What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Known as a continuing care retirement community, a CCRC is a place where you have access to multiple levels of care on a single campus. The primary benefit of this kind of community is called a continuum of care, and it’s designed so you can likely stay in the same place with the same people even if your health changes down the road.

No more worrying about having to relocate to a senior living community that provides a different kind of care service. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy your retirement years with the peace of mind you deserve.


Levels of Care Available at a CCRC

Many senior living communities may only offer one or two care levels, like independent or assisted living, while a CCRC will generally have three or four. CCRCs can include any of these levels of care:

Independent living is ideal for seniors who want to trade in the worries of home ownership for the true comforts of home. You'll have apartment options to suit your style and plenty of opportunities to socialize.

Assisted living provides a redefined independence through assistance and services like medication management and housekeeping. Your wellness is supported through collaborative care partnerships, and our staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our memory care program is rooted in a person-centered approach that preserves identity and sense of self. Our secure communities provide a daily path of engagement that allows residents to flourish, even with advanced expressions of dementia.

Our skilled nursing communities are here to help you throughout your journey to recovery. Whether you need a long-term stay or short term rehabilitation, we provide around-the-clock licensed nursing care in a supportive environment.

What’s the big deal about a continuum of care?

The continuum of care is a unique and beneficial aspect of CCRCs.

You may be healthy now, but what are you going to do if your healthcare needs change in the future? When you live at a CCRC, you can have peace of mind knowing that if your health requires more attention down the road, you won’t have to move far to receive it. You can stay with the same wonderful people, in the same beautiful environment with access to the same exciting and fulfilling programs and events. 

An additional benefit to choosing a CCRC is knowing that you’ve already worked out the details for your long-term care. You’ve already made a decision on where you want to live, and your children and grandchildren won’t have to step in and make those decisions for you if your health should change. 

And if you choose to move into a Life Care community, you can have assurance that you’ll continue to receive quality healthcare and living accommodations, even if your financial resources are eventually exhausted due to no fault of your own.*

If that doesn’t make you feel confident about your future, we don’t know what will!

*Life Care guarantee subject to the residency agreement.


Brookdale Galleria provides my father with a safe and friendly environment. The staff truly cares about my father. They encourage my father to stay active. They listen to my concerns and requests. Any issues are quickly resolved on a consistent basis. I trust Brookdale with my most valuable treasure."

Victor, son of a Brookdale resident

Common Questions About CCRCs

A typical CCRC will have at least three levels of care, but many communities offer four. Services can include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Seniors older than 62 may qualify to live in a CCRC. If you want to join a Life Care CCRC, you have to first move into independent living. If you need assisted living, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, or skilled nursing when you’re ready to move in, you’ll want to explore options for a rental CCRC.


It’s important to note that Life Care communities have additional financial and health qualifications that aren’t required with a standard rental CCRC. If you need more detailed information about Life Care qualifications, reach out to the community you’re interested in or call one of our senior living advisors. We’re always happy to answer questions.

Rental CCRCs have a monthly fee, which can vary depending on your specific accommodations and care level. The good news is that monthly payment may cover the majority of your living expenses!


Life Care CCRCs charge an entrance fee that’s paid upfront. The amount depends largely on the floor plan, services and contract you choose. Many residents choose to fund the entrance fee with a portion of their investment portfolio or the sale of a home.


In addition to the entry fee, Life Care CCRCs have a monthly fee that’s based on factors like which accommodations and contract you have. The fee may vary from year to year depending on the level of care you need, but your community may agree to cap increases. 


*The Life Care guarantee is subject to the terms and conditions of the Residency Contract. This option is subject to availability at the Life Care community. Available care levels vary by community.

The IRS considers Life Care to be a prepaid medical expense, so tax deductions are often available for portions of the upfront entry fee and monthly service fee — generally up to 40 percent of the fee. Because deductions may vary state to state, it’s wise to check with your personal tax advisor to learn more about your specific tax benefits.


Entering a Life Care community can also affect your estate planning. A Life Care contract takes care of the portion of your planning that would address funding your health care needs. The contract ensures your healthcare needs will be met even if you run out of money (through no fault of your own). You can also choose a refundable contract that returns a portion of your entrance fee to your designated beneficiary after you pass away.


*The Life Care guarantee is subject to the terms and conditions of the Residency Contract. This option is subject to availability at the Life Care community. Available care levels vary by community.

Security is one great benefit to living at a CCRC. With multiple care levels in one location, you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to change communities even if your healthcare needs change over time. You can remain among the people and surroundings you’ve come to know and love.


Life Care CCRCs come with the additional benefit of knowing your medical needs will be met for the entirety of your life, even if your financial resources are exhausted through no fault of your own.*


CCRC communities also encourage seniors to remain independent for as long as possible, without restrictions on driving, traveling and shopping as long as you’re able.


*The Life Care guarantee is subject to the terms and conditions of the Residency Contract. This option is subject to availability at the Life Care community. Available care levels vary by community.


Two Types of CCRCs

Continuing care retirement communities are a wonderful choice if you want the peace of mind to know you have future options even if your financial circumstance change through no fault of your own or your medical circumstances change. But before you start packing your bags, you need to know that there are two different kinds of CCRC: rental and Life Care. While they have a lot of things in common, there are a few notable differences that are worth understanding before you take the leap to senior living.

Rental vs. Life Care

*The Life Care guarantee is subject to the terms and conditions of the Residency Contract. This option is subject to availability at the Life Care community. Available care levels vary by community.

Further Reading

You like the idea of living in a CCRC, but can you afford it?

What are the benefits of choosing to move to a CCRC?

Finding the right CCRC is easy with these helpful tips.