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Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Definition And History

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) defines a CCRC as an organization that provides individuals a combination of housing options, accommodations, and health care services, depending on the level of care needed. Thus, within a single setting, an individual can move from an independent to a more restrictive housing environment as his or her needs increase. A CCRC organization typically has a formal contract or agreement with an individual or couple entering the community that includes the costs and level of services that will be provided (Sherwood, Ruchlin, Sherwood, Morris, 1997).

CCRC organizations are not a new phenomena, but have been around for more than a century. Beginning in Europe as a means to shelter and care for the aged, early CCRCs were affiliated with religious organizations. By the 1900s there were seven CCRCs in the United States. As the older population experienced growth during the 1960s, there was a corresponding increase in CCRC development, and since that time the number of CCRCs in the United States has steadily grown. In the year 2001 there were almost 2,000 CCRCs located in the U.S. with the average resident population of these facilities around 300 (AASHA, 1999). Pennsylvania, California, Florida, and Virginia have higher concentrations of CCRCs, with the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area recognized as the "CCRC capital of the world" due to the high concentration (45) of CCRCs in that area. The total number of residents in CCRCs make up roughly 2 percent of the older population.

A majority of CCRCs are not-for-profit organizations (AAHSA, 1999), and they generally have religious affiliations. Since the mid 1980s there has been a slow push away from nonprofit to for-profit CCRCs, and large corporations such as Marriot and Hyatt have entered the industry. However, the majority of CCRCs are still not-for-profit organizations.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 1Continuing Care Retirement Communities - Definition And History, Ccrcs Today, The Contract, Cost And Fees, Regulations Governing Ccrcs - Requirements for entry