CCRCs “Without Walls” to Revolutionize Care at Home?

A relatively new concept, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) “Without Walls” is making inroads into the retirement plans of many as an alternative to institutionalized care options of the past, the New York Times writes this week. 

It is an option for the growing portion of people who may need assistance in their daily lives but aren’t interesting in moving into a senior living community, NY Times writes.

In order to reach this demographic, some care communities are beginning to extend services outside of the traditional bricks-and-mortar setting to people who still reside in their homes, and the opportunity for others to do the same is growing.

The New York Times reports:

In a continuing care program without walls, members also pay an entry fee ($20,000 to $70,000) and monthly fees ($250 to $800) and receive a similar guarantee of lifelong care, with a twist. The main focus of these programs is helping people stay healthy and independent in their homes for as long as possible. This model can be summed up as “let us bring what you need to you — or find a way to make it easy for you to get it.”

With retirement nest eggs shrunken because of the recession, and 90 percent of older adults indicating they want to age in place at home, “this was something we feel makes a lot of sense,” said Larry Yachcik, president of Porter Hills Retirement Communities and Services in Grand Rapids, Mich., one of the nation’s newest providers of such services.

…Why aren’t there more programs of this kind?

“The focus of the senior housing industry has been on bricks and mortar,” not community-based services, said Stephen Maag, director of residential communities for LeadingAge, an industry association. “But we’re now getting a recognition there is a significant market out there of people we haven’t been serving, and that represents an opportunity.”

In some states, laws that govern continuing care retirement centers didn’t allow for these kinds of services and had to be changed. Efforts are under way, or have already succeeded, in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia, according to a paper on the centers that Mr. Maag prepared in February.

The blog post notes that most CCRC-without-walls programs screen entrants carefully and operate on the condition that new members must be healthy and mostly independent, although there are one or two exceptions.

Read more at The New Old Age blog

 Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace

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