Continuing-care-retirement offers residents an independent lifestyle with the security and comfort of knowing that multiple levels of health care are available to meet their changing needs without having to move off campus. Continuing-care-retirement also offers a socially active lifestyle with optional wellness and nutritional support services.
Levels of Senior health care or supportive care offered varies but typically include:
Continuing care communities typically provide a variety of social activities, travel opportunities, health and wellness programs, spiritual programs and good nutrition. The important reason for these amenities is not just to keep residents busy but to keep them involved, active and healthy. The ultimate goal is to maintain health and independence for as long as possible.
Independent living is usually the point of entry into the system and is for residents who are capable of independent living without personal support. The independent living units are generally nice one and two bedroom apartments with a fully appointed kitchen and a spacious living room. Most will have an outside living area such a patio or balcony.
Typical amenities for independent living could include:
Continuing care communities include those that are not-for-profit and those that are for-profit. Some charge a monthly market rent with an annual lease and others offer life care for a large entry fee and a monthly service fee.
Both the community and the resident make a more serious commitment in the case of the entry fee model. The resident’s commitment is the payment of an entry fee that could be in the range of $80,000 to $400,000.
The community commits to make the apartment available to the residents as long as they are capable of living independently and priority admission to the health services usually at a discount. The community further promises various levels of healthcare at no additional charge for an amount of time specified in the residency agreement. These “life-care” communities are regulated in most states because of the entry fee and the promise of future health services.
Selecting a continuing-care-retirement community is serious business that requires thoughtful due-diligence on the part of the potential resident including a review of the lease/residency agreement by your personal attorney. The Florida Department of Financial Services offers a "Guide for Consumers, Long Term Care 2009.” This publication provides some excellent guidelines on selecting a continuing-care-retirement community. It is a free download and well worth the effort. Another good source of information on not for profit communities is Leading Age.
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In the end it's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln