5 Things to Consider When Choosing a CCRC

June 2, 2021 | Community | Advice | Residents

By 2050, it is estimated that over a fifth of the US population will be 65 years or older, compared with just 15.6 percent in 2021. With the number of older adults on the rise, it is essential to start planning now for where you are going to live in the future.

Like many seniors, if you’ve recently begun exploring the possibility of living in a retirement community, you have no doubt realized the options are endless. Added to that, this decision is likely among the most important choices you’ll make about your future. Even the most organized person can feel overwhelmed with where to begin.

Living in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), also called a life plan community, offers older adults the peace of mind and security that comes with knowing access to health care services is readily available should mobility or cognitive needs change. Yet, with so many CCRCs available, it can seem daunting to analyze which one will be the right one for you. Here are five critical areas to consider when making your decision:

1. Community. Of all the factors in your decision, community, and the people who will become your future friends and neighbors, should be the most important. Ideally, you should come away from your initial visit to a community with a strong sense of the “vibe” that indicates whether it will be a place where you can be yourself. Reaching your 70s, 80s, and 90s is not the time to “put on airs,” so look for a lifestyle where you are free to come as you are and be yourself!

2. Lifestyle. Reaching retirement means earning the right to spend your days doing all the things you love yet may not have had time for during your working or family years. Consider jotting down a list of your most important things. For example, if you seek a community with an active wellness program, take the time to visit their fitness studios, perhaps try a class or two, and meet the wellness director. If you are a passionate artist, find out about the community’s available creative spaces and if there is an active resident group that you can connect with before moving in.

3. Amenities. Perhaps it’s a lifelong love of swimming that places a state-of-the-art pool at the top of your wish list. Or maybe a view of the sunsets from your home. Or perhaps you dream of a place with an on-site chef and a rotating menu of fresh, delicious meals. These are the types of amenities that influence your day-to-day quality of life, so take the time to consider what your days will look like. If possible, ask if you can try out classes, meals, or other group activities before committing to your decision.

4. Approach to care. Ultimately, one of the most important factors in considering a CCRC is the security that comes with knowing you are moving to a community that will support you to the end, yet encourage you to live life on your terms, doing what you love. At Rose Villa, our philosophy of supportive living services is one that is person-centered and, more importantly, person-directed. What does this mean? Put simply, it means we tailor our care and support to the person and his or her individual needs, rather than approaching the diagnosis as a guidepost to what will best serve a resident. Person-centered care encourages an open dialogue between the resident, their family, and the care team to keep decision-making squarely in the hands of the individual impacted. It focuses on the whole person, and their distinct abilities, emotions, and life experiences, and values those life experiences as paramount to them continuing to be in the driver’s seat of their life at all times.

5. Financial investment. Moving to a CCRC typically involves a one-time, and in some cases partially refundable, membership fee to join the community. The membership fee is your commitment and the community’s commitment to ensure you receive care and support throughout the duration of your life on campus. There are many financial factors to consider in selecting a community with refundable membership agreements. Talk to your financial advisor or the organization’s CFO to learn more about the pros and cons related to your personal financial situation.

Many CCRCs, including Rose Villa, operate in a state that regulates CCRCs for compliance and disclosure. It is important to consider investing in a community that not only offers the services, amenities, and lifestyle you seek, but one that also operates on sound financial ground. Research each CCRC’s financial viability to gain a better understanding of the financial viability of the community before making a financial commitment.

Taking the time to gather information that is important to your decision before making a commitment can often reveal a clear winner, or, at the least, narrow down your list of potentials. In any case, a measured approach to your decision will better position you to make an intelligent, informed choice before committing to your future home.