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What to Ask and Observe When Visiting Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Medical Services

  • What healthcare services are available for each level of care?
  • What healthcare services are built into the entrance and monthly fees?
  • Do residents have to stay within the facility network for healthcare? Or can they continue seeing their own doctors and care providers outside of the community?
  • Can residents receive assistance with activities of daily living, regardless of housing type? Or are those services available only to assisted living and nursing home residents?
  • Is there specialized care for those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other health conditions?
  • How are emergencies handled?
  • Are there emergency alert systems in each unit/home?
  • Is there a pharmacy on site?
  • Is medication monitoring available? If so, is medication dispensed by a qualified staff member?

Personal Services

  • What transportation services are offered? 
  • Are there on-site hair salons, cleaners, physical therapy offices and other conveniences?
  • Are any types of housekeeping, laundry or linen service offered? Are these services included in the entrance or monthly fees or at an additional cost?
  • What other personal services are available?
  • Is there a gym on campus? How about organized exercise classes?
  • Are there houses of worship on campus or is transportation provided to weekly services?

Social Life and Recreation

  • What kinds of social events are planned? Is there a monthly schedule of activities? 
  • Who organizes social and recreational activities?
  • What is attendance like at social events?
  • Are these events and activities included in the entrance or monthly fees or are they charged separately?
  • Are off-site day trips planned? If so, to where?
  • Is there ample notice for upcoming events and can all residents participate?
  • Are these event and activities capped at a certain number of residents?
  • How do residents sign up?
  • Is there a common social area that is open at all times for residents? If so, are games, cards, TVs, movies and other supplies available?
  • Are there any classes offered on site?
  • Is there a forum in which residents can suggest activities and events?
  • Is there a planning committee that residents can become a part of?

The Nuts and Bolts: Entrance, Contracts and Licensure

  • What’s involved in the application process?
  • What is the assessment process and what does it involve?
  • What are the contract options?
  • Are residences owned or rented?
  • What is the breakdown of fees? Entrance fee? Monthly fees? Can we expect the monthly fees to be raised on a yearly basis? If so, by how much?
  • What is the payment schedule?
  • What services are included fully in the entrance and monthly fees? Ask for a breakdown of additional services and their fees.
  • Does Medicaid, Medicare or other long-term care insurance cover anything?
  • What happens when one member of a couple needs the next level of care?
  • What happens if a resident decides this community is not for them? Will they be refunded?
  • What happens when a resident dies? Is their estate refunded any of the fees they’ve paid?
  • Who makes the decision to move a resident into the next level of care? The resident? The resident’s family? Or the doctors and care providers?
  • Do the entrance and/or monthly fee cover any medical or health coverage? If so, what?
  • Do residents retain control over their finances in regard to the community services? Is assistance available for those residents who request it?
  • What happens when a resident requires assisted living or nursing care, but there are no rooms available within the community?
  • Does the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission provide accreditation to this facility?
  • Do Medicaid and/or Medicare certify the nursing facilities?
  • Is there an ombudsman or an organization of residents who can help raise issues with the staff and management?
  • Are there any issues on record about the facility that you can review?

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