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If you are looking for an optimal way to enjoy your retirement and expand your social horizons, then a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) may be just the right path for you.

Aging seniors who want to hang on to their independence, but value the reality of how their health status may change and deteriorate over the years may find the wide variety of services available at a CCRC incredibly beneficial for years to come.

In this article, we will be addressing commonly asked questions regarding CCRC living, what it takes to attain housing, estimated costs, and what an ideal candidate for this alternative residential living would look like.


A retirement community is a bit of an umbrella term that describes any type of housing complex where retired or partially retired seniors reside. Continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is a specialized community that provides a wide variety of personal and medical services across the retirement age span.

CCRCs are also referred to as life plan communities because the general focus is to have as many options available to seniors as they age and as their health and personal/medical support requirements change.

Retirees start in an independent living residence and may or may not progress into long-term care that requires more healthcare support such as assistive living, skilled nursing, or memory care.

Prospective residents are required to submit an application for the CCRCs that they are interested in. You may also be asked to submit a health evaluation to help the community determine if you meet the age and health requirements to reside in the CCRC.

The reasons for this is that healthy, new residents help offset the healthcare costs for residents who’ve lived at the CCRC longer and have experienced progressive changes to their health over the years. Once you have been accepted, you will be asked to review and sign your CCRC contract and pay the entry fee.

As far as retirement options go, CCRCs are the most expensive residential options for seniors. Most CCRCs require an entry fee, which ranges depending on the community and the location.
The latest numbers reveal that the average entry fee is approximately $500,000. Once residents have moved in, they pay monthly service and maintenance fees, which also varies depending on the services that seniors wish to pay for.

Monthly rent and service charges average about $3,500 and are known to fluctuate with the housing market over time. Although the downside is that CCRCs are overwhelmingly expensive, seniors are basically investing in their personal and medical care for years to come as well as luxurious amenities and shared social opportunities with peers.

As mentioned previously, CCRCs are expensive. One of the biggest hurdles to master is the entry fee. Some seniors spend years saving up for retirement and can afford the entry fee by utilizing those funds. For others, they may choose to liquidate personal assets. Medicare, Medicaid, and other medical insurance policies only cover (fully or partially) certain medical services provided during your stay in the community.

So, if your goal for retirement is to reside in a CCRC, save early and save a ton of money on a regular basis. Consult with a financial specialist if you wish to transfer funds, convert funds, or liquidate assets such as your current home before committing to a CCRC contract.

The beauty of a retirement community is that it provides numerous services for everyone’s unique personal and medical needs as their lives progress and as their health statuses change.

Examples of available care services include:

  • Housekeeping and maintenance
  • Social services
  • In-home rehabilitative services
  • Yard work
  • Community errands
  • Transportation
  • Meal services
  • In-home nursing care
  • Residential long-term care options including memory care, skilled nursing, and assisted living

Specific care services are available to residents based on their CCRC contracts. Generally, there are three types:

  • Extensive life-care (Type A): This contract has the highest fees, but provides unlimited assisted living, medical treatment and skilled nursing care with little or no additional cost.
  • Modified contract (Type B): This contract has a limited number of services available. Any services used that aren’t contracted incur monthly fees.
  • Fee-for-service contract (Type C): The enrollment fee is typically lower but residents have to pay for specific services themselves including assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care, or whatever medical care they require.

Make sure you go over your contract several times and fully understand the terms and conditions prior to signing and moving into the CCRC. Some seniors feel more comfortable having an attorney review the contract.

Services and amenities vary depending on the CCRC and the location. Some CCRCs have luxurious amenities such as pools, spas, fitness centers, events centers, yoga centers, golf courses, tennis courts, etc.

The overall goals of these amenities is to allow seniors to age with grace, to enjoy their leisure time, and to provide social opportunities with potential peers.

The beauty of living at a CCRC is that staff tend to be very hands-off for residents who are healthy and do not require any medical or personal support. If any support is needed in the event that your health status changes, there is a wide variety in staff available.

This ranges from medical healthcare providers such as nurses and rehabilitation staff to personal support providers who assist with basic living needs. Each staff varies depending on the type of site you reside on.

Staff are on-call or “as needed” for independent living sites whereas residents who have transitioned to assistive living or nursing home care have medical and personal staff available around the clock.

Since you are moving into a new home, it’s expected that you will be bringing many of your personal belongings from home. This includes clothing, some furniture, and many personal items that you’ve come to use over the years.

However, there may be some limitations on what you can bring into your new apartment or living area. If you are moving in from a larger home, you may be expected to downsize or store personal belongings somewhere offsite because there is simply not enough room for everything.

Talk to the CCRC staff about their policies on bringing in personal belongings and what limitations there may be so you can be prepared

If you are over the age of 65, fully or partially retired, have the financial means, and are in good physical and cognitive health, then a CCRC may be right for you. You also have to be emotionally ready to sell your current home and embrace the transition into alternative housing.

If you feel that you can’t afford or have no desire to live in a CCRC, there are other retirement community options such as independent living. Although independent living often has less amenities and is not built to sustain your evolving health in the future, it’s a much more financially feasible option for many seniors and a way to continue enjoying their independent lifestyle.

