17 Replies Latest reply on Sep 20, 2014 11:22 AM by jkom51

    CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)


      We became residents of a CCRC (Continuing care retirement community). Sometimes i wish we hadn't. The food is frequently not very good. (Most of the women think it's OK partly I think because they don't have to cook.) I have registered complaints with the Dining Director many times but he doesn't do much about the quality of the food.I thought the residents would have some say about what goes on rere but it is run by our administrator who is hired by an umbrella outfit which has about 15 of these retirement places. We have a local board of trustees which seems to "rubber stamp" everything that comes from above or is decreed by our Administrator. Sometimes I wish we had stayed in our home and hired someone to mow the lawn and do other maintenance that I could no longer do. We paid a large entrance fee and the monthly fees also are high. Most residents seem to believe the place is OK but some of us don't. We actually don't own anything here, we just pay and pay, We were assured when we entered that we had enough savings and income to live here for the rest of our lives and I believe we do. Our kids are happy that we are in a place that will take care of us if we need assisted living or the nursing home so that is a good feature.


      We have a friend who is a resident where the residents own and operate the CCRC. And their heirs get back a substantial part of the entrance fee when the resident dies. I would suggest that anyone contemplating entering a CCRC find one where the residents own the place or at least have substantial power over how the place is operated.

        • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)
          Mary C. Rainey


          I am considering a CCRC.  Thanks for the tips.  Did you have access to their financials and check  on their debt level  before moving in?

            • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

              Their financials looked OK but that is a good question to ask. They asked

              for all our financial information before they accepted us to make sure we

              had enough money to last the rest of our lives. Unfortunately they weren't

              strict enough about this in the early days and we have some residents who

              can't pay their monthly bills in full. A group of residents started a

              "rainy day fund' to help out those people. We don't contribute to it but I

              believe that if they didn't pay the other residents would have to bear the

              cost because the contracts guarantee care for the residents lifetime. The

              outfit that oversees our place is "Kendal" which controls about 14 of these

              places in addition to ours and sends us a very large bill each year to

              support Kendal Corporate which has a number of probably highly paid



              We are now in  a "'repositioning" project, costing many millions of $$$, to

              try to make the place more attractive to prospective residents. This is to

              try to compete with similar CCRC's in the general area which are newer and

              may look more attractive. This was to some extent forced upon us by our

              Administrator, who we have or no voice in choosing. and Kendal Corporate.

              We had very little input in this decision but many of the residents will

              put up with wit whatever they are led into.


              If you would like to explore a place which is owned and operated by the

              residents there is a place in Exeter NH called River Woods which we have

              visited. We would have considered it but we wanted to stay in Ithaca near

              where we were living and had a 9 year old grandson whose family lived

              nearby. Our older grandchildren were 250 miles away and we wanted to see at

              least one grandchild grow to maturity. Of course this is a rather short

              term deal because they soon grow up.


              I don't want to bore you anymore. If you have any questions please contact

              me at gcasler3@gmail.com


              On Mon, Sep 1, 2014 at 8:24 AM, Mary C. Rainey <

              • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                I meant to send you a long message but I lost it before it got sent. So I don’t know if you got it.



              • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                I'd advise anyone investigating a CCRC -- or any type of senior facility -- to take their time researching the subject. It's a complex financial transaction and not easy for most consumers to "run the numbers." Some facilities have gone bankrupt in recent years, which caused both emotional upheaval and financial loss to their residents. We looked at 8 different facilities near our home when my MIL needed more help than we could give her. All were quite different from one another, in feeling and atmosphere, not just in how much it cost to get in.


                I'm sorry the OP isn't happy with the CCRC they picked. My MIL is very happy with the CCRC we selected for her, and we are very pleased with the care, the staff, the activities, and the food. In fact, her facility has food better than some of the restaurants we've gone to (we're foodies, and eat out A LOT)!


