Living in a senior community has a range of advantages as you’re entering your retirement years. Certainly, within the last two years, we’ve all faced a lot of challenges. People young and old have had to put their lives on hold, and many people have suffered from fear and isolation throughout national lockdowns. In a continuing care retirement community, older adults have much closer, more convenient access to social activities and amenities that can lessen or even remove the burden of living alone, especially with uncertainties that may lie in the future. Also, real estate experts have speculated that home prices and the demand for houses will continue to increase in early 2022, albeit at a slower rate than we saw in 2021. Low mortgage rates and limited inventory continue to make the market conditions very competitive for buyers.

People who choose to live in communities that support well-being widely speak of the physical, emotional, and social benefits that make a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) a positive next step. Below, you’ll find more information on CCRC’s for older adults, plus the top reasons to look for a continuing care retirement community today.

Why are continuing care retirement communities attractive to older adults? 

Imagine retaining your independence, while receiving help for the day-to-day tasks that have become more difficult for you to achieve. Whether it’s being active in the community, doing chores around the house or tending to your lawn and garden, you’ll have a support network and dedicated employees to help you with all of those things.  Opting into a CCRC also provides you with peace of mind in understanding your cash flow in the future but also knowing that the healthcare that you need is on campus.  Even though you and your spouse may have differing levels of care needs, these communities keep you both on the same campus.

What should I look for in a retirement community? 

The CCRC industry has grown rapidly to support an aging population across the nation. Now, there are more options than ever to choose from, and this means that it’s worth considering what’s most important to you. Selecting a retirement community while you are independent may help lower your overall costs and more easily develop a social network within the community. Remember, you not only are choosing your home for the rest of your life, but the most important thing that you are choosing is how and where you will receive care outside of the hospital and physician’s office. Seniors aged 65 have a 70% likelihood of requiring long-term care in the future (Genworth) If you’re wondering how to choose a good retirement community, consider these questions:

  1. What property type suits you best? This may be a self-contained apartment or detached house, for example.
  2. What size community would suit your preferences? Some communities are small, while others can be much larger. Think about the size of the community that you’d like to join. This could also impact the kinds of services available.
  3. How close is it to family and friends?
  4. What kind of facilities do you want or need access to? Look at the entertainment and leisure options available to you.
  5. What type of healthcare services do they offer and how are they ranked for quality by Medicare.
  6. What other services are available, such as transportation, groceries, and activities that you currently engage in?  
  7. Do you want to rent or purchase a property? Some retirement communities may offer the ability to purchase a property within the facility.
  8. Will the community allow you to continue living there if you run out of money?

What are the advantages of living in CCRC?

Living in a CCRC has many benefits, some of which we’ve touched on above. Here are just a few of the specific advantages of living in a retirement  community that we’ve found:

  1. Healthcare and wellness support: In some retirement communities, you’ll have access to on-site medical services and clinics. These services can provide anything from prescription refills to primary care or rehabilitation therapy. Not only does this support your ongoing good health, but it also makes these services more readily and easily accessible.
  2. Financial security: When you’ve chosen a continuing care retirement community, you won’t have to worry about unexpected, surprise costs. You’ll no longer have to concern yourself with making mortgage payments or handling a stressful property sale if your health declines in the future.
  3. Peace of mind: Knowing that most of your healthcare needs can be met in one community and that as a couple you will not have to live in different locations.  With so much uncertainty in the economy, and the memory of COVID-19 fresh in our minds, a retirement community can bring you peace of mind. Knowing that help is available and nearby and that people are looking out for you can bring a lot of reassurance. 
  4. Socialization and personal growth: Retirement communities bring together many like-minded older adults. In addition to a new social circle, the best continuing care retirement communities can offer you learning opportunities, the chance to forge new relationships, and wellness programs that’ll help you set and achieve goals in your new lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have some frequently asked questions, and you’ll find the answer to these below.

What is the best age to enter a CCRC?

According to actuarial consulting firm Milliman, older adults who enter a CCRC are typically aged from around 65 to 95. While these communities offer a lot of support, you must be capable of living independently when you arrive on-site.

What happens when you run out of money in a CCRC?

Responsible CCRC providers will consider this question up front when you’re arranging your new home. Since these communities typically require an initial buy-in payment, this will help to cover the costs of ongoing charges. Alternatively, there may be options to downsize your accommodation or seek help from a community fund. In other cases, you may be eligible for a lifetime guarantee under your initial contract, which stipulates that your costs will be covered for the duration of your lifetime. It’s worth asking this question upfront and seeking legal help or assistance from a healthcare advocacy service before entering into a contract.

Care Weavers provides healthcare advocacy services and has a deep understanding of the healthcare industry.  They have a proven track record in assisting older adults in selecting and transitioning into communities.  Reach out to us for more information on how we can help you in avoiding pitfalls, understanding costs and contracts, and streamlining the transition process.  

What’s it like to live in a retirement community?

It’s worth doing your research and speaking to friends or family members who may have spent time in a retirement village, as everybody’s story is different. However, from research, residents commonly report some of the following benefits:

  • It’s easy to meet people;
  • Facilities are close at hand, making it a convenient place to live your daily life;
  • There are usually minibus services, which make it easy to get around;
  • You have immediate help available, and you can ring your alarm if you have problems, which is very reassuring;
  • You have a greater sense of security;
  • People are very friendly;
  • There’s so much to do!

Certainly, continuing care retirement communities can offer a great deal of benefits. You should expect to feel a much greater sense of reassurance, security, and peace of mind while having the opportunity to widen your social circle and maintain your independence.