Continuing Care Retirement Community FAQs

CCRCs feature independent living plus access to an on-campus care center, which can offer assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care. Also known as Life Plan Communities, CCRCs are a great choice for seniors looking to continue enjoying their retirement lifestyle: They offer the freedom to come and go as you please, plenty of on-site activities and wellness programming to enjoy, and low-maintenance living that lets you focus on fun. And they’re also ideal for seniors who want a plan in place for care in the future, should they need it.

Below, we're answering some of the most frequently asked questions about CCRCs.

Understanding the Basics

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities, also known as Life Plan Communities, are a retirement living option that offers residents an independent lifestyle with the added benefit of higher levels of care—if and when they need it. These levels of care can include assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.

What’s the difference between a CCRC and a Life Plan Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are also known as Life Plan Communities. They offer the same kinds of services, amenities and contract structures; the terminology just indicates one community or operator’s preference for one term over the other.

The terms “CCRC” and “Life Plan Community” are interchangeable!

What is a Type A Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Also known as Inclusive Life Plan Communities, Type A CCRCs offer the most comprehensive plan for care. These senior living contracts typically include unlimited access to a community’s continuum of care services with little or no increase in a resident’s fees.

The monthly fee in a Type A Life Plan Community doesn’t change as you move between independent living and assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care. (The monthly fee may increase slightly over time, however, to account for cost of living, staff raises, and more.)

Inclusive CCRCs aren’t widely available within the senior living landscape — but 9 out of 10 Vi communities are Type A Life Plan Communities.

What is the difference between a CCRC and assisted living?

Assisted living is just one of the options in the continuum of care available at a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

CCRC residents begin in independent living, with the ability to move into higher levels of care (including assisted living) with little to no increase in their monthly fees.

How are CCRCs different from other retirement options?

CCRCs are unique in that they provide independent living in addition to comprehensive on-site care options. With other retirement options, residents may need to relocate unexpectedly should the need for assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care arise.

Can a married couple live in a CCRC?

Absolutely — many married couples move into CCRCs together! What better way to enjoy the next phase of your retirement than with your longtime life partner and best friend?

If one member of the married couple needs a higher level of care, their spouse can remain in independent living — never far from their loved one. Plus, there is no change in the monthly fee even if one spouse moves to a higher level of care.*

*other than annual monthly increases or ancillary care center costs such as supplies or additional meals

Can you have a pet in a CCRC?

Hoping to bring your furry friend to your new home? Every community is different, so you should double check with the sales team at any retirement community you’re considering.

Pets are welcome at every Vi community, but each of our 10 communities has a specific pet policy. Ask your sales counselor for specifics when you schedule your visit.

Do CCRCs provide 24-hour supervision and care?

CCRC staffing varies from community to community (all 10 of Vi’s communities are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week). 

Care center facilities (assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care) typically command higher levels of around-the-clock supervision and care based on the specific care and service needs of those resident populations. 

Do CCRCs require a contract?
Every CCRC requires residents to sign a residency contract to commence residency.
Do you own a home in a CCRC?

In a CCRC with an Equity model, residents purchase their home or condominium outright in lieu of paying an entrance fee for the community.

With other types of CCRC contracts, residents pay an entrance fee and do not own their homes.

At Vi communities, the entrance fee is based on a resident’s floor plan, care option and return option (which essentially refunds a portion of the entrance fee to the beneficiary of your choosing upon termination of your life-care contract).

Does a CCRC contract promise you a place for life?

Once you meet the health and financial underwriting requirements of your CCRC provider of choice, you will have the option to commence on a residency contract for that Community.

Assuming you can continue to meet the terms and conditions of your residency contract (as well as the general rules concerning residency your Community), you will have a home there to “age in place” for the rest of your life.

Whether you remain in independent living indefinitely or require higher levels of care (any combination of assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care), your residency contract gives you continued access to reside at your CCRC of choice.

Choosing a CCRC

Are Continuing Care Retirement Communities a good idea?

Every senior’s retirement priorities are different, but here at Vi, we certainly think CCRCs are a great idea! Vi communities are filled with remarkable people truly living life on their terms — and that looks different for every resident, every day. 

CCRCs are ideal for seniors who are currently enjoying the lifestyle of freedom and independence but who want to have a plan in place for future care, should they need it.

How do you choose a continuing care retirement community?

Choosing where you’ll spend the next phase of your retirement is an intensely personal decision! 

