National Senior Living Advisor

Frequently Asked Questions

CCRCs: Get the Facts

A growing number of seniors are choosing CCRCs for the lifestyle and health benefits they offer. Whether it’s the luxury accommodations, amenities with a full social calendar or the confidence of knowing your future health needs are covered, choosing a move to a Life Care CCRC is a big decision.  

Check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.  

What is a CCRC? 

A CCRC, or Continuing Care Retirement Community, is a senior living community that provides multiple levels of care.

There are two types of CCRCs: Rental and Life Care. A rental CCRC operates on a monthly rental fee basis. You pay a monthly fee based on the level of care you receive. Your typical monthly fee often includes meals, transportation, housekeeping and laundry, lawn care and some utilities, as well as emergency call monitoring and health monitoring services. These services may vary depending on the community. 

A Life Care CCRC charges a monthly fee, similar to the rental CCRC. However, Life Care residents also pay an upfront entry fee. Think of it as a down payment towards your future, because with a Life Care CCRC you receive guaranteed care — even if your financial resources are eventually exhausted due to no fault of your own.*

What levels of care are typically offered in a CCRC?

With mulitple levels of care in one location you have the assurance that if your health needs increase over time, you can continue living in the community you’ve come to call home in most cases.  

The levels of care in a CCRC could include Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care and Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing.

Who is a candidate for a CCRC?  

Anyone older than age 62 may be eligible to live in a CCRC. Because CCRCs offer multiple types of accommodations and levels of care, you can enter the community at any stage, including when you are still independent. As your care needs increase, you can move between accommodation and care levels.

Specifically, to join a Life Care CCRC you must initially move into independent living. If you need assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing at the time of your initial move in, our rental CCRCs may best meet your needs.

What should I know about entry and monthly fees for Life Care CCRCs?  

Life Care CCRCs charge an entry fee that is typically in the range of $150,000 to $300,000 — more or less, depending on such things as your floor plan, services, and the Life Care contract you choose. Many seniors choose to fund this fee through a portion of their investment portfolio.

Fees can vary depending on the type of accommodations. Monthly service fees average $2,500 to $3,500, depending on the type of contract. While the fee may vary slightly from year to year and depending on the level of care you need, your community may agree to cap increases; Brookdale voluntarily caps annual increases at the consumer price index plus two percent at most of its Life Care CCRCs.

How will entering a Life Care CCRC affect my taxes and estate planning?  

The IRS considers Life Care to be a pre-paid medical expense, so tax deductions are often available for portions of the upfront entry fee and monthly service fee — typically up to 40 percent of the fee. Because deductions can vary state to state, you should consult with your tax advisor to get a better idea of the tax benefits.  

Entering a Life Care CCRC can also affect your estate planning. A Life Care contract takes care of the portion of your planning that would address funding your health care needs; the contract ensures your healthcare needs will be met even if you run out of money (through no fault of your own). You may also choose a refundable contract that returns a portion (up to 90 percent) of your entry fee to your designated beneficiary after you pass away.

What are the health benefits of living in a CCRC? 

It all comes down to one thing: certainty. With multiple levels of care in one location, you can rest assured as your health needs require more attention over time; you won’t have to change communities to receive it. That continued link to friends, familiar surroundings and the place you’ve come to call home is invaluable.

Additionally, in a Life Care CCRC you know your medical needs will be met throughout your life — without you having to worry about how you’ll pay for the care you need.

These communities also encourage seniors to remain independent for as long as possible, without restrictions on driving, traveling and shopping as long as you’re able.

What is day-to-day life like in a CCRC?

CCRCs offer exciting opportunities to enjoy the good life each day. With lifelong learning programs, fun social gatherings, fine dining and special events, you’ll stay socially connected with opportunities to continue to grow. At Brookdale, our Life Care CCRCs are filled with new adventures, places to explore and fun with friends — just like a road trip! 

*The Life Care guarantee is subject to the terms and conditions of the Residency Contract.

Why Choose a CCRC?

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