Choosing to move into a continuing care retirement facility (CCRF) is one of the biggest decisions you can make in your later years. A lot of factors go into getting financial matters in place and ensuring that a particular facility is right for you. However, there are some resources and tips that can make the process of choosing a continuing care facility a little more manageable.
Resources for Finding a Reputable CCRF
According to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Industry in the United States there are over 2,000 continuing care facilities with more than 600,000 residents. CCRFs can be nonprofit or for-profit entities. For a list of nonprofit care facilities, you can research your options at Leading Age, and for a list of all facilities including those for-profit you can research communities (for a $24.95 fee) at the Retirement Living Information Center.
Another consideration when researching CCRF options is to see whether or not the community is CARF accredited. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or CARF, has a voluntary accreditation process that ensures that the facility has a commitment to high quality operational and service standards. However, the process is quite expensive so you should not automatically discount care facilities purely because it lacks CARF accreditation.
Other Considerations when Researching CCRFs
Once you have narrowed your search to a few CCRFs from the national lists more specific attributes of each facility should be researched. Here are a few other considerations that should be taken into account when choosing a continuing care facility:
· Look at the community license
Every state has its own licensing for CCRFs, and when visiting you should see the license prominently visible with contact information for the specific report for that facility. The report can give you information regarding staffing, accidents, or other major program deficiencies.
· Research the financial contract options
Most financial options are broken into Type A, Type B, and Type C contracts. Buying into a CCRF is a very complicated financial transaction because you are combining a place to stay with long term care insurance. An experienced elder law attorney will be able to look at the available contract options, as well as any potential refunds, and explain them to you in an understandable way.
· Look at amenities provided
The available amenities at a CCRF can often make or break a place for potential residents. Does the facility have a doctor and hairdresser on site? Are there events that allow for socialization with other residents? What is the pet policy? Is there a fitness center on site or transportation to outside facilities? All of these options and more should be looked into before choosing a CCRF.
· What is the availability in skilled nursing wings
When choosing a CCRF you are planning for three stages of stay: independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care. As the average age of residents is increasing the availability in skilled nursing is decreasing. Check the options for each facility in regards to its skilled nursing care as well as any hidden costs or fees.
· Ask for a trial stay
Most CCRFs have a trial program for potential residents where you can stay for a week or two and get a true feel for the facility. It gives you the opportunity to get to know the staff, learn the routines, and get a true feel for the place. If no overnight program exists try to visit a few times at different times of the day or for a whole day in order to know how the facility operates.
· Talk to current residents
Every reputable CCRF has some type of residents’ counsel. Speak with members of the counsel and other residents in order to get a true and unbiased opinion of the facility. The current residents will be able to give you the most realistic and honest opinion about all aspects of the community.