This are known as ‘CCRC’s’; much easier on the tongue! In general these have apartments beginning with active retirement living, later apartments in assisted living, and include apartments in temporary rehabilitation, and long term care in a skilled nursing unit or memory care. The advantage is that you never have to move to another place. Although you did not remain in the first apartment that is in active retirement as you move through the levels of care, you do remain in the same building.
Most CCRC’s have a substantial up front fee. In addition, there is monthly rent and sometimes other minor costs, such as having family members to dine with you. In theory, when your physical status alters and you no longer have the ability to remain in active retirement, there will be an apartment available in assisted living that you can move into when needed. This is a major advantage. Another advantage is the presence in the community of a physician and nurses, plus medical aides in the building 24 hours a day. Medical crisis do not respect holidays, evenings, or weekends, and so immediate medical attention is a huge plus.
On the down side is the question of what happens to the entry fee if, for some reason, you need to leave the community before you die. The most frequent solution is that your apartment, when you leave it, goes up for sale. When it sells, some portion of the entry fee is returned to you. Depending on the community and the floor plan you chose when you moved in, this can take months or years.
The care in a CCRC is usually excellent. I am often asked by a client if they can move into the assisted living, memory care, of skilled nursing section of a CCRC. This allows them to avoid the entry fee of moving into active retirement. The answer is usually that these areas are filled by people moving from the retirement area, and so there are no vacancies for people coming in from outside the community.
The lesson here is to consider moving from your home into a CCRC while you are healthy and active. Enjoy your retirement years, make friends in the community, and take advantage of the many activities available in the CCRC. When you have a crisis and need care, you already have a place. Think ahead!