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What is a CCRC?

By Lillian L. Hyatt, M.S.W., and a Resident of a CCRC

Excerpted from the Spring 2004 The CANHR Advocate newsletter

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are facilities that offer a continuum of care to anyone over the age of 60 admitted into that community. In some cases, a CCRC can offer a life care contract. In a life care contract facility, the provider promises to provide all levels of care including acute care and physicians’ and surgeons’ services to residents to the extent not covered by other insurance benefits. The facility promises to provide that continuum of care for the duration of the resident’s life.

Fees in CCRCs can vary depending on the type of housing and services offered and the extent of long term care services offered. Most consumers do not realize this difference when they are seeking a CCRC or when they sign a CCRC contract. This can be a "trap" for the uninformed consumer, according to Barbara Krings, former president of CALCRA (California Continuing Care Residents Association).

The levels of care offered in a CCRC generally include:

  1. Independent living units.
  2. Residential Care/Assisted Living
  3. Skilled Nursing Care
  4. Special care, which covers conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s related problems

Only a facility that has the approval of the Continuing Care Contract Division of the Department of Social Services can offer a continuing care contract. A potential resident should ask to see the approval of DSS for any continuing care contract offered to him or her.