The previous post discussed three types of elder care facilities: independent living, assisted living, and nursing homes. There is, however, another type of facility, namely continuing care communities, which combine all three types of facilities in one community.

Continuing Care Communities

A continuing care community has independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities combined into one large community campus. These communities generally provide a large array of daily services, activities, round-the-clock staffing, and on-site medical facilities for residents. As the needs of individual residents progress, they can seamlessly be moved between independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care as needed. These facilities can also accommodate couples who have differing needs to stay together as much as possible since staff can either come to the couples’ residence or transport the spouse who needs care to the appropriate on-site care facility. By providing all three types of facilities in one community, continuing care communities provide seniors with peace of mind with the knowledge that whatever their future condition, they will be taken care of in one community.

While this may sound like an ideal arrangement, there are some restrictions and downsides. First, continuing care communities generally require that residents be able to live independently when they enter the community. Second, continuing care communities can be expensive. Many require an initial deposit that can range from five figures to almost one million dollars, depending on the community. In addition, there is generally a significant monthly fee. There are some other continuing care communities who only have a rent plus services monthly fee contract, but these also tend to be quite expensive. In addition, many continuing care communities have financial requirements for residents that would generally disqualify them for Medicaid nursing home coverage. Finally, most continuing care communities make residents sign a long-term contract that imposes financial penalties, most notably loss of the initial deposit, if a resident wishes to permanently move out of the community.

Nevertheless, a continuing care facility can be an attractive option for seniors with extensive financial means who want the peace of mind of making a one time decision that guarantees them care in one community for whatever their future needs may be.