How to Compare Continuing Care Retirement Communities - Tips from ACTS Retirement-Life Communities

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Whether researching a CCRC for yourself or a loved one, these tips from ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, one of the nation’s largest CCRC organizations, will help you find a CCRC that will best meet your needs now and for the long-term.

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CCRCs are an attractive option for seniors looking for maintenance-free living, access to numerous amenities, a full calendar of social activities, and the security from having to move again should health needs change.

A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is a popular type of retirement community combining residential housing with residences that provide higher levels of care, including assisted living and skilled nursing, in one community. Some CCRCs even offer specialized services such as home health care as part of their services. CCRCs are an attractive option for seniors looking for maintenance-free living, access to numerous amenities, a full calendar of social activities, and the security from having to move again should health needs change.

Whether researching a CCRC for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to keep in mind factors such as present and future needs, community location, and financial situation, and to ask the right questions during your visit to the community. These tips from ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, one of the nation’s largest CCRC organizations, will help you find a CCRC that will best meet your needs now and for the long-term.

Check the background of the community: Find out who owns and manages the community, as well as the track record of management. Determine whether the community is accredited for meeting high standards in services, operations and finances. Visit Carf.org for a list of accredited CCRCs by state. Review the financial performance of the organization, including any credit ratings the company has received from agencies like Standard & Poor’s or Fitch.

Get detailed information about fees: The three primary types of CCRC contracts are known as Type A, B and C. Learn what all fees do and do not include in these plans, when fees are subject to increase and under what conditions. For example, only the Type A contract covers the full cost of long-term care services where Type B & C are fee-for-service plans. Ask about the average fee increase over the past five years. Consider the financial advantages and disadvantages of the contract options the community offers.

Meet with residents and tour the community: Arrange an appointment to tour the community, meet with residents and staff, and to sample the food and the service. Notice if the community is clean, well maintained and secure.

Use a services and amenities checklist: Get a complete information packet that includes application for admission, fee schedules, floor plans and the resident contract. Find out what kind of social, cultural, educational, spiritual, and wellness activities are available. Compare each community’s pricing to amenities, programs and services that are important to you.

Consider location and find out if there is a waiting list: Is the community located near family, friends, doctor’s office, place of worship, and shopping? Find out if there is a waiting list to move into the community and how it works.

For more tips visit http://www.actsretirement.org/guide to download a free booklet called A Consumer’s Guide to Retirement Living. This informative resource explains the range of senior living options that are available, and includes checklists, worksheets and important questions to help you confidently research, evaluate, and compare CCRCs and other retirement communities.

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Michael Smith

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