Continuing Care Retirement Communities…Are They For You?

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Residential options for senior citizens typically include one of the following: living at home, with a relative, residence in an Independent Living Facility (ILF), residence in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF), and/or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). A residential arrangement called a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), combines ILF, ALF, and SNF under one roof. A CCRC provides a unique living arrangement with a variety of payment options. The basic Structure of a CCRC works something like this:

You pay a large upfront fee (see below for price range) which locks in your monthly price, sign a “Life-Care Contracts” (as they are commonly called), and move into the independent living facility. When needed, you move from the independent living facility to the assisted living facility, and finally to the skilled nursing facility. Each facility provides graduated level of healthcare and/or assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), that the previous facility does not provide. The level of care is determined by the healthcare provider at the facility.

Typically, graduated levels of care would incur a corresponding price increase, however, a CCRC life-care contract, guarantees that the price of care will remain the same regardless of the level of care. With the various increases in healthcare costs, a fixed-cost care level may be worth paying the large entrance fee to a CCRC. Another advantage of a CCRC, is that the level of care is typically provided all under “one roof.” That is, movement from the ILF to the ALF can be accomplished at the same facility, or campus. This usually ensures that the resident can maintain the quality of care and surrounding they have become accustomed to. Furthermore, this may possibly minimize the potential trauma of such a move.

While there are many advantages to a CCRC, there are some negatives which should be noted. The first being the upfront costs. A typical CCRC contract can require an entry fee anywhere from $50,000.00, to $500,000.00 (some CCRCs charge even more), and that is just to gain entry into the facility. Also, depending on the contract, a refund may not be available after a certain period of time should you have to leave the facility. Which leads to the second disadvantage, rigid residential/life care contracts drafted strongly in the facility’s favor to the near total detriment of the individual signing the contract.

As is the case with all Long Term Care planning options, a CCRC may not work for you, therefore it is very important to seek Long Term Care planning advice from a Florida Bar licensed attorney who specializes in Elder Law and who has the experience with and knowledge of CCRCS and a “Life-Care Contracts”.

*The above information is intended for informative purposes only and is not legal advice. For advice on your specific situation, please contact an experienced elder law attorney in your area.*

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