If you are contemplating transitioning from a private residence to a CCRC, there are several questions you should keep in mind when choosing one including (but not limited to):

  • What are the meal services like? What are my food options? Can I cook for myself?
  • What medical and personal services are included in my contract?
  • What services are available at an additional cost to me?
  • What leisure and social activities are covered in my contract?
  • How is security in my community? Is it gated?
  • Are there any price hikes or increases that I should plan on?
  • Is any portion of the entry free refunded upon death or relocation?
  • What penalties do I incur for terminating a contract?
  • What happens if I outlive my financial resources?
  • How many people live in the community?
  • What is transportation like?
  • What are the living spaces like?
  • Is there a visitation policy?

If you would like a tour of the CCRC, make contact with the community and arrange for one. If you have any hesitation at all, review your questions and make sure all of your concerns have been addressed. Talk to friends and family who’ve lived in CCRCs. Ask about the benefits and risks of signing on for a CCRC contract. If you are ready to dive in and commit to a lifelong residential arrangement for your retirement years, start your research today.

Words From Our Clients

Ron Ziebell
Ron Ziebell
November 1, 2021.
Second home did a great job of searching for several months for me. My mom‘s budget was pretty low but they searched and searched and finally found her a place although it was quite a ways outside of our area we were still very happy we found a place for her. Although it didn’t work out my brother and I increased her budget and I needed a new place in a hurry and second home found a place in Long Beach close to us that lowered their rates to meet our new budget. We are extremely happy with the new assistant living place she’s at with the memory care unit she needed desperately. Thank you guys for all your hard work! Ron Ziebell
Mike Grant
Mike Grant
August 12, 2021.
Second Home helped me with Alzheimer's care placement of my Father who just couldn't live safely at home with my Mother. Speaking with Erika put my mind at ease at making this tough decision as I never thought I would need to move my Father to a facility. She compared herself to a real estate agent, but for seniors, which is completely true! She guided me on different options and rates and even set me up with tours the very next day. I was always in the loop and she checked in with me each day to see how things were going/if I had any questions. Highly recommend Second Home!
Linda Koire
Linda Koire
August 1, 2021.
Second Home is and has been the most reliable business I have ever worked with. I got acquainted with them several years ago when I was searching for an assisted living facility for my brother. The compassion they showed, the knowledge they had of the industry was overwhelming. That was approximately ten years ago and my brother resides at the facility they recommended to this day. Just two weeks ago my 93 year old mother needed to be relocated as her condition worsened. I reached out to Second Home again, (??) in hopes they could help. Once again, in a matter of a few days Mike was able to locate the perfect place for Mom considering her current condition and my issue was solved! ♥️ Thank u, thank u to all the wonderful caring team at Second Home! Sincerely, Linda Koire Ojai, CA.
Neal Kerr
Neal Kerr
May 22, 2021.
I just want to say thank you to mike and his team for helping my family get my grandmother into an amazing home. We appreciate you all so much.
Heather Cohen
Heather Cohen
April 17, 2021.
This is the go-to resource for your senior loved ones housing. The company is professional and reliable. They develop a relationship with their clients that allows them to understand your needs and what your looking for in your budget! I was so happy I went with Second Home!
Amanda Joy Gilbert
Amanda Joy Gilbert
April 17, 2021.
I am so grateful for Second Homes! I am so stressed out with circumstances and they were so helpful. They had showed me so many resources and helped guide me to what would work beat for our family. My grandmother is now in a beautiful place. Thank you again Second Homes Seniors!
Linda Flores
Linda Flores
November 16, 2020.
I started looking for a care home for my mom on my own in the Torrance are of California. It was quite daunting since there is no comprehensive lists of care homes anywhere. A friend happened to provide me Justin's number so I called him, not really realizing what he did. Second Home has listings of care homes and can help you find the right one. This was a real godsend to me. I gave him mom's history, my price range and I had a list of 8 homes to contact within 24 hours. Plus I got other emails directly from other care homes. We interviewed 6, went to 4 and we then finalized our pick. Mom has been in her new home now for 2 weeks and is starting to thrive. Coming from a nursing home environment that treated her like a number, she is now in a home with only a few other residents and getting lots of attention. She lost 20 pounds at the nursing home. Now that she is in a real home that cooks homemade meals, her appetite has come back and she is looking and doing great and is positive about the future. This was the best thing we ever did for her and I could not have done it without Second Home. I am forever grateful for their help finding a wonderful home for my mother.
pearl laraneta
pearl laraneta
November 12, 2019.
First of all Justin Acuna is the best! My father is currently living with us, he is 88 years old! Justin calls me every couple of months to check in on us! I feel relieved and secure should anything change I can call Justin and he will help place my father into a wonderful, loving home. Thank for being there!
luz romero
luz romero
October 25, 2019.
Justin and the Second Home team were so supportive in assisting with finding the most suitable home for my mother. They were in constant contact with us during the home visits and selection process. Their compassion and professionalism is very much appreciated.
michelle wentz
michelle wentz
January 14, 2018.
Very helpful navigating a very difficult time. Our questions were answered honestly and thoroughly and with compassion and understanding. Defiantly recommend them for a great source of wealth and information.