Frequently Asked Questions
- If I move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), am I guaranteed care for the rest of my life?
- Do all continuing care retirement communities provide transportation for residents?
- What will I do if my money runs out?
- Why did a retirement community reject my loved one? She has enough money.
- The retirement community says my loved one needs to go to the assisted living section. Can I go too?
- What happens if I decide I want to leave the CCRC?
- May I have a family member stay in my apartment for a week or a weekend?
- Who decides when I need to move to a different level of care in the retirement community?
Q: If I move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), am I guaranteed care for the rest of my life?
A: Continuing care retirement communities provide a “continuum of care,” which means access to care from independent living, through assisted living and nursing home care, as needed. However, the CCRC must be able to provide the care the resident needs and the resident must be able to afford this care. For example, CCRCs do not provide acute care nor do they provide some types of specialty care.
Costs may remain much the same, or may increase as the resident moves from one level to another, depending on the type of contract that is signed. Under the extensive contract lifetime care is provided. This contract has a large entrance fee and ongoing monthly fees, to cover whatever long-term care needs should occur. The modified and fee-for-service contracts are initially less expensive because the resident pays many expenses out-of-pocket. Under either of these contracts, the cost will increase if the resident moves to a more intensive level of care.
Q: Do all continuing care retirement communities provide transportation for residents?
A: Yes. All retirement communities provide some type of transportation. It may be limited to taking residents to locations on the campus of the CCRC, or may provide regular group trips to shopping centers, cultural events and other locations. There may be an additional fee for some transportation. Advance reservations may be required for some, or all, trips. Many retirement communities encourage residents to bring their own car and continue driving for as long as it is safe.
Q: What will I do if my money runs out?
A: The Code of Maryland Regulations require the CCRC to stipulate in the contract that it will not terminate a resident agreement if the resident is unable to make payments due to unexpected financial adversity beyond his/her control. However, the agreement also states that subsidies from the retirement community will be provided to residents only as long as the general financial well-being of the retirement community is not at risk. Options for a resident who runs out of money may include spending down the entrance fee, or signing documents that may pre-approve repayments from the resident's estate. Consult with the financial office staff or social worker if you experience problems.
Q: Why did a retirement community reject my loved one? She has enough money.
A: Individuals must meet health criteria for admission to a CCRC as well as financial criteria . Perhaps your loved one had medical problems that prevented her acceptance. Although some retirement communities will accept new residents directly into the assisted living or nursing care sections, others limit entrance to only the independent living section, where residents must be able to function independently. Some retirement communities also prohibit entrance of new residents with certain specific types of illness or disease. Suggest that she ask the retirement community why her application was not accepted. This information may help her decide if she wishes to apply to another community.
5. Q: The retirement community says my loved one needs to go to the assisted living section. Can I go too?
A: Some retirement communities will allow the “well” spouse to move into assisted living so the couple can remain together, if they wish. However, experience has shown that it is best that an individual resides in the area that best matches his or her level of functioning. The “well” spouse probably needs respite and most likely will thrive in a more independent section.
6. Q: What happens if I decide I want to leave the CCRC?
A: Residents have every right to leave, if they choose. The contract you sign will indicate what portion of the entrance fee, if any, is refundable. The refundable fees may be pro-rated and depend on the length of time you resided at the retirement community. The formula to determine the pro-rated amount is specified in the regulations.
Q: May I have a family member stay in my apartment for a week or a weekend?
A: Most retirement communities will accommodate overnight guests for a limited time period. An extra cot may be set up in your apartment or there may be special guest rooms elsewhere within the community. Check with the CCRC regarding its policy and if there is a fee for the stay and for meals.
Q: Who decides when I need to move to a different level of care in the retirement community?
A: The CCRC usually convenes the Interdisciplinary Team to determine whether a resident should move to the assisted living or nursing care section. This team will consist of a physician, a nurse, a social worker, and the resident and/or a family member. Policies may vary from facility to facility, so check before the contract is signed. There should also be an internal appeal process if you are dissatisfied with the decision.
If there are safety issues involved for you or for other residents, the retirement community may insist that you move or may require that you be discharged if you refuse to move. This is clearly discussed in the regulations.