01-2015, 08:31 PM   #1
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Anyone here living in a continuing care community?

My parents are about to move into the independent living level at a CCRC. What are the pros and cons? (Other than finances, we've got that part figured out so I'm not asking for financial comments here.)


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Old 03-01-2015, 09:19 PM   #2
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My parents moved into a CCRC 14 years ago while in their late 70s/early 80s.

They loved going to the 'restaurant' for their brunch or dinner and not having to cook any longer. They also loved having plenty of people around to chat with, the onsite library, the different groups of people available to play bridge, do puzzles, work in the workshop, etc. They have an annual 'yard sale' and regular showings of people artistic skills... from painting, quilting and other forms or art.

It was an easier life than living in their house dealing with house cleaners, gardeners and pool people. And doing the grocery shopping. The CCRC took care of weekly cleaning and annual deep cleaning, occasional painting and such. They also have regular buses going to different shopping centers 3 times a week if they choose not to drive. They can reserve a car and driver if they have an appointment and choose not to drive themselves.

Probably the only con is they had to buy their apartment and they still pay monthly maintenance, long term insurance costs and annual property tax on their apartment along with property taxes on the site buildings as owners. I don't think they thought it was a con, but some people might.

When my Mom died last year my Dad had lots of people inviting him to eat dinner with them afterwards. They have a few singles tables for those who moved in alone or have lost their spouses, so plenty of eating company.

It really eased their life when they moved into their apartment. Less work, less stress.

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Old 03-02-2015, 06:57 AM   #3
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What KB said.
The only difference, in our case... (we have lived in a regular home in a full service CCRC for 11 years) is that the apartments are on a rental basis, and all of the maintenance, services, utilities, taxes etc. are included, making the financial management part somewhat easier.
For more details on this, there are many threads here on ER, with pros and cons...

This is a link to our own situation, with some additional details. Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

I can't overemphasize the social part of these communities, especially when one or the other spouse passes away. I believe that survivng spouses, who do not have community support, have a more difficult time, living in the old homestead, or moving in with their children. With the ladies tending to live longer, I am continually surprised how well they adapt, with support from others in the same situation.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:30 AM   #4
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We have looked into CCRCs extensively and fully intend to move to one in the next five to eight years (I'll be 65 this spring). Prices and such are all over the map and generally as with most things you get what you pay for. There are arrangements to pay a large entrance fee to lower the monthly cost, to straight rental, or a hybrid. Not every CCRC offers every option on financing. Some require the entrance fee for example and some are straight rental with no "buy-in" option available. Most seem to offer all three though.

My mother lived in one for 11 years and it worked out very well for her. She started out in independent living and was in assisted living the last six months of her life.

The one we're primarily considering has mostly single-family houses with one or two car garages ("cottages" they call them, although I think they're too big to be called "cottages") some town homes, and an apartment building with independent living units, assisted living, and dementia unit. That building also holds the dining room, swimming pool, and gym.

Pros: All the home ownership issues go away. Since we won't own the unit but will be renting (even with a large entrance fee that reduces the rent but does not eliminate it). So when the roof leaks, the dishwasher quits, etc. we just pick up the phone and they deal with the repair/replacement. I look at it this way: Roughly trading the house equity for the entrance fee gets our rental housing costs to about what it is now owning a house. But all the maintenance headaches belong to someone else! What's not to like about that? DW is NOT at all handy with household repair/maintenance so this is an important issue for us. The day will almost certainly come when even if I want to I may not be able to fix things.

A ready-made social group. Whether you fit that group is another issue, but my mother didn't have any problems with people. This is why we will probably go straight rental the first year - the higher expense buys us an easy exit if it turns out not to be what we thought. We do know of one couple who moved to a CCRC and wished they had done that but that's an exception. Most like the arrangement.

Cons: A major issue for some people, especially if leaving an inheritance is important, is that the entrance fee is generally not refundable after a period of years. The trend seems to be that they pro-rate that over about ten years so that if you leave after one year you get 90% back and after ten years there is no refund of it. For many people this is a deal-killer.

If you've paid the entrance fee you're pretty much locked in there unless you can afford to write it off after several years and decide you want to move.

The CCRC will take a close look at your finances to make sure you can be reasonably expected to pay your own way, but many have a provision that if your resources are exhausted by medical expenses they won't throw you out. This is well and good, but what about their balance sheet? A few (very few) CCRCs have run into financial issues and have had to cut back on services or charge for services formerly included in the monthly fee. So you'll want to take a close look at their finances as well.
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:28 PM   #5
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I thought of a few more things.

The CCRC where my Dad is living does an annual test, which is the same testing that was done before moving in. Each resident has to pass a financial test, mental test and physical test. This prevents someone from getting the the point of not being able to take care of themselves and no one noticing. If the become unable to pay their expenses, the CCRC will keep track and recover their expenses once their place is sold.

While they do not provide assistance when people are not able to take care of themselves fully, they do have an approved list of care givers.

They have nurses on site to do BP checks, draw blood when ordered by a physician, distribute medication etc. There is a Medical unit in the main building and then the Full care unit and Altzheimer unit in a separate building. The Altzheimers unit has an interior courtyard so the residents can go 'outside' but can't actually get out and lost. Apparently a resident once got lost for a day or so.....before they built the new FCU.

They do have Villas (small cottage with a garage and dinky yard) and apartments. They also provide a locked inside storage unit for each apartment or villa in the garage.

If a resident is under the weather, they do deliver meals also. It really made life easy for my parents.
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