A retirement community is a term that is used to call a variety of housing for retirees and seniors. It is especially developed and equipped for people who no longer work or for those over a certain age. Retirement communities differ from retirement homes, which are single buildings or small complex where there is no specific areas for people to socialize. There are many retirement communities that have special facilities to serve the needs and wants of retirees, such as club houses, golf courses, and on-site medical facilities. Others are Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities or NORC, which become retirement oriented due to market forces rather than design.
Retirement Communities have three broad categories, such as:
- Active Communities – these are all residential units with no long-term healthcare facilities.
- Active/Supportive Communities – these are a combination of residential and healthcare facilities, which is also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities
- Supportive Communities – all long-term healthcare units, like assisted and nursing care.
Retirement communities are usually built in warmer climates and are common in Honolulu, Arizona and Florida. But, there have been an increasing number of retirement communities, which are built in and around major cities, as well as in cold climates.
A Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, is a residential community for retirees with a choice of services and living situations. Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer service and housing packages accessible to independent living, assisted living and to one with skilled nursing facilities. Independent seniors many live luxuriously in a single-family home, apartment, or condominium within the retirement complex. But when they start to need help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and others, they can transfer to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility within the same site.
Actually, there is no problem when it comes to moving from any type of living for as long as it answers the need of the residents. Therefore, the elderly can move between independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care based on changing needs at each point in time. Retirement communities are meant to let the retirees spend their golden days the way it should be- naturally. These communities have flexible accommodations that are specifically designed to meet the needs of the elderly, such as health and housing needs as these needs change over time.
Residents entering Continuing Care Retirement Communities sign a long-term contract that provides for housing, services, and nursing care, which are all in one location allowing the seniors to have a familiar setting as they grow older. Many seniors join in a CCRC contract when they were healthy and active, with the knowledge that they will be able to stay in the same community and receive nursing care if the necessity arises. Those who have invested in a CCRC have sufficiently planned for housing and care for the rest of their lives and have the financial to resources to support it.