Continuing Care Retirement Community
A Continuing Care Retirement Community offers several levels of senior assistance, including independent living, personal care, and skilled nursing. It is different from other housing and care options for seniors because it typically provides a written agreement or long-term contract between the resident (frequently lasting the term of the resident’s lifetime) and the community, which offers a continuum of housing, services and health care system, commonly all on one campus or site.
These Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer housing, services, and nursing care, typically all in one location or campus and are paid for through long-term contracts with the senior residents. They are covered by state regulations and are usually classified as an insurance model governed by the state department of insurance. Each part of the Continuing Care Retirement Community may be subject to separate oversight. For example, housing may be regulated at the local level, personal care regulated at the state level, and skilled nursing governed by state and federal regulations.
Brethren Village Retirement Community is a Continuing Care Retirement Community.
Residential Living (Independent Living)
Independent Living is designed for seniors who require little or no assistance with the activities of daily living. Independent living residences provide services for seniors such as housekeeping, laundry, and meals. Residents of independent units may have some home health care services provided by in-house staff or an outside agency. These seniors pay a rental rate or monthly fee.
Residential living for senior adults may or may not provide hospitality or supportive services. Under this living arrangement, the senior adult leads an independent lifestyle that requires minimal or no extra assistance. Generally referred to as elderly housing in the government-subsidized environment, independent living also includes rental-assisted or market rate apartments or cottages where residents usually have complete choice in whether to participate in the community’s services or senior programs.
Personal Care Homes
Pennsylvania provides a state supplement to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for residents in these types of facilities. A Personal Care Home provides food, shelter, and personal assistance or supervision for four or more adults who do not need skilled nursing care. Residents may require assistance or supervision in matters such as dressing, bathing, diet, financial management, evacuation, and medication prescribed for self-medication.
Personal Care is a long-term care option combining senior housing, support services, and health care, as needed by each senior. Personal Care is designed for seniors who require assistance with daily activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing and transportation. Some residents may have memory disorders including Alzheimer’s or dementia, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges.
Personal Care Memory Support
Personal Care communities for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia are often referred to as “Special Care Units (SCUs).” These memory support facilities are often housed in a special wing with additional security. Cueing devices and other specific architectural features are found in these state-licensed facilities and provide programming specific to the population being served. SCUs are staffed with specifically trained teams who work with individuals who have some form of dementia. SCUs can differ in the level of care they provide along the continuum of the disease. Some personal care retirement communities accept seniors with Alzheimer’s or related dementia through the entire disease process, but other retirement communities may only accept seniors who are in the early stage of the disease.
Skilled Nursing Care
Skilled Nursing is medical care provided through nursing or convalescent care for three or more persons unrelated to the licensee. A skilled nursing facility provides care of chronic conditions or short-term convalescent or rehabilitative care, for which medical and nursing care are indicated. Some seniors are admitted for short stays of convalescent or rehabilitative care following hospitalization. In addition to licensure, skilled nursing facilities that wish to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement must be certified in accordance with federal law. Beyond licensure and certification requirements, skilled nursing facilities must also honor the federal Nursing Home Patient’s Bill of Rights. These rights are designed to promote and protect the well-being of nursing home residents.
Funding options for skilled nursing include private funding, long-term care insurance, Medicare, and in large part Medicaid. Paying for skilled nursing is a major concern for many families of seniors, as well as the government. Historically, Medicaid has paid for about half of the total cost of skilled nursing care, with Medicare and private long-term care insurance paying but a fraction of the cost. Concerned about the growth of the Medicaid program, there is interest in identifying and supporting ways for individuals and families to accept greater financial responsibility for the cost of skilled nursing.