Older couple sitting on a park benchA continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offers older adults the opportunity to make a one-time decision regarding retirement living arrangements. You pay an entry fee and monthly rent. The CCRC guarantees to care for you for as long as you live, whether this means independent living, assisted living, or nursing home care. Usually, all of these services are available on one campus.

CCRC Requirements Vary by Community

CCRC candidates are typically 65 years of age or older and living independently. Moving to a CCRC positions you for a time when you might need more help from assisted living services or nursing care. The CCRC provides these services without a drastic move. The type of CCRC for which you qualify will depend on your financial resources and, in some cases, whether you belong to a particular religious or social organization. For example, Moosehaven in Orange Park, Florida, is a CCRC for members of the Loyal Order of Moose and Women of the Moose.

Evaluate Your Options to Find the Right CCRC

Choosing a CCRC is a decision you only want to make once. You will be making a significant financial commitment. A CCRC can have upwards of 500 residential units that range from apartments and cottages for independent living, to assisted living facilities, to skilled nursing facilities. Also provided are common areas for meals, exercise, and recreation. As a result, a CCRC campus may be relatively large. Evaluating the CCRC may take more than one visit.

CCRC contracts and fee arrangements

Although each CCRC has its own contract and fee requirements, you can generally expect one of three arrangements. The first is a full-service contract, in which you are guaranteed the maximum range of services for life in exchange for a substantial entry fee and ongoing monthly payments. The second arrangement involves a smaller entry fee with monthly payments, but the CCRC is only obligated to provide assisted living and nursing services for a guaranteed number of days. You must pay for additional days of service. The third arrangement involves a smaller entry fee with monthly payments, but only guarantees priority to receive assisted living and nursing services. You are responsible for the cost of the services.

CCRC Entry Fee Requirements Vary by State

Entry fees for CCRCs are significant and can easily exceed $200,000. When making the decision to reside in a CCRC, familiarize yourself with state regulations on entry fee refunds if the contract is terminated early. Some states don't require a refund policy. Others require that refund policy requirements and disclosures be made in the CCRC contract. Find out the rules in your state before signing.

An Elder Law Attorney Can Help

The law surrounding contracts with continuing care retirement communities can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an elder law attorney.

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