Continuing care communities offer senior citizens independent living, assisted living and nursing care, allowing them to age in place as their needs change.
Senior citizens typically move into a continuing care community while they are still healthy and active. Resident sign a contract that guarantees that their needs will be met for medical and personal care. The communities offer a range of services: meals, housekeeping, transportation, recreation, social events and increased health care as the patient grows older or requires more extensive care.
Independent living. Seniors at this stage are healthy enough to live unassisted but have the peace of mind knowing that help is readily available when needed.
During the assisted living phase, residents may require help with trips to the doctor and pharmacy. Assistance with bathing, toileting and dressing may also be needed.
Nursing care is provided when age and health issues combine to make the resident dependent on skilled staff, including nurses, to administer medical attention and personal care for basic functions. Alzheimer’s and dementia care facilities may be included. Sometimes, residents will move from nursing care back to assisted living after sufficient recovery from a surgery.
Costs of continuing care. Residents are medically evaluated and interviewed when they enter a continuing care facility. In addition to monthly fees to cover living quarters, meals and amenities, residents also pay a substantial entry fee in the tens of thousands of dollars up to hundreds of thousands. This fee prepays the medical needs of residents as they progress toward assisted living and nursing care. Upon death or contract termination, a portion of the entry fee may be refundable on a sliding scale depending on the length of the resident’s stay.
An alternative is a fee-for-service arrangement with a lower entry fee and higher monthly fees that increase as care needs increase. A third option, called an equity plan, requires residents to essentially buy their place in the community, either buying their unit or a membership share. Upon contract termination or death, the equity is sold by the owner or estate to a new owner.