Choosing a Life Plan Community, also referred to as a CCRC, is a big decision and one that is probably unique from other decisions you have made. It is a lifestyle, financial, housing, and healthcare decision all wrapped up into one. Making an informed decision can help secure your future regardless of unforeseen health situations.

Here are a few important aspects to consider:

  • There are five main types of contracts offered by CCRCs. You should have an understanding of each type and which is most suitable for your unique situation.
  • Many CCRCs require an entry fee. Entry fee contracts will either be standard, “declining-balance” contracts or “return of capital” contracts.
  • Under a standard contract you will not recoup any of your entry fee if you decide to leave the community- or in the event of death- if the occurrence takes place after more than a just few years from the time you take occupancy within the community. During the first few years you would likely receive back some portion of the entry fee.
  • “Return of capital” contracts guarantee that you (or your heirs) will always receive back some portion of your entry, no matter the length of time. All other things being equal a return of capital contract will generally require a higher entry fee than a standard, declining-balance contract. Be sure you understand the specific stipulations for receiving a refund. For instance, does your unit have to be re-sold or re-occupied before the refund will be paid? Click here to learn more about return of capital contracts.
  • Take time to understand the financial viability of the CCRC. Financial stability of the community is important in order to ensure that it will be able to provide on an ongoing basis the quality of care and services that you expect and have paid for. Consider consulting with an accountant or financial professional that is well-versed in CCRC contracts and finances. A more detailed discussion about financial stability at CCRCs can be found here.
  • Although CCRCs offer many attractive services and amenities for those living independently, it’s important to remember that one of the primary reasons for considering a continuing care retirement community is access to healthcare. Be sure to inquire about the levels and quality of care provided.