Considering Independent Living? A Continuing Care Retirement Community? (CCRC)

NEW – Community Living Connections – On November 1st, the Department of Social and Health Services, in partnership with the Area Agencies on Aging, released a new website for Washington citizens featuring information about long-term services and supports.

What to Consider When Choosing a Community

Consumer Guidebook   

This resource takes the mystery out of the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and features tips and tools you can use to discover if a CCRC is right for you or a loved one.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities: Continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, offer a few types of services – all in one location, which gives a person the chance to stay in one place if even his or her needs change. CCRCs offer a range of services including nursing and other health services; meals; housekeeping; transportation; emergency help; and personal care. They also usually have lots of social and educational activities on site. CCRCs are also different from other types of housing options for older people because they offer you a contract that says the CCRC will provide you with housing and services for life. Most CCRCs require a one-time entrance fee and then monthly payments thereafter. These fees vary by community, depending on the type of housing and services they offer. Other CCRCs operate on a rental basis, in which you would make monthly payments, but would not have to pay an entrance fee.

A new SCAN Foundation report, Overview of Current Long-Term Care Financing Options, by Eileen J. Tell, summarizes consumer options for financing long-term services and supports.

Options listed in the report include:

  • Family Caregiving–unpaid care provided by friends or family members.
  • Medicaid-federal-state program pays for Long Term Care (LTC) for individuals with low incomes.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance-private insurance product.
  • Hybrid Life/LTC and Annuity LTC Products-blends long-term care insurance with an annuity or life insurance.
  • Health Savings Accounts-tax-advantaged savings account available to people enrolled in a high-deductible health plan.
  • Personal Savings-individuals place sums of money aside with the intent of paying for possible future LTC expenses.
  • Home Equity-equity built up in an individual’s home. The home can either be sold or used to obtain a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) -pays for some long-term services and supports for eligible veterans.

As the author acknowledges, there’s no easy answer for financing LTC. Furthermore, there are many misconceptions about what programs and products cover long-term care expenses.

Whether on behalf of a family member or for ourselves, most of us will have to grapple with the challenge of paying for long-term services and supports — even if only for a short period of time.