How Do Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) and Assisted Living Facilities Differ?

Author: Theresa Van Baalen

Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and assisted living facilities differ in the range of services they provide and the way they structure their fees. Assisted living facilities cater to seniors who are still somewhat independent but need occasional support with daily activities, while CCRCs provide a full continuum of care that includes a range of long-term care options, one of which is assisted living.

Understanding Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities offer a maintenance-free lifestyle in a homelike setting, catering to the needs of older adults who don’t require constant monitoring but may need some assistance with personal care and daily activities. This includes help with mobility issues and tasks such as grooming, dressing or toileting. Assisted living communities don’t provide extensive medical care, but they do support residents in managing their health by offering wellness and exercise programs, medication management and transportation to medical appointments. Residents usually live in individual apartments or rooms, often equipped with kitchenettes and private bathrooms. Residents share common areas, and services include meals, housekeeping and laundry.

As seniors age, roughly 60% will eventually require medical care or assistance beyond what an assisted living facility can offer. It may then become necessary to move to a nursing home at a different location.

What Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

A CCRC is a residential community that allows older adults to age in place by offering varying levels of care in different areas of the same campus. These levels include independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. As residents’ needs change, they can transition between levels to receive the care they require without having to move out of the community.

A Key Difference Between Assisted Living Facilities and CCRCs Fee Structures

While some assisted living facilities charge an all-inclusive monthly rate, others may charge monthly rent plus an add-on fee for extra services. Residents may also need to pay a once-off admission fee.CCRCs, on the other hand, require a large initial payment called an entrance fee, in addition to ongoing monthly fees. The entrance fee ranges widely, averaging around $402,000. The fee ensures that residents will have care for the rest of their lives, irrespective of the level of care they’ll need. Before admission, a senior has to sign contracts, of which Type A (extensive or full life-care contract) is the most expensive. Apart from guaranteeing housing, services and amenities, a Type A contract also ensures unlimited access to health care for life.