A continuing care retirement community (often called a CCRC) is a great place for older adults to take comfort in knowing they have various lifestyle and care options that are designed to ensure their peace of mind today and tomorrow. CCRCs provide a place where seniors can live, socialize and receive the care they need, while knowing that they can remain in the same community should their care needs change in the future.

The difficult part sometimes, however, is picking the right CCRC that will meet your individual needs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

CCRCs are a combination of residential care options — independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care. CCRCs provide a ”continuum of care” for residents, so that residents can move from one level of care to another when the time comes. In some cases, the various facilities are centrally located on one ”campus.”

Level of Care

When researching a CCRC, find out the different types of care that are available. What medical services are provided? Ask about routine medical care, treatment of illnesses and diseases. Is emergency care easily accessible? Are there physical therapists or rehabilitation specialists on staff? In addition to medical care, are housekeeping and maintenance services available?

Living Spaces

Residents of CCRCs range from people who can live independently, those who need some assistance with daily tasks and those who require the constant attention of a nursing facility. Depending on which option is right for you, your living area might vary. Look for a space that feels like home — with large rooms, lots of closets, spacious bathrooms and modern kitchens.


The CCRC you choose should be a good fit for your lifestyle. Does the residence have an elegant area for dining and entertaining? What types of food are served? Look for a full range of social and physical activities that you will enjoy, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf, libraries, computer rooms, barber and beauty shops and transportation services.

Special Needs

In addition to specific recreational activities, it is important to inquire whether or not the community can manage any special needs you might have. For example, if you or your loved one may have Diabetes, ask about special meal plans. Or, if your loved one has Alzheimer's disease ask about the staff’s expertise in that area.

Safety Features

Look for a safe, secure environment that has emergency-call systems, is handicapped-accessible and has fall prevention devices, such as hand-rails and bathroom grab bars. What security and safety features are in place across the campus? Is the facility staffed 24-hours-a-day? Would you be able to get around safely if your health and mobility needs changed?


The contract should include details on the housing and care obligations of the CCRC, as well as its costs. Check the clauses governing transfer from one level of care to another.

Entry Requirements

Oftentimes, a CCRC wants the resident to move in while they are independent and able to enjoy the social, recreational and cultural opportunities. The CCRC may also ask for information about your age, pre-existing health conditions and financial status. You might have to have a medical exam as part of the application process.


CCRC residences are mainly paid for out-of-pocket. Most require entry fees or down payments, and a monthly fee that covers rent, common areas, home maintenance, meals and, if nursing care is included, a payment toward future nursing care expenses.

While some of Brookdale’s senior living communities provide a full continuum of care, the CCRC designation often refers to a limited number of our Brookdale retirement communities, where a refundable equity payment (or Entry Fee) is combined with a Life Care guarantee and with various packages of discounted health services to add more predictability to our residents’ future.*

Schedule a Visit

The best way to evaluate a CCRC is to visit in person. Call a national senior living advisor to arrange an appointment to tour the facilities, meet the staff, see the living spaces and enjoy a meal.

Written by Agingcare.com

* The life care guarantee is subject to the terms & conditions of the Residency Contract.