Over the past couple of years, programs for home-based continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) have become more common. The trend is not surprising, as the CCRC-at-home concept is a unique service model that allows older adults to enjoy the benefits of an all-inclusive CCRC while aging in place.
Among active programs is Springpoint Choice, a membership program that provides non-medical home care services for adults age 55 and older.
“They are remaining in their home and getting the services they need, whether that be a home aide or companion care,” Cecily Laidman, executive director of Springpoint Choice, told Home Health Care News. “When one or more of their activities of daily living (ADLs) have been compromised, their care navigator goes into [the home] talk to them about what their needs may be, then subsequently would recommend services.”
With more seniors preferring to age in place at higher and higher rates, the senior living industry is looking to find new ways to expand its reach.
That’s where CCRC-at-home models come in, according to Laidman.
“This program addresses a more diversified client base that wouldn’t normally be going into a retirement community,” she said. “It really offers the organization a much wider breadth of opportunity.”
Overall, about 76% of adults over 50 want to remain in their current home, with 70% desiring to live in their present community for as long as they can, according to AARP statistics.
Aside from enabling adults to grow older in their own homes, one of the main draws of Springpoint’s membership program is that it serves as preventive care, according to Laidman. The innovative model is gaining national attention for its success, too, as it was recently highlighted in a New York Times report.
“From Day 1, when an individual becomes a member, the care navigator gets to know them and understand their lifestyle and habits,” she said. “From this, they are able to help them keep up healthy habits and prevent future challenges.”
Typically, Springpoint Choice care navigators talk to a member on the phone four to five times a year. The care navigator also conducts a home visit to check for changes in lifestyle.
Springpoint Choice is an offshoot of Springpoint Senior Living, a Wall Township, New Jersey-based nonprofit provider of senior living communities throughout New Jersey and Delaware. Founded in 1916, Springpoint Senior Living has nine communities in its portfolio.
These communities are also available for Springpoint Choice members. If a member finds that they can no longer safely live independently, they have the opportunity to move into one of Springpoint Senior Living’s CCRCs.
Though CCRC-at-home models have been gaining traction by bridging home care and the support of senior living providers, programs like this one are still a relatively costly option.
Currently, Springpoint Choice has roughly 270 members. Membership costs $40,000 to $70,000, plus monthly fees that range between $300 to $500.
Still, with its unique service model, CCRC at home programs lay the groundwork for the aging services industry to evolve.
“I think that the senior living industry should do this throughout the country,” Laidman said. “Although the bricks and mortar are very important, the industry has to stand back and look at what the needs are and what the future is.”
CarePods shakes up the at-home model
Another example of a company that’s changing the landscape of aging services by pushing care into the home via a CCRC approach is CarePods.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based CarePods launched in February.
The company provides a membership service that groups seniors who want to age in place in a 25-member cohort or “pod.” Pods are then assigned a dedicated registered nurse (RN) case manager who oversees members’ clinical needs.
“Most of the prospects I work with are in their late 70s or early 80s,” Katie Davis, CEO of CarePods, told HHCN. “My experience has been that they, along with their adult children, have strong appetites for at-home care, but that they are turned off by the significant buy-in fee and the ongoing monthly costs associated with at-home CCRC models.”
A monthly membership fee at CarePods is $1,595. This gives members access to a virtual assistant who does everything from finding qualified professionals for household repairs to arranging transportation.
While CCRC at home programs offer an interesting way to extend a community’s brand within a niche customer base, the programs are not intended to move the needle for the average consumer who needs access to affordable care at home, according to Davis, a former senior housing executive.
“Many [customers] find they have trouble meeting the health requirements of the program, and when they evaluate the cost of maintaining their required Medicare and Medicare supplemental policies as well as the ongoing monthly premiums from the CCRC, they are spending a great deal of money each month for minimal service,” she said. “By the time they do the math, many have said to me, ‘Why wouldn’t I just move into the community?’”