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Retirement vs Assisted Living vs Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Retirement and Active Adult Communities

Retirement communities are typically for older adults who are still fully capable of living alone. Some cater to “active adults,” age 55 years old and older. Types include single-family, semi-detached, condos, and townhomes. Active adult communities don’t typically offer group dining facilities or healthcare services.

Whether rentals or owned properties, common features include:

  • Low- to no-maintenance exteriors
  • Communal activities, such as pools, golf courses, tennis courts, bike paths, clubhouses, planned events, etc.
  • Locations near attractions, dining, shopping, and entertainment options

Lifestyle community subcategories include resort, RV parks/campgrounds, university/college-based, houseboat, faith-based, and more.

As with anything, retirement communities for the active set have their pros and cons.

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Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities are for seniors who require assistance with meeting their daily needs, such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, taking their medication, and getting around town. The majority of these communities involve apartment or condo-style living. Some offer units with full kitchens, others offer mini-kitchens with refrigerators, sinks, and microwaves.

Residents eat meals together in dining rooms, and many communities boast chef-prepared meals. Dietary restrictions are observed. Planned activities, events, classes, and entertainment are part of the offerings. These communities offer personal care (some have salons), housekeeping, and transportation for residents. Community amenities vary, as do dining options and activities.

Also, most assisted living communities don’t provide hands-on health care services, but they will coordinate with healthcare providers. In fact, many contract with providers who come to the community itself to offer services to residents, such as doctors, dentists, podiatrists, and physical therapists.

If you or someone you know are interested in assisted living, make sure that you know your preferences. Finances will also be a consideration, since assisted living communities are on the pricier side. Some people may have long-term care insurance policies designed to cover some if not all of the costs. However, these policies have requirements as to when coverage begins.

Many assisted living communities include a separate memory care community for residents living with dementia. These and skilled nursing are more expensive than other types of assisted living options due to the higher level of care required.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) combine independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care (some with memory care options) in one community. Residents live independently until they require more assistance. Then they either move to the assisted living area or they stay in their apartment and their level of care increases. If necessary, they will later move to the skilled nursing/nursing home area.

As you might imagine, CCRCs are the most expensive living option for seniors, and many charge expensive entrance fees. Monthly costs increase as the need for higher levels of care arises.

Hope you found this insightful. If you have any questions or need some help finding a Retirement Community, Assisted Living Community, or Continuing Care Retirement Community, feel free to Contact Us anytime.

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