If you’re starting to research your senior living options, you’ve probably noticed all the terms (and there are many): Life Plan Community; Life Care; Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC); independent living, assisted living and memory care; continuum of care; long-term care; entrance fee – ok, that’s already a dizzying list.
What you really need to know is what’s the difference between a Continuing Care Retirement Community (also known as a Life Plan Community or CCRC) and a Life Care community? And is Life Care right for you?
To help you choose the best fit for your retirement lifestyle, let’s look at the definition of both Life Care and Life Plan Communities.
Life Care: A quick explanation
All Life Care communities are Life Plan Communities/CCRCs. But not all Life Plan Communities/CCRCs offer Life Care. It can be confusing, but a Life Plan Community/CCRC is simply a type of full-service community. These types of communities offer a selection of residence sizes in a range of floor plans, and a variety of services and amenities. They also offer older adults multiple living options, which may include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and memory care, right on-site.
A Life Care community doesn’t describe the kind of care you get; it describes the contract you’re choosing. Life Care is just as its name implies: It’s care, for life.
Generally, there are three main types of contracts you may encounter:
Type A, Life Care
This contract promises care for the rest of a resident’s life without significant increases in monthly fees. Type A contracts require a one-time entrance fee which, in essence, is pre-paying at least a portion of health-related services that may be needed in the future. Consequently, the entrance fees are the highest of all these types of contracts. However, you’re assured of future health care needs and costs.
Type B, Modified Plan
This type of contract requires a lower monthly fee than Type A, and possibly a lower entrance fee. However, if you move to a higher level of care, such as assisted living or skilled nursing, you’ll be responsible for some of the cost. The financial cost of care with this contract is shared between you and the community. And you’re not protected against potential increases in health care costs over time.
Type C, Fee-for-Service (also called rental contracts)
A fee-for-service contract typically requires the lowest monthly fees and possibly the lowest entrance fees compared to Types A and B. However, if assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care or rehabilitation are required, you will have access to care, but you’ll be fully responsible for paying for all health care costs.
Generally, the entrance fee and monthly fee at a community that doesn’t offer Life Care is lower than at Life Care communities. However, here’s how your fees may increase significantly:
- If you’re in independent living but need assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, you must pay some of the cost for that higher level of health care – usually, that means you pay current market rates for that care, which can equate to thousands of dollars more a month.
- You may or may not be guaranteed priority access to the care you need – which means you’re not assured a spot in the community’s health center when you need care. So you or your spouse may need to move off-site at a different care community that you didn’t choose, paying whatever rates that facility charges you.
- If you and your spouse both need different levels of care, you may have to pay two monthly fees.
When you select a Life Care contract, you still receive every feature of a Life Plan Community/CCRC. You select a residence from a variety of sizes and floor plans. You enjoy access to all the services and amenities the community offers. And you have a continuum of care right on-site, should you ever need it.
Your entrance fee and your monthly service fee may be higher than what you’d pay at a community that offers Life Care. But you’ll enjoy these benefits:
- Your costs will be predictable. If you do need long-term care (assisted living, skilled nursing or memory support) you know where you’ll receive it, who will provide it and how much it will cost. You’ll know your expenses will be clear and predictable. And your increases will be minimal over what you pay in independent living.
- Care, for life. You know you’ll have health care available to you when you need it. We mentioned it earlier, but it’s worth repeating. When you need it, care will always be available to you whenever you need it. And, if you outlive your resources, you’re still entitled to priority access to on-site health care.
Life Care at The Waterford
In Juno Beach, The Waterford is the only senior living community that offers Life Care. But that’s far from all we offer. You’ll also find a community full of interesting, active older adults who embrace the opportunity each day holds. You’ll discover amenities like fine dining, a robust wellness approach and purposeful programs, courses and classes. And you’ll be more than relieved to know our friendly team members are here to take away the burdens of home maintenance and housekeeping.
Intrigued? We’d be happy to tell you more – just call us any time at 1.888.672.7494. Or fill out the form below.