CCRCs, also referred to as Life Plan Communities, are senior living communities that usually encompass all of the aforementioned senior living styles, and more. CCRCs are designed to help you age in place, allowing those who live in a CCRC to have peace of mind knowing they will not have to move far due to potential future health problems.
Most CCRCs are built on a campus and may include independent living, affordable senior housing, personal care or assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, memory support, adult day services, respite care, at-home services, and end of life and comfort care. By offering all of these services in one community, residents are able to stay at one place as their needs may grow. There are many other benefits to moving to a CCRC, too, like opportunities to engage in life-enriching activities, and a rewarding environment for seniors who strive to keep their minds and bodies in shape. CCRCs are able to go from supporting your vibrant, independent life to caring for you on your last days, when the time comes.
When your loved one reaches the end of their life, it is a hard time for family and friends alike. Senior living communities know this and provide end-of-life and comfort care for that reason. Sometimes referred to as hospice care, the goal of this type of care is to comfort terminally ill patients both physically and emotionally and provide any kind of spiritual support services they need. End-of-life and comfort care is also there to support the families of patients. The goal of most senior living communities who offer end-of-life and comfort care is to prevent people from feeling alone when they are approaching the end of their lives.
You can expect the staff and volunteers to provide emotional support and peaceful surroundings while providing end-of-life comfort to residents and their family and friends. Staff receives ongoing training in pain management and in ways to help people cope with the emotions surrounding the end of life.
Description: A studio apartment is the smallest offering that one will find when looking at a senior living community. Studios do not have a separate bedroom and are just one large space. They usually range from 300 to 600 square feet. Studios usually feature a kitchenette which would allow one to prepare small meals. Most studios will have common household appliances such as a refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. Where studio offerings differ from other apartment offerings is in the laundry situation. Some studios will come with a washer and dryer, usually only in the stackable option, although that is not typical. For studio apartments that do not have an in-unit washer and dryer, there are usually laundry services on the same floor. Most of these services are free of charge, and you can still do it yourself or utilize a housekeeping service if it is available.
Who is this for?: Given that this is the smallest apartment offering you can find, this is ideal for a single person occupancy. This is the entry-level option, meaning the price is the most affordable choice. Studio apartments are much more popular and common in city and urban environments. If you desire that type of setting or come from a similar background, a studio may be a great fit for you. In contrast, this may not be the ideal choice for someone who comes from a rural setting and has a lot of personal belongings to bring with them.
Description: A one bedroom apartment is just like it sounds: an apartment with only one designated bedroom. Many people may think of a one bedroom apartment as small, however, many one bedroom options also come with designated dens which can provide for extra workspace, leisure space, or storage space. One bedroom apartments usually range anywhere from 500 to 900 square feet, but you may find some locations over 1,000 square feet. One bedroom apartments come with full kitchens and, like the studio, may or may not have laundry options in the apartment. Also, like the studio, if there is not an in-unit washer and dryer set, there are usually laundry facilities available on the same floor.
Who is this for?: Though single occupants usually occupy one-bedroom apartments, this is the first size that appeals to couples who are interested in downsizing and don’t feel they need a ton of space. Many senior living communities do not have studio apartment options, so a one bedroom apartment may be their smallest and most affordable option. One bedroom apartments are many times the most popular choice in senior living communities given the affordability if the resident is not in need of a lot of space. One bedroom apartments are also the most utilized when someone may want to transfer from a larger unit on the campus, so demand is usually very high for these options.
Description: The two bedroom apartment option is typically the largest apartment option one will find when searching for apartments in a senior living community. They vary from approximately 700 to 1,400 square feet. Generally, two bedroom apartments will have either a bath and a half or two bathrooms. Also, some units may come with additional room space such as a den or study, although it is not common. You should expect a full kitchen and laundry within the unit. Though rare, some two bedroom apartments will not have a washer and dryer set in the unit.
Who is this for?: Two bedroom apartments in a senior living community are great for both singles and couples. The allure of apartment-style living rather than a cottage or villa is the ease of convenience of on-site campus offerings such as dining, fitness centers, activity rooms, etc. These amenities are often attached to the apartment building, which makes it especially nice during inclement weather, so there is no need to face the elements to take advantage of the services that are provided to you. Of all apartment-style living options, a two bedroom apartment requires the least amount of downsizing.
Miscellaneous: Apartments usually have additional locked storage areas that are available for residents to use. Depending on the senior living community, this may be a free amenity or may be available for an additional fee. These extra storage spaces are great for storing seasonal decorations, gardening and outdoor supplies, and anything else you don't use on a frequent basis. Some of the newer senior living apartment complexes have reserved underground parking to keep your vehicle safe and dry. For the adult child looking for their loved one, apartments are very desirable given that the apartment lifestyle often offers everything under one roof. You can also have peace of mind knowing your loved one is residing in a secure building with on-site call systems in case of any kind of emergency.
Pros: affordability, convenience, location
Cons: size, storage space (no personal garage)
Description: In recent years, the trend in senior living accommodations has been predominantly apartments and high rise condos. Although this is a very popular option, there is still a vibrant market for those looking for more space. Cottage or villa retirement living is the perfect happy medium for those who still want space and privacy, while having all of the amenities of a senior living community. You are likely to see a broad range in square footage in these types of floor plans. Cottages and villas can usually range anywhere from 800 square feet to 3,000 square feet. It is common for cottages and villas to come with a garage, either attached or detached. Garages are usually big enough to house a single car, and many come climate controlled and may even have enough extra space for a golf cart. Cottages and villas generally have a den, 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 to 2 bathrooms. Every senior living community varies, but cottage and villa style homes will either be standalone or set up as a duplex. An open floor plan with a kitchen island is becoming more popular versus the traditional floor plan that hosts a separate dining room. Cottages and villas usually provide outdoor space for more hobbies than an apartment would allow. In most senior living communities, residents of cottages and villas are able to plant their own garden and have a personal section of lawn. Cottages are usually more customizable than apartments as well, given the additional space. Some residents will even take the additional space provided by the garage and convert it into a spare den, a personal workshop or even a gym.
