North Carolina Continuing Care Retirement Communities

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Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina

Continuing care retirement communities in NC accept senior adults who are interested in living independently, but within a community that offers access to healthcare, amenities and services. Known for short as CCRCs, these communities allow residents to change the level of care, in accordance with their needs. The main advantage is that one can remain within the same campus, the familiar setting contributing to the much-needed peace of mind.

How does one apply for admittance? The first thing that you need to do is organize a list with potential choices. You can then inquire about admittance criteria and even set up a virtual tour of the respective community. Generally-speaking, most CCRCs require residents to be over a certain age (from 55 to 62), with a reasonable state of health, and an acceptable level of financial independence. Other criteria might apply, so it is always a good idea to check the admittance policy first.

North Carolina has over 60 continuing care retirement communities. These are located, among other cities, in: Newton, Charlotte, Arden, Southern Pines, Chapel Hill, Burlington, High Point, Pinehurst, Wilmington, Cary, Raleigh, Concord, and Salisbury. The North Carolina Continuing Care Residents Association is an NGO that supports best practices in such communities. All CCRCs in North Carolina are subjected to the authority of the Continuing Care Advisory Committee.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina - financing and costs

Most CCRCs require an entrance fee to be covered, which is often substantial. When this fee is not requested, residents must cover high monthly fees – this is known as a fee-for-service policy. In the communities with equity buy-ins, the monthly fees are lower, but hard to cover on a low or medium income nonetheless.

How can a senior adult cover the requested fees? A good option is using retirement funds, as these are usually gathered during the active work years. Some prefer dipping into other savings or they might sell various assets. Considering that they will be making the move into a retirement community, it also makes sense to sell their home and use the respective funds to finance their move.

The entrance fee for North Carolina CCRCs can start as low as a few thousand dollars and go over one million. However, the typical fees vary between $68,000 and $370,000. As for the monthly fees, these can start at $1,000 and go over $8,000. Once again, the typical fees vary between $2,000 and $4,000. The national average is $2,500 for comparison purposes, and it is safe to assume that North Carolina is a bit more expensive.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina - care levels and services

Continuing care retirement communities offer four main levels of care: independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and memory care. Some CCRCs might also offer respite care, hospice care, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Independent living is the level most residents begin their CCRC experience with, as it allows them to live on their own and function without assistance. If the health needs become different and one begins to require personal assistance, the transition to assisted living is recommended. Skilled nursing care is advisable to those who need complex care, including rehabilitation on a long-term basis. Residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can transition to memory care, where they benefit from constant monitoring and assistance.

All CCRCs support the idea of aging in place, with transitions being encouraged when the time is right. Once a resident is no longer capable of living or functioning alone, he/she can choose a suitable level of care. Periodical assessments might be useful in deciding the need for a transition, with the following factors being taken into consideration: state of health, level of independence, acute needs, and risk of injury. Often times, the transition to a higher level of care is recommended, so as to protect the resident from further deteriorating.

The services offered within a continuing care retirement community enhance living standards, allowing senior adults to enjoy their daily existence. What kind of services does a CCRC offer? The list might include: general maintenance and housekeeping, Internet, cable, telephone, emergency call system, scheduled transportation, 24/7 security, laundry and linen service. Additional services might be provided within each retirement community.

CCRC in North Carolina - amenities and options

Before moving into a CCRC, you should analyze the different options each community has to offer. Virtual tours allow you to check out the various living options and current floor plans; some communities only have condos or apartments, while others include garden homes, such as townhouses and cottages. Spouses are allowed to live together, and they can remain within the same familiar setting even when the care level changes. As for pets, you are in luck, as most CCRCs are pet-friendly.

The amenities one will find in a continuing care retirement community are impressive to say the least. Among the most common ones, you will find: indoor/outdoor swimming pool (including heated pool), fitness and wellness center, tennis court, golf course, library, billiard room, computer, religious service, common areas, social clubs, hiking/walking trails, butterfly garden, woodworking shop, etc. Amenities for people that require memory care include: memory gardens, learning centers, art studios.

What are some positives and negatives of moving into a CCRC in North Carolina?

If you want to be part of a community and maintain an independent lifestyle at the same time, moving into a CCRC might be a good idea. North Carolina retirement communities offer several different levels of care, with permanent access to healthcare, services and amenities. Here are a few more pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros of moving to a CCRC in NC

Surrounded by people who are of similar age

Opportunity to meet new people and develop meaningful friendships

Lower risk of feeling isolated, depressed or anxious

Can transition from independent living to a higher level of care, as your need might be

Dedicated services for senior adults who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia

Cons of moving to a CCRC in NC

Some senior adults might not feel comfortable with the lack of age diversity

Might have a hard time adjusting to the new living conditions and having to meet new people

For campuses located on the outskirts of towns, the risk of feeling isolated is still present

Transitions are not always comfortable or desired

Entrance and monthly fees are expensive.

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