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Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Current Issues

One of the most challenging issues faced by CCRC organizations is whether such an option is affordable to most older people. Many people cannot afford high entry and monthly fees. Certain communities have used government subsidies through HUD to help low income individuals afford CCRC housing (Sanders, 1997). This suggests that unless government dollars are placed towards CCRCs, the only older individuals able to afford high entry fees will continue to come from the middle or upper class.

Another issue is whether individuals within CCRCs are truly "aging in place." By aging in place, older individuals expect to reside at home throughout the remainder of their lives. However, residents must still make the transition from home to the CCRC setting. This transition can be hard for some older individuals who find themselves having to adjust to a new setting and lifestyle with rules and restrictions (Sanders, 1997). Furthermore, as health issues increase they will need to move again.

Age segregation is another important issue faced by the CCRC industry. There has been an attempt in American society to move away from age segregation and to develop programs that keep older individuals involved in the community. Some researchers estimate that almost 10 percent of the older population might come to live in a CCRC. It is not known what affect this separation from other age groups might have, and the question of whether this might cause problems across generations needs to be addressed.

The issue of financial solvency must also be addressed. In the past there have been problems with CCRCs going out of business or going bankrupt, leaving individuals out in the cold. There needs to be a system in place to ensure financial security for individuals living in these facilities.

Research has shown that the different activities and programs promoting a healthy lifestyle help to reduce the risk of disease and disability in the CCRC population (Scanlon and Layton, 1997). Yet, its effectiveness on lowering health care costs has not been shown. Until research is conducted that controls for differences in income, education, health, and other factors it will be difficult to get an accurate idea on CCRC's cost effectiveness (Scanlon and Layton, 1997).

Regardless of these issues, CCRCs have the potential to be a very important option for older adults in the future. Already CCRSs have shown that they promote healthy lifestyles. Further research will strengthen this position. Policy changes that help make CCRCs more affordable could also increase the number of residents and also the number of communities. What is not clear is exactly what path the industry will follow.



AARP. "Continuing Care Retirement Communities." World Wide Web document, 2001. www.aarp.org SANDERS, J. "Continuing Care Retirement Communities: A Background and Summary of Current Issues." World Wide Web document. 2001. http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov

SCANLON, W., and LAYTON, B. D. Report to Congressional Requesters: How Continuous Care Retirement Communities Manage Services for the Elderly. Washington, D.C.: U.S. General Accounting Office, 1997. Available online at: http://frewebgate.access.gpo.gov

SOMERS, A. R., and SPEARS, N. L. The Continuing Care Retirement Community. New York: Springer, 1992.

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