Today I’d like to talk about Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). Recently I asked Jon Garber, the Executive Director of Ingleside at King Farm, to speak about CCRCs on my radio show on 630 WMAL in Washington, DC. These communities feature independent living, assisted living, licensed skilled nursing, and physical therapy and related services, all on one site. That means if one spouse needs help, the other spouse can stay in their independent-living apartment and still visit his or her loved one very easily. And as people get older and need more assistance, they don’t have to move to another community.
According to John, anyone considering a CCRC or another type of retirement community should take the following preliminary steps:
- Get to know the people and the staff. Take a comprehensive tour, make sure the community is attractive and well-maintained, and look to see if people are interacting and smiling and otherwise seem happy there.
- Ask the staff good questions like whether the community is growing or shrinking, how much debt it carries, and whether it has a sensible debt repayment plan.
- Don’t make a decision on the spot. Collect as much written information as you can—including financial and marketing data—and take it home. That way you’ll have time to review it at a leisurely pace without feeling pressured.
- Finally, don’t rely solely on your own judgment. Have a knowledgeable person, like an attorney, a good real estate agent, or a financial planner, read up on the community as well to make sure you’re not overlooking something important.
As you can see, there is some work involved. But don’t let it intimate you. The fact is that with some careful thought and research, you can find the CCRC or other retirement community that best meets your needs and won’t blow your budget.