A continuing care retirement community (CCRC), or multi-level care facility, offers accommodations for at least three levels of care: independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. Many now also offer Alzheimer’s and dementia care, also known as memory care. These services are offered on a single campus, providing residents with a continuum of care. You can spend the rest of your life in a CCRC, moving amongst levels of care as needed.

These communities assure that each care recipient can enjoy independent living as long as possible, while providing for nursing assistance if or when it is needed. This type of living arrangement can be particularly useful to couples who often need differing levels of care, but wish to stay together and maintain their close relationship.

CCRC Services

CCRCs offer a range of services, including personal conveniences (e.g., haircuts, banking, and library), organized social and recreational activities, educational programs, exercise classes, craft and woodworking activities, gardening space, transportation, and health care.

Because these activities can be costly, the CCRC entrance fees and monthly charges may be quite large. CCRCs have entrance restrictions, which normally specify a minimum age, as well as a minimum level of health and finances.

Entrance lists can be long for CCRC facilities. In recent years, some communities have started offering their services on a month-to-month rental basis, with the recipient paying for health care coverage at the time of need rather than on the basis of coverage afforded by the traditional entry fee or “life care” endowment.

CCRC Life Care Option

A variation on the typical CCRC community is the “life care” community (LCC). The international accreditation agency for retirement facilities (CARF) describes life care communities as CCRCs that utilize an extensive, or Type A, Life Care / Extensive Contract.

LCCs guarantee health care coverage for life, with no exceptions. LCCs also guarantee that if the resident’s resources become exhausted, the resident will not lose their residence or their benefits. In such cases the LCC subsidizes the resident. LCCs must have a nursing facility within the community itself.