Critter Corner: What Exactly is a CCRC and Is It Right for My Mom?

Dear Ribbit,

We are looking for the right living arrangement for my mother. We have considered assisted living (AL), but she will likely need more care that an AL facility can provide in a couple of years. I heard about Continuing Care Retirement Communities, but don’t know much about them. Can you tell me more to help me evaluate whether CCRCs would be a good option for my mom?

CiCi Arcee


Dear CiCi,

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), sometimes called Lifecare Communities, offer older adults an innovative and independent lifestyle that differs from other housing and care options. CCRCs are especially attractive to seniors making decisions for their long-term care future.

Below are some details about CCRC’s:

• The CCRC model has evolved over a very long period of time, with some dating back more than a century.

• CCRCs generally feature a combination of independent living apartments and/or cottages, assisted living, and nursing care, and many offer memory care and other specialty care arrangements. They also provide residents with 24-hour security, social and recreational activities, attractive dining options, housekeeping, transportation, and wellness and fitness programs.

• CCRCs are designed to allow residents to essentially age-in-place, albeit not in their own homes.  As residents progress from independent living to assisted living to nursing care within a CCRC, they can ideally continue their existing relationships with a spouse and friends, avoid the stress of multiple move, and receive the long-term care they need, should it be needed, in an environment they know and trust.

• Residents have lifetime access to the community’s continuum of care. Typically, all of the living options (independent living, assisted living, and nursing) of the CCRC are in a single building or on a single campus.

If you decide on a CCRC, please note that they are required by law to include certain provisions in their resident agreements. The agreement must describe the living unit assigned to you, provide a detailed statement of all items of service to be provided, the total consideration paid, or to be paid, whether there may be periodic increases in monthly rental fees or other charges, as well as other pertinent information.

To ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the risks, you should always have an experienced Elder Law Attorney such as Mr. Farr review your CCRC contract prior to signing it. One major drawback of moving into a CCRC is that you almost always sign away your right to do asset protection in connection with obtaining Medicaid and or Veterans pension benefits, so you must complete your asset protection planning before moving to a CCRC. Read more in Mr. Farr’s blog post about this topic.

Hope this helps!


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