plb127 Asked February 2013

Anyone have second thoughts about their choice of CCRC?

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My dad is moving into an apartment at a CCRC very soon. He is very positive about the move. I have checked into the place and Dad has some friends there who are very happy and everything seems to check out o.k., but I'm starting to feel anxious. Dad, of course, wants to handle many of the meetings to see the realtor, sign papers, etc., but I am concerned that he is not understanding everything completely. The CCRC knows that I am involved and I even told them to call my Dad to get his permission to share things with me. This is all happening very fast and things are getting tense and uneasy because I feel the CCRC is not keeping me well informed and of course my Dad has forgotten about some things, etc. I have talked to several people on the "team" at the CCRC, in order to reinforce that there are a LOT of things going on right now and that this is a LOT for an older person to take in. Dad is getting cranky with them and me. In turn I am getting cranky with the CCRC. I feel that they should be MUCH better at dealing with elderly people and families with this huge life change. Is this how it usually happens? I am starting to feel suspicious about this place that seemed so great. In the beginning they were so helpful but now it seems that they're not. To add to this mess, I have found out that my only sibling (who has done nothing to help and says he won't help) is taking financial advantage of my father. I seem to be getting new information on this every time that I go to see my dad to help with all of the downsizing, etc. (I live out of town and my husband and I have gone every weekend to help.) I'm burning out fast from trying to do everything and I'm really worried that my dad doesn't understand it all. Do I get an attorney involved? I had one look over the contract for the CCRC (resident agreement) but all of these expenses for everything, i.e., fixing up the house, moving, etc. are really adding up. Any advice?

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JessieBelle Feb 2013
I hope he loves it there. It sounds like a place we all might enjoy. I'll have to go rattle my piggy bank to see how much is in there. :)
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plb127 Feb 2013
It is very nice for those folks who have increasing age-related issues and health situations that have not become yet dire. That way they can start out in an independent living situation that doesn't have the responsibilities of a house or even a regular apartment. There is so much "on the campus" including a mini-grocery, library, hairdresser, barber shop, etc. They also provide transportation to the regular grocery store once a week as well as for other events off the campus. Included in the monthly fee that my dad will pay is one meal a day of his choosing (of course you can eat all of your meals in the dining room for an additional fee if you wish. There are five dining facilities on the campus). Most of the residents end up having breakfast and lunch in their apartment and have dinner in the dining room.
The CCRC that my dad is moving to is large. It is on over 100 acres and has almost 2,000 residents, not in high rise buildings but clusters of four story buildings. They way that it is designed, you don't have to go outside if you want to go to another building (I'm not really sure how they managed this and I've even visited there but that is great during inclement weather, etc.) This CCRC is in a densely populated urban area but only 7 miles away from where he has been living, so it is nice that the location is not a drastic change for him. There are over 200 clubs there, everything from bridge to woodworking. You can have your own little garden plot (they till up the soil and water it for you.) There are many amenities included in the monthly fee as well as a "menu" of other services that are available for an additional fee. For example, if he should eventually require some help with say, getting dressed, they can provide that for an additional fee. Some CCRCs include weekly cleaning services of your apartment, in others, it is an additional fee. Beyond his apartment, if he should he need advanced level(s) of care, there is an assisted living unit, a skilled nursing facility, and a memory unit. In many CCRCs the monthly fee is the same for whatever your living circumstances, but the monthly fee is usually quite high. In others, like the one my dad is moving to, the monthly fee starts lower but goes up for more advanced care. Fortunately, he has a long-term care insurance policy that would kick in under those circumstances and help with the increase in cost. Theoretically, with rising health care costs, you could run out of money, however, usually in non-profit CCRCs such as the one my dad is moving to, they will not "kick you out" for that reason. They have an endowment fund that covers you if you get to that point. (Mind you, that is only after you have exhausted all of your funds.) All of this is not inexpensive but honestly, it is not as bad as I thought. To be able to "qualify" to get in, you have to pass a physical/mental interview to prove that you are able to live in the independent living apartment as well as a financial interview to prove that you have enough monthly income from your social security and retirement to be able to pay your monthly fees. As you stated in your earlier post, there are so many activities and opportunities for social interaction, that I know that it will be great for my dad.
These places usually have websites that are very informative and upfront about the costs. Hope that this info helps!
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JessieBelle Feb 2013
plb127, as I read about the CCRC's I wondered why they would be preferable to simple assisted living that is paid monthly. Since you know more about them, I thought you might share the benefits. The upfront cost started me, so I know there is more to them than assisted living.
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plb127 Feb 2013
Thank you for your help and support. I came to the realization that sometimes you just have to "let go" of things. I am so pleased that my dad was willing to do this and he moves in next week. The place is nice and the residents are happy. Yes, there are things about it that are kind of a ripoff and they are very clever business people who, despite being a non-profit, are all thinking first and foremost about closing the deal. However, I am in the position that he needs to make this move and make it now so that is what I have to deal with. My advice to anyone that is contemplating this choice though, is to thoroughly check things out as best you can and just do the best job for your parent that you can. CCRCs that are in a highly populated urban area usually have waiting lists. You're lucky if you can get in right away but even after your name comes up to the top of the waiting list, everything happens VERY quickly. If your loved one has decided to make this move, even if it is just to put their name on the waiting list, start IMMEDIATELY to start "downsizing" their possessions. Go through the clothes, kitchen, etc., etc. I can promise you that you will not regret it. Pay the $$ for a lawyer who can give you financial advice and look over the contracts. And be prepared for the stress. It is incredibly, emotionally draining. I know that it is so important for him that I stay positive and upbeat. Yes, I pray that we have made the right choice and I am so happy that he is still looking forward to it. We are very blessed.
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JessieBelle Feb 2013
I just read a bit more about CCRCs, so understand your concern better. I did not realize there was such a huge deposit that has to be paid upfront. Yikes. I think before I did that I would check to make sure how sound the business was. What would happen if the facility failed? Would your father get the money back? It all sounds very complicated, so I understand why you are treading cautiously. I have to modify my enthusiasm of the above statement. It was made based on traditional retirement and assisted living communities.
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JessieBelle Feb 2013
plb, is there anything in specific that worries you? I wondered if the price was reasonable and what type of facilities they had for their residents. Older people can get a lot out of living around people their own age. It is so much easier to relate to people who have the same experiences. My ex and I lived in a retirement community for a few years before he became my ex. It was very nice. They had a group of men that met every morning to talk over coffee. There were programs for the deaf people and activities every day of the week. Anybody who wanted to could participate and many became strong friends. Most old people need the sense of belonging to a group who accepts and likes them, and doesn't just tolerate them and treat them like children.

There were dances, movies, and pot luck. There was bingo, poker, and shuffleboard. If your father is social, do you think he would benefit from being around people doing activities. So I would say if the price is right and the programs are good, it is a good thing.
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