A Few Questions to Ask When Looking for a Continuing Care Retirement Community

January 22, 2013

For many people, the thought of moving, or helping mom and dad move to a retirement community can be an intimidating, overwhelming idea. The most important thing you can do is take a breath, come up with some questions to ask and start visiting.

Of course, every person should ask questions specific to what situation will make him/her happiest, but here are a number of questions to help get you started. If you have a few more, please leave them in the comments section below!

Q) Is the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) accredited by CARF-CCAC (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities)?

If not, you should conduct a thorough review of its services, operations and finances. Concordia is a CARF-CCAC accredited Aging Services Network, one of the 50 largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country and in the top 2 percent of the Pennsylvania Department of Health inspection results. Concordia also has continually high ratings by the Standard & Poors financial rating organization. This is accomplished through good stewardship, good business decisions, strong financials and charitable support.

Q) Is the CCRC contract appropriate for your lifestyle and financial situation?

There are several contract models for CCRCs. In certain models, residents pay a higher dollar amount that remains static no matter what level of care he/she is at. So essentially, as a healthy independent living resident, he/she is paying the same amount as a personal care resident who may need around-the-clock care. In our model, however, residents pay for advanced healthcare services when and if they need them, NOT beforehand. Concordia has a longstanding reputation for value, and we do everything possible to help our residents control costs. Make sure you consult your attorney or accountant before deciding which option is best for you.

Q) What types of healthcare services and levels of care are available?

Despite sharing the same designation, many senior care organizations that call themselves CCRCs offer differing amounts of care. For example, an organization that offers only independent living and skilled nursing can be called a CCRC just as the organization with independent living, personal care, skilled nursing and outpatient rehabilitation. System wide, Concordia offers continuum of care that includes adult day services, hospice and rehabilitation services, memory support, personal care, respite care, retirement living, skilled nursing/short-term rehab, spiritual care and medical equipment.

Q) What is the community's mission?

Keep in mind that there are subtle differences between nonprofit and for-profit CCRCs. Concordia is a nonprofit, for example, and our mission is "To serve our aging community with the highest quality of services through a continuum of caregiving options provided in a Christian environment, and to serve those with limited funds to the best of our ability."

Q) What happens in the unlikely event your assets are depleted while still residing at the CCRC?

Typically, social workers and staff at the facility will work with you to find and exhaust all possible avenues for payment and the best use of financial resources. If working with a nonprofit like Concordia, there may be an endowment to help offset costs.

A few other questions to ask include:

  • Are the living accommodations what you desire and expect?
  • If you have pets, are they allowed in your residence?
  • What kinds of social, recreational, educational and cultural activities are offered?
  • Are fitness facilities provided?
  • Is the food to your liking?
  • Is the staff warm, friendly, knowledgeable and responsive?
  • What are the procedures for handling medical emergencies?

Hands down, the best thing to do is check out the community first hand. We invite you to spend a day with us experiencing the residents and staff, the activities, a lunch or dinner? even an overnight stay to see if we are what you're looking for.

E-mail us here or call us today at 724.352.1571 if you have any questions about our services and whether or not we can assist you and your loved ones.

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