One of the most difficult realities of aging is that many people will reach a point when they need assistance with daily life. There are a number of living and care solutions, but one concept offers flexibility and peace of mind that no other can: a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).
What’s a CCRC?
CCRCs are inclusive communities in which individuals can age in place. The community includes a variety of services within highly structured fee contracts that provide residents with guaranteed housing, residential maintenance, social activities and increased levels of care for the duration of their life. Unlike some communities, which offer only independent and assisted living levels of care, a CCRC offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care. Fairfield’s Paradise Valley Estates is a popular northern California CCRC that was founded more than 15 years ago.
Costs and Contracts
Most CCRCs have entrance fees as well as monthly charges. Fees vary greatly from CCRC to CCRC and are generally based on the level of care provided, type of housing, the contract signed, services used and whether optional services are included. Beyond costs and contracting, lies another important aspect to consider when evaluating a CCRC: long term financial strength. Carefully review a CCRCs audited financial statements yourself or seek assistance from a trusted attorney or financial planner.
Some CCRCs, like Paradise Valley Estates, have pursued and earned qualified, independent accreditations that assess quality standards within the community’s business and service practices. One quality measure, conducted worldwide by CARF International, measures a community’s conformance to proven standards for business practices and commitment to continuous quality improvement. Nationwide, only 10 percent of CCRCs have earned the rigorous CARF seal of approval.
Executive Director of Paradise Valley Estates Jim Mertz believes that one of the greatest ways to evaluate a CCRC isn’t online or even on paper. It’s an in-person visit. “When you walk on to our campus, quality is evident,” Jim says. “We work hard to create a place that can provide our residents with the life they want.” It’s a sentiment lived and enjoyed by many residents of the community.
Resident Bob Isherwood was attracted to the community for several reasons. “We were really drawn by the aura here,” he says. “It’s a really nice neighborhood – not too isolated. You also meet people quickly when you live here. Everyone is nice.” Resident Linda McCrory enjoys one perk above others at Paradise Valley Estates. “It has to be that it’s maintenance-free,” she laughs. “They go through my home top to bottom at least once per year and they find and fix things that I don’t even see. I don’t even have to worry about replacing smoke detector batteries or air conditioning filters. They take care of everything!”