Senior Living 411: What If Health Care Needs Change?

continuing care retirement community info

Seniors may be hesitant to move into an independent living community, fearing that another move to assisted living could be on the horizon. But an independent living community actually offers seniors more freedom than they might have at home, including the freedom from worry if their condition changes.

In addition to on-site health care and even in-home health care where doctors or nurses visit your apartment, many senior living communities offer short-term or long-term assisted living without leaving your senior community home. These are called Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) or Fee-for-Service Continuing Care Retirement Communities (FFSCCRC). What’s the difference?

What An FFSCCRC Offers Seniors
As the name implies, your entrance fees and monthly fee when you enter an FFSCCRC will cover your basic housing. Most services, from transportation to restaurant meals on premises, as well as healthcare related services, medication administration, cleaning and other assisted living services are paid for on an as-needed basis.

If you are watching your budget carefully in order to afford independent senior housing, and are in excellent health right now, a FFSCCRC could be the right choice for you. This way, you’re not paying for services you don’t need. Additionally, if you have family who can help out, long-term or short-term, if your needs change, you might opt for this solution so you’ll only have to pay for medical and assisted living services in the future on an as-needed basis.

Options in Continuing Care Retirement Communities
In a CCRC, all the amenities available to residents are included in your monthly fees. You’ll pay more upfront, but your expenses won’t change if you become ill or injured or need some extra help or additional medical and living services. It’s like having an insurance policy to cover your assisted living needs.

Within a CCRC, services that may be included are:

  • some meals
  • social and community activities
  • transportation
  • laundry and housekeeping
  • home maintenance
  • assistance with daily needs and activities
  • Access to medical services (although there will be a charge for the services from the provider)
  • Medication administration

Most CCRCs offer two types of contracts:

  1. Life-Care Contracts – Life-care contracts offer unlimited assisted living or nursing facility care, regardless of how long the resident needs specialized care. Monthly fees may go up to due to inflation adjustment or other increases, but they will not go up because of the level of care received or the housing arrangement.
  2. Modified Contracts – Residents will receive all the amenities and assisted living services within their independent living residence, but the number of nursing facility days will be limited. Medicare may pay for additional nursing home days, however. A modified contract can help you save money in the short-term, but you could wind up paying more for assisted living and nursing care in a facility if your included nursing home/assisted living days run out and you still need that additional level of care.

Which Service to Choose?
Being able to remain in your senior housing community and still receive the additional care you need can offer great peace of mind. CCRC contracts that ensure you’ll pay the same rate for housing even if you need additional care offers even greater peace-of-mind and a sense of financial security that can contribute to your overall health and well-being.

Is a CCRC or FFSCCRC the right choice for your senior housing?

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 662-0435 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.