As the elderly population continues to increase, finding the right kind of senior care for your loved one may take a little more legwork if she can’t or doesn’t want to live alone any longer. One of the more popular options to consider is a senior living community. Commonly known as continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), these residences offer several levels of elder care, ranging from independent living to hospice.
Your loved one could move into the first level of care and be set for the rest of her life. CCRCs’ tiers span residential and independent living, personal care or assisted living, and nursing care all in one. Based on your or your loved one’s needs, she can move from level to level but remain on the same campus.
With Baby Boomers now reaching retirement age, it is only natural that communities are offering more choices in senior living that appeal to this generation. The need isn’t changing anytime soon, either. According to the Administration on Aging, seniors 65 and older currently represent about 14% of the population in the United States. By 2060, that figure will increase to 21.7%, or about 98 million. While many prefer aging in place, others will want to look into the many benefits senior living communities have to offer.
Advantages of CCRCs
Continuing care retirement communities offer a huge advantage over standalone communities. There is the reassurance that when your loved one’s needs increase, they can be met at a CCRC without having to search for a new facility that provides a higher level of care. This is particularly useful for couples because as their needs differ or increase, they can still be together in the same building or campus. These are also good choices for out-of-town responsible parties, power of attorney representatives and those who are good at planning.
The many benefits of CCRCs include living in the privacy of your own home within a community that is safe and secure, giving you peace of mind knowing that care and support are available if needed. Other benefits include:
· Maintenance-free living: Outdoor chores, such as cutting the grass, shoveling the snow and raking the leaves, are covered by maintenance crews, as are painting, pressure washing and the general upkeep of the exterior of your residence.
· Continuous care: As your health needs change, you will move from one tier of continuing care to another without moving to a new facility.
· On-site healthcare services: Senior living communities typically have medical personnel on staff to conduct comprehensive medical reviews, detailed physical examinations, and diagnostic procedures and tests. As care progresses, there is a larger number of staff, therapists, nurses and doctors to provide for your needs.
· Wellness/fitness programs: These focus on the issues that affect older adults, including balance, flexibility, arthritis, fall prevention, brain health, posture, and muscle or strength loss.
· Transportation services: Most older residents tend to depend on transportation services for grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, running errands, education programs and, for some, work.
· Safety and security: Having a secure building is of utmost importance when looking for a reputable CCRC. This normally includes a 24-hour emergency response system, monitoring systems, locked common areas to prevent intruders, security cameras and fire alarms.
· Sense of community/belonging: This is the feeling that all members matter to the group and to one another. They feel comfortable and safe in that living environment.
· Downsizing on your own terms: Because you are moving from one home to another, you don’t need to get rid of all your belongings like you would if you moved into a senior facility where you only have a room in which to reside.
· Peace of mind for self and loved ones: This means you don’t have any guilt about you or your loved one living in a residential community. You also have no worries about safety or care.
· Social opportunities: CCRCs offer residents many opportunities to socialize with others, including on-site and off-site activities, meals, movie nights, game nights, field trips and more.
· Meal plans: Residents with dietary concerns – diabetic, low-salt, gluten-free, etc. – can have special meals cooked for them.
· Great investment: Consider moving into a CCRC as an investment in your future, knowing your needs will always be met.
· Change in scenery: If you or your loved one has been living in the same home or neighborhood, moving to a CCRC can offer a change of scenery. It can brighten your spirits and give you something to look forward to.
Change Is Hard for Some
While it sounds enticing, there may be a few emotional hurdles to moving to this style of community. The dwelling called home for so many years is filled with amazing memories, and it can be stressful to leave those behind. Those concerns are easily overcome once you see all that continuing care retirement communities have to offer, however. Moving to one means understanding that, although you aren’t as young as you once were, there is still plenty of good living left to do.
Learn about other forms of senior living in After55.com’s Senior Housing Guide.