What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also known Life Plan Communities, are a senior living option that offer older adults a vibrant and independent lifestyle in an “all-in-one” approach at a single residential campus or location.

They not only offer robust amenities and a host of organized activities, but also provide the added benefit of access to a comprehensive, on-site continuum of senior care. This care typically includes assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care services—when or if residents need a higher level of support or care.

How does a CCRC work?

Most seniors who make the move to a CCRC begin their residency in independent living. There, they continue to enjoy what they love most about their lives now, further enriched with readily available services—think concierge, valet parking, on-call maintenance, and on-site fitness club—plus turn-key amenities and signature dining, each intended to make retirement that much more convenient. 

Most CCRCs offer their residents access to a continuum of care in supportive residential settings, meaning they can receive assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care services as the need arises. Through these care transitions, CCRCs aim to put residents’ needs and lifestyle goals at the forefront of their continuum of care experience. 

From a financial perspective, CCRCs typically require residents to pay an initial up-front entrance fee (sometimes called a “buy-in”), plus a monthly maintenance fee or service fee. Some CCRC contracts build the need for future care into monthly fees (and offer inclusive care services on-site), while other CCRC contracts provide future care at market rates when those services are needed, with preferred access to on-site care.

Learn more about the benefits of CCRCs.

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What are the types of CCRC contracts?

It’s important to compare the different types of CCRCs available in the marketplace, paying particular attention to living spaces, amenities and services made available, and the levels of care offered. Prospective residents may also choose to narrow their search based on financial circumstances, expected future care needs, lifestyle preferences, and more. 

Residency contracts define each senior living community but boil down to three major factors: how much you'll pay up front (if anything), how much you will pay monthly, and what services are included for the fees you pay.

There are several kinds of CCRC contractual arrangements, each with its own benefits. Here’s a quick look at the different types of CCRCs.

Inclusive (Type A)

Inclusive (Type A)

Inclusive Life Plan Communities, sometimes referred to as Type A CCRCs, offer the most comprehensive plan for care services in one location. These senior living contracts typically include unlimited access to the CCRC’s continuum of care services with little or no increase in a resident’s fees over time, in exchange for an upfront, initial entrance fee. The entrance fee paid by the resident may or may not be refundable. 

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

Fee-for-Service (Type C)

Fee for Service (Type C)

Fee-For-Service Life Plan Communities, also known as Type C CCRCs, do not factor care services into resident fees—at least up front. This lowers the initial entrance fee paid by residents. At a Type C CCRC, if residents need care, they will be billed separately for all continuum of care services offered at the prevailing market rate. This model is commonly available in most areas.

Fee-for-service contracts are offered at Vi at Aventura, Vi at Lakeside Village, and TidePointe. Long-term care services offered within the continuum of care are available on site for an additional fee and based on availability.

Modified (Type B)

Modified (Type B)

Modified, or Type B CCRCs, are the least common type of Life Plan Community. These communities are a hybrid of Inclusive (Type A) and Fee-For-Service (Type C) offerings, and as such, their offerings vary by community. 

Typical Type B CCRC contracts include a limited number of days of access to continuum of care services in the CCRC’s health center or care venue billed at the monthly fee rate. Once those contractual care days are exhausted, each additional day of continuum of care services is then billed at the prevailing market rates.



Rental senior living communities are the senior living option most widely found in the United States. These senior living communities also have the lowest entrance cost. Residents simply sign a lease, pay a security deposit or nominal community fee, and move in. The monthly fee is based on the level of care you receive.

Like other types of CCRCs, rental senior living arrangements may offer a handful of services and amenities, social connectivity and a community feel, but they don’t provide a guaranteed solution for care in the future should the need arise. 

CCRCs with a rental contract may partner with assisted living, memory support, and skilled nursing facilities, but rental properties are not required to provide care services — and those services are not included in the cost of living there. If you require assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory support during your time in a rental community, you may be able to bring some of those services to you, but others will require a move to another facility. Either way, you’ll pay the current market rate for those services.

Equity or Ownership

Equity or Ownership

CCRCs that offer an equity model require that residents purchase their home or condominium outright. This purchase typically replaces the payment of an initial entrance fee to the CCRC, though the CCRC may still charge a Membership Fee or Community Fee in exchange for access to the CCRC’s amenities and services.

In addition to their home or condominium purchase, residents also pay a monthly homeowners association assessment or service fee. 

Should the need for care arise, Equity CCRCs typically provide priority access to continuum of care services on site or through pre-arranged relationships with off-site assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care facilities, usually at prevailing market rates. 

What are the benefits of CCRCs?

This type of senior living community offers a couple of unique benefits.

Social benefits: In addition to the turnkey amenities and host of services provided by CCRC operators, residents have access to a large social network of people with shared interests—separate but complementary to residents’ other group memberships or institutional-, community- or faith- based affiliations. 

Financial benefits: When considering the potential financial benefits of choosing a CCRC, prospective residents, with the assistance of their financial planners or wealth advisors, might consider senior living to be a long-term investment, a mode for asset preservation, and even an important aspect of their trust, estate and generational wealth planning goals.

What levels of care are available at a CCRC?

Depending on the type of CCRC, residents may have access to the continuum of care on site, or it may be offered through partners. In every type of CCRC, however, the levels of care are typically consistent, and include assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.
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Independent living

Independent living offers the benefit of dedicated housekeeping, maintenance, dining, and lifestyle teams that allow residents to focus on living a life full of things they want to do rather than things they have to do.
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Assisted living

For residents who need extra support with activities daily living, assisted living is staffed by a group of dedicated caregivers. Assisted living care providers may help residents with a variety of tasks, from bathing and dressing to medication management and administration.
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Skilled nursing

Skilled nursing is intended for residents who are in recovery after surgery, need rehabilitation services, or require long-term nursing care. Each resident’s care plan is built around their unique needs and may include physical, speech and occupational therapy.
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Memory care

Memory care, or memory support, is designed to offer an environment that enhances physical, emotional and social well-being for residents with cognitive conditions such as mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease.

Who should consider a CCRC?

CCRCs can be a wonderful fit for seniors who are enjoying retirement and want to continue doing so after their next move, in a connected, congregate-based setting. They allow you to continue making the most of life today. Many residents even bring their cars, pets, and favorite personal belongings with them. Opting to make the move while you feel independent allows you to enjoy the benefits of a CCRC for even longer.

CCRCs are also a great fit for practical advance planners who want to ensure their future care, should they need it. According to, adults over 65 have about a 70% chance of requiring long-term care services or support as they age. Having a plan in place that includes access to all those care options may mean more freedom to enjoy life.

How much does a CCRC cost?

Life Plan Communities take the big picture into account: where you are now as well as what care you’ll need as you continue to age. And because of this, they come with a higher up-front price tag. The result is that the cost of living in a CCRC varies greatly from community to community, and contract type to contract type. We'll help break down the costs.

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Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community right for you?

If you’re loving retirement and enjoying your current lifestyle but also want a plan in place for future care, a CCRC may be a great fit for you.

CCRCs at Vi

Vi has 10 luxury communities throughout the United States, from the Bay Area to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Each has its own distinct personality and unique amenities.

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