California Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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Continuing Care Retirement Communities in California

Older adults who live in the state of California have access to different senior living options, including Continuing Care Retirement Communities. As their name suggests, these facilities offer long-term continuing care to people over the age of 60. Continuing Care Retirement Communities in CA offer housing, access to medical care, amenities, and services, usually in one location. Lifetime contracts are available with certain facilities.

In the Golden State, we can find the California Continuing Care Residents Association, an advocacy organization that "speaks" for the residents in CCRCs. CA has over 100 communities of this kind, serving approximately 25,000 residents. From these, 74 (72.5%) are non-profit, from which only 11 offer life care contract (15%), and 28 (27.5%) for profit communities. A life care contract means that all the care levels will be covered for life, regardless of financial eligibility changes in the future.

Aside from the age requirements, CCRC residents are required to pay a substantial entry fee, as well as monthly fees. As established per contract, these fees will cover services, amenities, access to health care and housing costs. A health examination is performed, followed by the assessment of medical records and financial eligibility. Financial issues are often the number one reason for which a resident is rejected.

The CCRCs are regulated by the California Department of Social Services, the Continuing Care Contracts Branch. The majority of these can be found in the following counties: Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara. Retirement communities are located in specific towns, such as Union City, Alhambra, Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, Ontario, Napa, or Pasadena.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities in California - Financial eligibility and costs

Most CCRCs in CA require prospective residents to cover the entrance fee, which can start at $100,000 and go as high as $1,000,000. The payment plans differ from one retirement community to the other, but as a general rule, large entrance fees are to be expected. These fees will also different according to the type of contract and the location.

Monthly fees for California CCRCs vary between $3,000 and $6,000, these being valid for the independent living care level. The fees differ according to the size of the housing unit and the amenities offered. With additional care levels, such as assisted living, skilled nursing care, or memory care, the fees go higher, varying between $5,000 and $10,000. Life care contracts usually have higher fixed monthly rates.

In Orange County, for example, the average monthly cost of living in a CCRC is of $3,235. This is higher than the national average, which amounts to $2,538. In Los Angeles County, the fees for retirement communities of this kind are lower, with a monthly average of $2,811. Residents can use their assets and savings to cover entrance fees, as well as the monthly income to pay for the additional monthly fees (2-4 times the fee).

CCRCs in California - care levels and services

Continuing Care Retirement Communities have been developed with the purpose of helping seniors maintain a high level of independence throughout their golden years. These retirement centers offer the same care levels, starting with independent living. If the health care needs change, one can move into assisted living or skilled nursing care. The memory care level is generally reserved for those who suffer from degenerating neurological conditions, such as dementia. Hospice care is offered in certain facilities.

Independent living is the most common level of care, and the one most senior residents start out with. Their health needs are assessed permanently to determine whether these have changed, and the transition from one level of care to the other might be required. There are specific factors taken into consideration for a potential transition, including changes in ambulation (using assistive devices such as walkers or becoming non-ambulatory as a result of dementia) or feeding difficulties (feed tube).

Continuing Care Retirement Communities in California - amenities and options

Retirement communities in CA promise "life-enriching" amenities and options, and they often deliver on their guarantees. Residents can live in independent living units, alone or together with their partner. Should their health care needs, they can transition to assisted living and other levels of care. Some facilities in the Golden State offer rehabilitation and even short-term stays.

The variety of amenities is what makes living in a CCRC worthwhile. From fine dining to indoor swimming pools and fitness centers, residents have a lot of opportunities to spend their time. Many senior living communities have hair salons, social clubs, and outdoor sport courts. They organize cultural and recreational activities, worshipping services, and even off-site trips. Transportation to medical appointments is covered as well, and pets are welcomed.

Memory care amenities have developed significantly in the past few years, especially since more and more people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. From learning centers, where residents can fight the neurological degeneration, to memory gardens which stimulate their brain, it seems like a CCRC is the perfect place for someone who exhibits such cognitive difficulties.

Pros and cons of CCRC

California is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the US, with its Mediterranean climate and scenic location. If you are trying to plan ahead for your golden years, it might be a good idea to consider the pros and cons of living in a CCRC.

Pros of moving into a CCRC:

Enhances the resident's level of independence and self-determination

Long-term needs are well taken care of, regardless of the care level

Sense of security

Access to health care, services, and amenities conveniently offered in one location

Part of a community of peers with similar needs and interests

Opportunity to live your golden years in a comfortable manner

Live together with your spouse & overcome the grief of losing your partner more easily (community response, grief support)

Cons of moving into a CCRC:

Expensive, one might not be able to cover the entrance and monthly fees

Level of freedom not as high as if you were living on your own

Period of adjustment might be longer than expected

Acceptance might be denied due to pre-existing health conditions

Contract might be terminated without reason (three-month termination policy)

No ownership or ownership possible with very strict conditions

No improvements allowed within the housing units or these are made at the expense of the resident (if approved).

The most important question to answer is: where will you want to live? Once you have this answer, it will be clear whether a CCRC is the right choice for you or not. Think of such a retirement community as the setting which will meet both current and future health care needs, as well as lifestyle requirements.

Don't see your city/town/village/county on the list? Please use our search bar at the top of the page to locate 7381 CCRCs from 576 cities, towns and villages in California. Simply enter your city name, zip code or county.

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