Retirement Communities

Review of Retirement Communities in Charlotte

How are they different? What do they cost? When should I go and why? How do I choose the best one for me?

Making the decision to move into a retirement community is a big one. It is also one that too many people wait too long to make. It is best to choose where we want to live during this time of life and make the move before we are forced to because of declining health or cognitive abilities when others may end up calling the shots.

We are blessed in Charlotte to have a wide range of communities with varying levels of care available. One type that is inclusive of all types of care is the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). These include independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing/rehabilitation, and memory care all on one campus. We have six communities that meet those criteria in our area. They all look and feel different, cost different amounts, and have different amenities and services to offer. They all also have a lot of things in common.

It can be very overwhelming when looking at CCRCs and trying to make a decision. In 2015 a team of parishioners and our Parish Nurse, Lynne LeBlanc, toured all six CCRCs in Charlotte and compiled the information into a helpful report.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This includes some of the information presented during the Sunday School class on this subject.

Definitions 

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): Retirement community that offers several levels of care on one campus including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing/rehabilitation.

Independent Living: Residents do not need personal assistance.

Assisted Living: Residents need a little help with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, food prep, etc.).

Memory Care: Residents have specific needs associated with memory impairment. Activities are specifically designed and staff should be trained to work with the memory impaired. May or may not be a “locked” unit.

Skilled Nursing/Rehab: Heath Care Center. Residents have medical/rehab needs beyond capability of assisted living.

Advantages of CCRC 

  • Ability to stay within one community during different levels of care
  • Spouses who need different levels of care are still able to regularly see one another
  • Community’s health care staff can follow you through stages and help assess as needs increase.
  • During times of illness/injury/recovery, higher levels of care are available for short periods of time.

When is the right time? 

  • Look at options before the need arises.
  • Ask yourself questions like: What will I do if I (and/or my spouse) am unable to drive? Or unable to cook/clean/garden/climb a stepstool to change a light bulb…? Are there any safety/security concerns where I currently live?
  • Many seniors unrealistically believe they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives.
  • Too many wait until there is a crisis situation and their options are limited.
  • For children: Open the lines of communication early.
    • Don’t tell them they have to do….
    • Phrase it as a concern or worry.

Aging in place 

  • Allows us to stay where we are and live safely and comfortably as we age.
  • Financially, usually the most economical.
  • PURPOSEFUL AGING IN PLACE
    • Plan ahead.
    • Consider modifications to home or the need to move into a more suitable home.
    • Investigate help available, including care management. (Who will manage those people who are hired to help you when you are not able to?)
    • Aging in place is possible at a CCRC (you stay in your apartment or cottage and the community's staff manages your care if you have the financial resources to hire help).

Where can I get objective info? 

NOTE: Beware of advertising sites that pose as real ratings sites

Accreditation: CARF-CCAC

  • www.carf.org
  • Totally voluntary (not required for operation)
  • Southminster and Plantation Estates are the only two that have accreditation in our area

NC Department of Insurance: A comprehensive guide to all retirement communities (not just CCRCs) in NC: http://www.ncdoi.com/SE/Documents/CCRC/Continuing%20Care%20Retirement%20Communities%20Reference%20Guide.pdf

Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Units

Chronic Pain, Addiction and Treatment

  • https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ – Government-sponsored search engine of more than 20,000 drug and alcohol treatment providers, offering different methods and levels of care across the country.
  • http://forterustreatment.com/seniors-and-addiction/ – A comprehensive resource for seniors with substance abuse and addiction problems – well-researched, accessible and covers the spectrum of common problems with seniors, substance abuse and recovery.

General information:
AARP: Great comprehensive information on everything from the time you begin thinking about retirement communites until after you move in: http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-09-2010/ho_continuing_care_retirement_communities.html