Who is this for?: Cottage and villa style homes typically attract couples over singles. This option is also very appealing for someone coming from a larger home looking to downsize without losing all sense of space and privacy. Sometimes people feel that apartment-style living can be "too maintenance free." Cottage and villa style homes give the ability to maintain independence regarding home personalization and maintenance. While most senior living communities offer services for any maintenance you might need, including lawn care, cottage and villa style living may provide the option to do these things yourself, if you prefer. When someone lives in a cottage or villa, there is said to be an associated feeling of youth, as their position on a senior living community's campus might require them to walk further to get to community activities. Many say they prefer having this extra distance because it allows them to get more exercise than they would if they lived in an apartment building. In addition to all the previously mentioned, cottages and villas can be more accommodating for guests to stay while visiting and capable of hosting social functions. The primary allure of cottage and villa style living is the feeling like you are still living on your own, but with the peace of mind knowing that additional care is available, if needed.
Description: Terrace homes and lodges are the luxury line of floor plans in the senior living community market. These homes are not typical to see in many senior living communities, but they are out there. Terrace homes and lodges are the largest floor plans available, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet. The main difference between terrace homes and lodges is in the amount of space. Typically, lodges are stand-alone homes with individual lots, driveways and garages, while terrace homes will have a shared entryway and one or more shared walls. Additionally, terrace homes may have an underground parking garage, rather than a private parking area. Terrace homes are a perfect blend of cottage and apartment living. Both of these styles of senior living typically encompass fine detail throughout the architecture and interior design, sometimes with signature designs, such as Frank Lloyd Wright styles. Terrace homes and lodges usually feature gourmet kitchens, wireless technology, gas heat, and two-car garages. It is also common to see this style of home built on the concept of going green, which can include solar panels that allow the homes to be 100% naturally powered.
Who is this for?: The typical persona of this style of senior living is a younger (55-64) couple who is still very active, although they are available for anyone. Terrace homes and lodges are typically for those who want all the perks of living a lavish life while also possessing the security of lifetime care and a zero-maintenance environment. For the most part, terrace homes and lodges allow individuals to live the same style of life they were before their move, while adding all of the perks that come with living at a senior living community. In many cases, lodges are reserved by future residents before they are built, enabling them to fully be a part of customization and finishes from the start of construction, which makes this a very attractive option to some. Terrace homes and lodges are great for someone who would like the ability to fully customize their home to their own personal tastes.
When you make the decision to move yourself or your loved one into a senior living community, odds are there will be a plethora of amenities available to you. This is absolutely something to keep in mind when making the decision to move. Find out all that the senior living community offers, and if they do not provide an activity that you enjoy, find out if you can bring it to the campus. Often times, senior living communities encourage residents to start new clubs or activities that allow them to be social with others while doing something they love. It is important to know that the senior living community you are interested in fosters a sense of community and promotes a blend of unique talents and interests. Senior living communities could be nestled among beaches, cities or wide-open country, and with each of those come exclusive opportunities.
Every senior living community is different, but some of the common amenities you can expect to find include:
When you make the decision to place your loved one under the care of a senior living community, there are often many worries and questions that will come up during the process. One of the biggest aspects of moving your loved one into a senior living community is the change in responsibility of you as a caregiver to the community providing care. If you have any questions you feel are left unanswered, reach out to the senior living community, and don’t be afraid to ask very specific questions.
When your senior loved one resides in a senior living community, you have the ability to contact them as much as you would like. In many communities, residents are able to have a landline in their room and may have their own personal cell phone. Additionally, it is common to see a phone available in common areas for those who are not interested in having their own device. You also might find communities that have the capability to set up virtual visits for residents and their families. This is especially ideal for those who have family far away and still want the ability to see their relatives in real time. Visiting hours at senior living communities are usually 24/7.
A resident’s responsible person may contact staff at any time to discuss questions or concerns. In a personal care or assisted living community, each resident has an assessment completed at least annually, or more often if their condition changes significantly.
When your senior loved one resides in a senior living community, they will interact with staff daily. The type of staff they will encounter varies depending on the level of care they are receiving. In all levels of care, residents may come in contact with all types of staff during their stay. From servers during meals to housekeepers who regularly clean apartments and common areas, staff are encouraged to chat and help residents when needed. As the level of care increases, so does the amount of staff they interact with.
Here are a few examples of staff they may encounter in a skilled nursing community:
Planning for retirement can’t begin soon enough. In fact, any good professional financial advisor will strongly recommend having enough social security, pension and investment income to remain financially afloat for at least 20 years following retirement.
In addition, a health crisis could strike any one of us at any time in our lives, even if we have been given a clean bill of health by our physician. With medical costs at an all-time high, soon-to-be retirees cannot afford to neglect pursuing retirement planning strategies that provide reliable and ample returns on investments. Even with insurance and Medicare helping to pay medical bills, one week in a hospital could possibly wipe out everything a senior has worked for all their lives.
Estate plans and wills are also vital components of a solid retirement plan. A misconception exists that wills are simple documents stating who gets what after someone dies. In actuality, developing a will that can withstand objections brought up in probate court is complex and time-consuming. Family estate attorneys recommend everyone begin building a will as soon as they begin accumulating valuable items, such as real estate, savings accounts, IRAs or other liquid assets.