By Carrie Vittitoe
Illustration by Brittany Granville
The terminology surrounding senior care can be confusing. What’s the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing? What exactly is independent living? The industry happens to be in the midst of rebranding continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) as life plan communities, which may further contribute to the general public’s confusion.
Whether they are referred to as CCRCs or life plan communities, the concept is the same: they are senior living communities that provide different types of accommodations for seniors. Many offer independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and even memory care. Not every CCRC offers every type of care, and it can be difficult for individuals and their adult children to know which community is a good fit for a senior’s needs. In order to allay some confusion, we’ve asked a number of experts from local CCRCs to help clarify things.
Rhonda Harding, director of sales, marketing, and residency development at Treyton Oak Towers
Q: I keep hearing it is too expensive to move to a retirement home. Should my parents consider a condo instead? What are the benefits of a retirement community?
We’ve worked with many folks who are savvy with their money, and they know what their expenses are in their home: the maintenance, landscaping, housekeeping services, taxes, snow removal, utilities, trash pickup. These things are all included in a retirement community. You can’t put a price on the peace of mind and the socialization you get in a retirement community. How much do you spend on your car and for insurance? Lots of people give up their cars when they move to a retirement community. How much do you spend on eating out every week? People think the condo is the next best logical step, but most of those condo stays are short-lived unless you move when you’re younger.
Ninety-five percent of the people who come to Treyton Oak Towers say, ‘I wish I would have done this sooner.’ They have no idea what they’re missing until they’re here. You might be at home alone, but you don’t realize you’re missing the socialization, the wellness, the food, and all the things that come so easily to a person in a retirement community. It becomes a chore to cook at home for one or be with friends who aren’t immediately at your fingertips. Also, you’re not as likely to exercise if you’re all alone.