As you or your parents age, life often places you in situations where choices must be made that are not necessarily easy. Whether you have seen the time approaching and have tried to ignore it, or an unexpected life event makes it no longer an option, you may find yourself in a place where you or an aging family member wants or needs to move into a supportive living environment.
Once the choice has been made, you’ll find that different supportive living communities offer varying levels of care. Some offer independent living only, while others also offer assisted living. And still, others provide even more levels of care. A Continuing Care Retirement Community, otherwise known as a Life Plan Community, fall into this latter category.
What is a CCRC?
CCRC stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community. CCRCs offer many levels of care, all within one supportive living environment. This means as you require increased levels of care, the community is able to offer you a continuum of care. You can remain in the same supportive living community even as your care needs change. Some states refer to CCRCs as Lifetime Communities or Active Adult Community Homes.
California CCRCs generally offer:
- Independent living
- Assisted living for those who need some assistance with activities of daily living
- Skilled nursing and rehabilitation for those who require specialized care provided by trained professionals in an on-campus Health Care Center
- Memory care for those dealing with the effects of memory loss
Depending upon what a supportive living community has to offer, apartments, condominiums, cottages, townhomes or duplexes are generally available for those who can live independently. Most CCRCs require you to be able to live independently to move into their community. When additional assistance is needed, you simply transfer into a different area within the community to receive the required higher level of care.
Although each supportive living community is unique, most will have a common dining area, indoor and outdoor recreation areas with planned recreational activities, gyms and possibly a swimming pool. On-campus and off-campus social events are planned regularly.
Benefits of Living in a CCRC
No matter your age, one of the hardest changes you will face in life is moving; and sometimes as aging progresses, the harder moving seems to be, physically, emotionally and mentally. Therefore, when the decision has been made to move into a supportive living community, you should know that there are many benefits to be gained by choosing to live in a CCRC. Although the initial move can be difficult, often being a relocation from the family home, successive moves become easier. Some CCRCs even offer move-in assistance to help with the organizing, downsizing and packing necessary to reduce your possessions to a manageable size to enable you to live comfortably in your new home.
Although you plan to live independently for many years, we all know how easily and quickly those plans can change. When increased care is required, CCRCs make successive moves easier. Instead of moving from independent living to an entirely different retirement community, you simply move to a different location within your current supportive living community. This may mean moving down the hall, or onto a different floor in the same building, or even into a different building all together, depending upon the layout of the community. This is much easier, however, than moving across town, to a new city or even to a different state, depending upon the options available to you and the choices you make should you need to move to a different retirement community.
Being able to remain within the same community prevents the upheaval and emotional challenges that result when relocating to an entirely new supportive living environment. You’re able to maintain valuable friendships you have made within the community, without worrying about additional transportation issues that would be necessary to maintain those friendships should you move. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with the stress of becoming familiar with a totally new community.
This is especially important and comforting for couples. Rather than being forced to live in a different retirement community at a totally separate location; if one spouse requires increased levels of care, a CCRC allows the couple to live within the same supportive living community while receiving the individual care they need, often just a short walk from each other. The couple can easily visit each other any time day or night. They can spend time doing activities together, dining and socializing together and doing the things that are important to them – being a couple.
Their need for care may have forced them to make changes in their lives, but living at a CCRC enables them to continue making those changes together as a couple. While one spouse is receiving required additional care and services, they can continue their lives as a couple, having the ability to interact with each other whenever they choose to do so.
When a spouse dies, a CCRC provides an immediate support group with friends and staff close by, ready to provide love and caring support. The widow or widower is surrounded by activities and an active social group, helping to eliminate some of the self-isolation that often accompanies the grieving process. Encountering others in the halls and in the dining room often keeps them functioning and motivated.
CCRCs also provide security in knowing you will live in one location for the rest of your life, with your future care needs already figured out. Even as you move between levels of care, you can spend the rest of your life in one CCRC. This is often referred to as “aging in place.” The security of knowing you have a caring and supportive environment in which to live, no matter what level of care you need, reduces stress in your life and in the lives of those who care about you.
In closing, a CCRC provides a continuum of care within the grounds of a single, supportive living environment. A CCRC enables you to surround yourself with a network of caring friends and staff who will be there for you, despite changes in your level of care.
Retire in Pacific Grove, CA
If you are looking for a senior living community in a unique setting; located on the tip of the scenic Monterey Peninsula, Forest Hill delivers this and so much more. If you would like to arrange a personal tour or learn more, please request our senior living guide book and get in touch with us. We would love to answer any questions you may have about senior living and all of the benefits that go with it.