Navigating the World of CCRCs: What You Need to KnowSkip to content

Guide to Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 9, 2023.

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), also known as Life Plan Communities, offer a range of care options for seniors as their level of care needs progresses over time. From independent living, assisted living, to skilled nursing, a CCRC provides a ready access to onsite higher level of care. They are a popular choice for seniors looking for a long-term care solution that allows them to age comfortably, hence sparing them from the hassle of moving from one facility to another should their medical needs develop.

With so many CCRCs to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you. The decision-making process can take a great deal of time and consideration, so it’s ideal to read and research intensively as you weigh your potential choices for CCRC.

Benefits of CCRCs:

A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is an ideal retirement community that can ensure residents of having a place they can call home. The benefits of CCRCs go beyond just providing seniors a place to live.

CCRCs allow seniors to age in place

As seniors' care needs change over time, they can receive the appropriate level of care without having to move to a different facility. This can be a significant benefit for both the senior and their family, as it eliminates the stress and upheaval of moving to a new location.

CCRCs also provide a sense of community and socialization opportunities

Many communities offer group activities, clubs, and outings, giving residents the chance to make new friends and stay active. This can be especially important for seniors who may be living alone and looking for a sense of connection.

CCRCs increase social engagement through a wide range of activities

These communities often have amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and dining options. These amenities can help seniors maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, and provide additional opportunities for socialization.

Types of Contracts for CCRCs

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)[1], CCRCs are “part independent living, part assisted living and part skilled nursing homes.” Seniors who live in CCRC have access to multiple levels of care in a single campus. When you are considering a CCRC, know that there are several types of CCRC contracts available, to include:

Type A, or Life Care CCRCs:

At a Life Care CCRC, residents pay an upfront entrance fee and then a monthly fee for their chosen level of care. In return, you will receive a lifetime access to the community's care options. This can provide peace of mind for residents and their families, as they won't have to worry about unexpected medical expenses that can come about ion the open market, or the cost of moving to a different care facility.

Type B, or Modified Life Care:

Modified Life Care, just like at a Type A community, you will have to pay a one-time entrance fee and your monthly service fee. However, the care structure for Modified Life Care is different. Instead of covering all future health care needs for a flat monthly rate, an increase in pricing may be imposed for higher levels of care. However, costs may be discounted below the normal market rate.

Type C, or Fee-for-Service CCRCs:

Fee-for-Service CCRCs also offer a range of care options, but residents only pay for the services they use. This means that residents may pay more as their care needs increase over time. However, Fee-for-Service CCRCs often have lower upfront costs than Life Care CCRCs, making them a more affordable option for some individuals.


Rental CCRCs do not require an upfront entrance fee, and residents pay a monthly rent for their chosen level of care. This type of contract provides residents with a living accommodation and some basic amenities, but with no guaranteed access to healthcare services. The monthly fees generally cover the cost of maintenance for the rental unit.

When considering a CCRC, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each type and determine which one is the best fit for your needs and budget. It's also a good idea to do thorough research and visit the communities in person to get a sense of the amenities, care options, and community atmosphere. With careful consideration and research, you can find the perfect CCRC for you or your loved one.

How to choose a CCRC

By carefully weighing factors and doing thorough research, you can choose the CCRC that is the best fit for you.

Here are some key points to consider as you research and compare different options for CCRCs.


Depending on your needs and preferences, you may want to choose a CCRC that is close to family, friends, or certain amenities. Consider the proximity to hospitals, shopping, and other services that are important to you.


CCRCs can vary significantly in terms of cost, so it's important to consider your budget and compare prices between different communities. Be sure to ask about the different payment options available, such as private pay or long-term care insurance, and whether financial assistance is available through programs like Medicaid or VA benefits.


Look for CCRCs with a good reputation and a history of satisfied residents. You can research online reviews and ratings, ask for referrals from friends and family, and visit the communities in person to get a feel for the atmosphere and talk to current residents. Visiting in person: Visiting a CCRC in person is a great way to get a feel for the community and see the amenities and living spaces firsthand. Take a tour, ask questions, and talk to current residents to get a sense of what it's really like to live there.

Talking to current residents

Current residents can provide valuable insights about what it's really like to live in a CCRC. Ask about their experiences with the staff, the quality of care, and the overall atmosphere of the community.

Financing a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

When it comes to choosing a long-term care option, one of the main considerations is financing. How will you pay for your stay? Here are some options to consider:

Private pay

Many CCRCs offer private pay options, which means that you or your family will pay the full cost of your stay. This can be a good option for those who have the financial resources to do so, but it's important to keep in mind that CCRCs can be quite expensive.

Long-term care insurance

If you have long-term care insurance, it may cover some or all of the costs of living in a CCRC. It's a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see what is covered.


Medicaid is a government program that provides financial assistance for those with low incomes and limited resources. Some CCRCs accept Medicaid, but it's important to note that Medicaid may only cover the cost of skilled nursing care, not independent living or assisted living.

VA benefits

If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for VA benefits that can help cover the costs of a CCRC. It's a good idea to check with the VA to see what benefits you are eligible for and how they can be used to pay for a CCRC.

It's important to carefully consider your financing options when it comes to CCRCs. It's a good idea to do thorough research and talk to a financial advisor or CCRC representative to determine the best option for you.



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About the Author

JM Guiang

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Inspired by fresh ideas and wise words, JM Guiang, Communications degree-holder, and Elder Guide writer, finds profound joy in writing quality content and insightful articles that redefine seniors' perspective on aging with grace and confidence.