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All About Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

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A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is part independent living, part assisted living and part skilled nursing home. They offer a tiered approach to the aging process, accommodating residents’ changing needs. Upon entering, healthy adults can reside independently in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they can move into assisted living or nursing care facilities. These communities give older adults the option to live in one location for the duration of their life, with much of their future care already figured out. This can provide a great level of comfort to both your parents and you and take much of the stress out of the care giving relationship.

What CCRCs Cost

The most expensive of all long-term-care options; CCRCs require a hefty entrance fee as well as monthly charges. Entrance fees can range from $100,000 to $1 million — an upfront sum to prepay for care as well as to provide the facility money to operate. Monthly charges can range from $3,000 to $5,000, but may increase as needs change. These fees are dependent on a variety of factors including the health of your loved one(s), the type of housing they choose, whether they rent or buy, the number of residents living in the facility and the type of service contract. Additional fees may be incurred for other options including housekeeping, meal service, transportation and social activities.

Types of Contracts

There are three basic types of contracts for CCRCs:

  • Life Care or Extended Contract: This is the most expensive option, but offers unlimited assisted living, medical treatment and skilled nursing care without additional charges.
  • Modified Contract: This contract offers a set of services provided for a set length of time. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but for higher monthly fees.
  • Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at their market rates.

It is very important to review with your loved one each option as well as the long-term financial plan to support them. Often, charges above and beyond the entrance cost and monthly fees arise. Ensure that everyone understands just how much money will be needed to support this housing option.

Also, make sure the facility they are considering will be financially viable over the long term. Get assurance that 10 to 15 years down the road your loved one’s CCRC will still be operating and able to provide them with the care they’ve already paid for.

Where to Begin

Help your loved ones research CCRCs in their area and offer to accompany them on visits. While there, investigate thoroughly and meet with a representative who can walk them through the different housing options, cost structures, and contract choices.

If your loved one decides to live in a CCRC, suggest that they request a weekend or week-long stay at the facility to ensure it’s the right choice for them. Once they are ready to commit, run the contract by an attorney to be sure everything is spelled out as it was agreed upon with the facility.

Other Tips

  • If your parents are considering a CCRC as a couple, be sure they understand what will happen if one of them needs a higher level of care or dies, or if their circumstances dramatically change. Investigate whether there are circumstances where they can get a refund or leave any of their entrance fee to their estate should a change be necessary.
  • When visiting, spend ample time visiting each part of the facility, regardless of whether your parent or loved one is in perfect health. Chances are they will need assisted living or nursing care at some point.
  • Make sure they see all financial reports, licensing, and inspection reports and any complaint investigations


Walker Methodist has 10 senior living communities in the greater Minneapolis area, one of which is a CCRC community – Walker Methodist Place, located in the East Harriet neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Explore our many senior living community options and find the perfect fit Discover your community

Topics: Communities

Elizabeth Meyer

Written by Elizabeth Meyer

I am an accomplished professional with experience in the senior, hospitality, sales, and marketing industries. My success has included individual and multi-property operations, sales, and marketing and includes brand management. My career has included increasing levels of responsibility currently as the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Walker Methodist. In this role my responsibilities include the growth and implementation of Walker's sales and marketing strategies. Support and facilitate development and implementation of Walker's marketing plan, working with Senior Leadership and community Directors. Develop sales and marketing strategies based on the market place and the community and property needs. Plan and administer Marketing's operating budget.

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