                Now, despite this recommendation, we ourselves would never live in the facility we picked for her. Our requirements are entirely different, and after seeing more than half a dozen facilities (all within 10 min of our current home), we feel we have a good handle on what kind of facility we want, and what kind of community feeling we're looking for.


                That said, we're still 5-10 yrs away from selling our home and moving. But we are firm believers in planning ahead, so we'll continue to explore other facilities in the next few years (no rush, happily) and hope to end up in a place that will work well for our later senior years.

                • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                  The spouse met a few ladies that moved into or were already at a facility in town that is run by a number of churches. She has eaten there for meetings or has been served food prepared there. It seems pretty good.


                  I sometimes think that it would be a good place for her when the time comes. There are good activities, including transportation to the arts center that we volunteer at. We know little about the financial details, but I think that there is a substantial up-front cost (probably some retrievable upon death) and as near as we can determine a monthly cost of $3-4,000. That is pretty substantial but the spouse probably could never manage the large house and yard located a few miles out of town by herself. If she sold the homestead she should have enough funds for a while.

                    • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                      My MIL is in the type of CCRC where the buy-in is modest - $6K - but the cost for Skilled Care/Nursing or Memory Care is at higher rates. We are leaning towards a different CCRC that has a large buy-in cost, but the monthly cost remains the same no matter which unit you have to move to. Both are non-profits, both highly-rated. But very different atmosphere and social feel.


                      Interestingly, we have found (in our area) there was little difference in the cost of Asst. Living/Independent units, from one facility to another. It's the SC/N or MC costs that jump dramatically if you are not in a one-price facility.


                      No matter what type of facility one is looking at, it is better to move in a little sooner rather than later which is often "too late". With a smaller buy-in one has more flexibility about trying different places if the first one doesn't work out for any reason. That is a great limitation with the higher-cost buy-in - the refund period is limited to usually 3-6 months. We have no children, so no interest in the type of buy-in where some of it is refunded to heirs.


                      Wherever one ends up living, I cannot recommend strongly enough - DO YOUR RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME. Go visit not only convalescent facilities - the type one may need when getting out of the hospital but still too sick to be at home - as well as several full-service retirement care facilities. Don't think so much about your neighbors visiting you, as focusing on the financial health and quality of services/staff of the facility. They're all geared towards helping you make new friends, so put your efforts into doing as much research as possible. One really needs to visit several places before getting a good "feel" for what places might work and which ones won't.

                    • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                      Hi George, I'm sorry you're so unhappy with your situation. My mom lived in a CCRC for 16 years before she passed away. She liked it while she was healthy enough to remain active, though of course the food couldn't be home cooked unless she wanted to do it herself, so she had some of the same complaints as you.


                      She placed a large cash deposit when she moved in and when she passed away we received a refund of 90%. The deposit guaranteed she would always have a private room whether she was in private, assisted, or nursing care. It had nothing to do with her cost or their services.


                      She complained continually about the cost, as all the residents seemed to do. But I was very pleased with how the facility handled their money -- she had a comfortable, safe, and well-maintained residence in each of the three levels of care. She was suspicious of the way the facility kept expanding, but it was due to the expansion that they were able to raise money for capital expenses and an Alzheimer's unit and to meet Medicare standards, which she made use of in her final years.


                      I understand that while you are young enough to do some of the maintenance on your residence that it would be great to live there, but I always told mom that I'd like her to understand what a relief it was to me that if something happened to her she would have help available. And I sure didn't want to have to drop my whole life to take care of moving her when she did reach the point where she absolutely needed health care ... that would have been a traumatic and difficult situation indeed, yet many people are forced to do it by circumstances.


                      I'm in my 70s now and hope I have good years ahead. I'm glad to see, of course, the development and expansion of home health care options; my long term care insurance will pay for that option and it should be cheaper than a CCRC ... but if that doesn't work out, I can only pray that I'll make the choice of moving to such a facility on my own. I have no desire at all, just like you seem to have done, to burden my kids and their families with making hard decisions and harder logistics to accomplish what I, for whatever reason, haven't done.