Having a clear sense of what’s really important to you will help you make the best choice for your future. Some factors to consider include:

  • Location
  • Your loved ones
  • The type of home you want (condo, townhouse, villa, etc.)
  • Your fellow residents
  • Must-have amenities
  • Food and dining
  • Care availability and quality
How do you decide to move into a CCRC?

Every individual has their own reasons for choosing to make the move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

Take a look at the benefits of CCRCs to determine if it’s right for you.

How do I evaluate a CCRC?

There are so many factors involved in evaluating a Continuing Care Retirement Community — different things are important to different people!

You might evaluate a community based on the following factors:

  • Location
  • Cost
  • Care availability and quality 
  • Lifestyle programming
  • Amenities (swimming pool, golf course, fitness center, etc.)
  • Dining
  • Staff 

This is a very personal decision! So think about what’s most important to you before you start touring communities.

We’ve created a downloadable PDF to help you brainstorm questions to ask and things to consider while talking with a sales counselor or touring the community in person.

Is a CCRC right for me?

Only you can decide whether a CCRC is the best place to spend the next phase of your retirement!

If you’re looking for a home where you can have an independent lifestyle, with a plan in place for future care, a Life Plan Community may be a great option to consider.

When should I move into CCRC?

When you move into a senior living community is mostly up to you (though every CCRC has its own age and medical qualifications for new residents).

According to the American Seniors Housing Association, most seniors make the move to a CCRC between the ages of 75 and 84.

However, opting to make the move while you feel independent allows you to enjoy the benefits of Life Plan Communities for even longer. The earlier you move in, the sooner you can start enjoying the amenities and activities of your new home. 

Continuing Care Retirement Community Costs FAQs

How much do Continuing Care Retirement Communities cost?

The cost of living in a CCRC varies greatly from community to community.

Residents typically pay an entrance fee (sometimes known as a “buy-in”) as well as a monthly fee that covers services and amenities, from dining and lifestyle activities to housekeeping and maintenance services. 

Depending on the type of contract, if a resident needs to move to a higher level of care while living in a CCRC, they can do so with little to no increase in their monthly costs.

Is a CCRC worth the cost?

Every senior’s priorities — and the investment they’re willing to make in their retirement living — are different. 

But chances are, if you’re looking for a community where you can enjoy an independent lifestyle but also have a comprehensive plan in place for future care, should you need it, the cost of living in a Life Plan Community will be well worth it.

Are CCRC entry fees tax deductible?

If you move into a Life Plan Community, a portion of your entrance fee may be considered a qualified medical expense, depending on your personal circumstances and the opinion of your tax professional or wealth advisor. That means you may be eligible to receive a one-time deduction for at least part of the nonrefundable portions of your entrance fee, in the tax year you paid it. 

But each prospective resident’s tax and financial situation is different — this is not financial advice. So meet with your wealth advisor or tax professional to discuss how much, if any, you can deduct. 

Can you finance a CCRC entry fee?

Except for equity-model CCRCs (where you purchase your home outright, often in lieu of paying an entrance fee), traditional financing is not an option for paying your entrance fee.

Most new CCRC residents pay their entrance fee with the proceeds of their home sale.

However, if the timing of your home sale and the due date of your entrance fee don’t work out perfectly, a financial institution might offer a bridge loan to cover your entrance fee. You would be responsible for the loan, plus interest, after completing the sale of your home, subject to the terms offered to you and mutually agreed with your financial institution of choice.

However, every prospective resident’s financial situation is different, and this is not financial advice. 

Ask the CCRC you’re considering whether they have an existing relationship with a financial institution who may be able to offer you a bridge loan.

Do you have to pay buy-in for CCRC?

In many types of CCRCs, residents pay an entrance fee, sometimes known as buy-in.

At Vi communities, the entrance fee is based on a resident’s chosen floor plan, care option and return option.

A return option, which ranges from 0% to 90%, essentially refunds a portion of the resident’s entrance fee to the beneficiary of your choosing upon termination of your life-care contract.

Why are CCRC fees so high?

CCRCs cost more than other retirement options because they offer residents a more comprehensive option that includes a continuum of care, rather than just independent living.

As in rental communities, Life Plan Community residents pay a monthly fee to cover the cost of daily life. In addition, residents in a Continuing Care Retirement Community pay a one-time entrance fee as well as ongoing monthly fees to ensure that they will have access to future care, should they need it. 

While residents at other types of senior living communities might have to pay market rates for higher levels of care, CCRC residents can access assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care with little to no change in their monthly fee (beyond planned community-wide increases).