                      I know you're not "at home," but I really compliment you for the decision you made. If the facility doesn't work for you, perhaps while you're still young enough you can move one more time -- to a better situation. Meanwhile, best wishes. I'd love to hear what you decide.

                      • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                        This is very good information (for me).

                        • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                          A reminder to always investigate the finances of any facility you are thinking of. If you don't feel confident analyzing the financial statements of a CCRC - they are complex documents - you can try finding a professional to help you. Note that ANYONE you select should have some experience with eldercare issues:

                          - an attorney

                          - a tax advisor

                          - a financial fiduciary: this means a CFP or ChFC. Do NOT use anyone who is not a fiduciary; e.g., legally obligated to hold YOUR interests first - no matter how fancy a title or how long the useless initials are after the name. CFP, ChFC, or CPA who must also hold a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certification, are the only titles acceptable, IMHO.

                          - a Geriatric Care Manager; however, although these professionals (you must hold a GCM certificate from the GCM Association - an ordinary caregiver does not qualify) are useful for coordinating care, they do not usually have experience in reviewing corporate financial statements. I would not be inclined to use them for investigating business financials.


                          Here's a link to a useful article on bankrate.com about being careful in moving to a facility. There's more to think about than just liking the food or enjoying the bingo, LOL:


                          The financial risks of retirement communities

                          What happens when a senior living community goes bankrupt?

                          8/26/2014 Bankrate.com


                            • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                              I'm embarrassed that I didn't mention these CRUCIAL points!


                              Well said and well-organized to boot, jkom51. Thanks!


                              Back to my mom on the relevant issues: she had an estate attorney who was a long time friend/confidant she trusted with a good reputation and a CPA on his firm's staff. He reviewed all of the docs from her choice of CCRC when she enrolled in 1997. He helped her make some minor revisions to the contract she had with the company which its board then approved.

                            • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                              My wife and I are both 65 and have chronic medical problems which make staying in and caring for our home untenable. We are able to live independently right now, though, and have been accepted for admission by a local CCRC. A question that haunts me is whether we are "too young" to move to a facility where the median age is approaching 80. Has anyone else struggled with this issue?

                                • Re: CCRC (Continuing care retirement community)

                                  >>A question that haunts me is whether we are "too young" to move to a facility where the median age is approaching 80. Has anyone else struggled with this issue?>>


                                  Yes, and it's an important factor to consider. When we investigated various facilities for my MIL, we were often told, "Oh, that (MIL) explains it. You're too young to move here!" - although we are both in our 60's and my spouse has been gray-haired since he was 30, LOL.


                                  The facility we chose for MIL is not one we would pick for ourselves. We have little in common with the WWII generation. We are Boomers: we spend freely on ourselves, listen to Three Dog Night and Creedence Clearwater Revival instead of Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney, and are long-time foodies who wouldn't step foot inside an Olive Garden or Denny's. Not boasting, just pointing out important differences. MIL is contented and happy at the facility we picked, but it would drive us crazy. The food is good but plain; the activities like bingo and bocce ball are uninteresting to us.


                                  When we visited other facilities (8 total - all had to be within 15 min of our home, and full service including Memory Care as MIL has dementia), there was only one that was clearly full of "active seniors"; e.g., people more like us. It wasn't so much a question of age as just the overall social community. Like congregates with like, so this particular facility just had more "get up and go" to its atmosphere.


                                  Our difficulty is that it is far and away the most expensive facility to enter of all the ones we researched. We aren't completely sure we can afford it. Much will depend upon how much our single-family home sells for, when we are ready to move into a retirement community.


                                  We are going to continue to research retirement facilities on a more casual basis, looking further out geographically to see what else is available to us in the next few yrs. We estimate in about 5-7 yrs we will be ready to leave here, but it is always best to be prepared for the unexpected.