Transitioning from Independent Living to Continuing Care

With every stage of life comes a lot of new changes – and retirement is no exception. While retirement can be a time of freedom and relaxation, when medical issues make independent living difficult, residents may need to make the decision with their family to move to continuing care. Here are a few common questions residents and their families have when the time comes to transition from independent living to continuing care.

 1. What kind of conditions usually cause someone to move to continuing care? 

This typically happens when a resident is no longer safe living in their independent living patio home. Reasons for this could be frequent falling, forgetting to take medications, or a progressive neurological disease, to name a few.

2. Does someone at Sherwood Oaks discuss residents’ options when it comes to moving from independent living?

Our medical staff, in conjunction with the resident and resident’s family, are involved in the decision about when/if the resident needs to move to a higher level of care.

3. How does the process go when one spouse is ready for continuing care and one is not? 

In this situation, the spouse not in need of continuing care remains in the patio home, while and the spouse needing more care moves to the next level.  By being in a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) they can see each other every day without worrying about finding transportation.  They can have their meals together and attend activities together.

4. Is the resident’s family involved in the process?

Yes, they are involved in any decision dealing with a resident’s continuing care.

5. Does a doctor need to state that someone needs to be moved to continuing care? 

Yes, our medical staff will do a functional assessment in order to see what the resident’s capabilities are and if they need a higher level of care.

6. How does a daily routine change when someone is moved to continuing care? 

They have assistance from RN’s, LPN’s and Nurse Assistants for whatever needs they have, 24/7.  The staff also takes over ordering, storing and administering their medications.  They may need help bathing, scheduling and getting to doctors appointment, all which Sherwood Oaks will do.  They are provided three meals per day and daily activities including occasional off-campus outings.

7. What if a resident doesn’t want to be moved to continuing care? 

They can appeal the recommendation to our CEO. 

The decision to switch from independent living to continuing care is an important one that needs to be discussed with residents, family members, staff members, and health professionals. Talk to your healthcare provider at Sherwood Oaks to discuss your options for continuing care.

Understanding the Differences Between Continuing Care Retirement Communities

A Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC, is generally a senior community which offers housing, services and nursing care, usually all in one location.

In order to attain a CCRC certificate, an organization applies to the PA Department of Insurance for a “certificate of authority.” If granted, the organization is able to use the title of continuing care retirement community and qualifies for certain tax benefits.

Mark Bondi, President and CEO of Sherwood Oaks, advises seniors to be very well informed when selecting a CCRC for their retirement living. “The tax benefits have spurred a marked increase in the number of communities applying for CCRC certifications during the past five years. Simply having a certification and calling yourself a CCRC doesn’t really mean much,” Bondi cautions. “The CCRC certification does not demand any set of standard services or amenities.”

So, how can seniors be sure which continuing care retirement community is right for them? “The key is knowing that the services that will be rendered to you are governed by the written agreement between the community and the resident. These agreements must be read carefully to determine exactly what is—or isn’t included,” says Bondi.

When John and Harriet Burress began researching retirement communities, they prepared to meet the challenge.  “We determined our priorities, and set out to find a community that met them. We visited five different facilities at least four times each,” said Harriet. “Selecting a place to retire is a very big decision and an important financial investment. We did our research accordingly before selecting Sherwood Oaks,” said John.

CCRCs offer many different types of agreements. Sherwood Oaks is a Type A community. The most commonly offered CCRC agreements are:

  • Type A (Extensive) Agreement – includes housing, residential services, amenities and unlimited, specific health-related services with little or no increase in monthly payments except to cover normal operating costs and inflation adjustments.
  • Type B (Modified) Agreement – like A above, except that a specified amount of health care services are included. After the specified amount of health care is used, a discounted rate or full per day rates for required health services will be charged.
  • Type C (Fee-for-Service) – Includes housing, residential services and amenities for the fees stated in the agreement. Access to health care is guaranteed, but it may be required at full fee-for-service rates.
  • Rental Agreement – Allows residents the opportunity to rent their housing and provides, but does not guarantee, access to health care services paid on a fee-for-service basis.

Bondi describes an example to illustrate the big differences between CCRC agreements. “If a resident becomes ill at Sherwood Oaks, our Type A agreement offers multiple levels of care at no additional cost allowing the residents’ needs to be met on campus as they change. Other types of agreements do not. Residents who fall ill at other CCRCs will need to find a health provider and arrange for payment of health services on their own. And these payments may be significant—costs for one year of skilled nursing services can exceed $70,000.”

John and Harriet Buress gathered information about various CCRCs and evaluated health services, living spaces, staffing, security features and spoke with residents on their visits. “We selected Sherwood Oaks because it best provided for our needs. The agreement was clear and understandable and we have been overwhelmed with friendly faces and the professional and helpful staff,” the Buresses said.

After only two months, John and Harriet Buress are happy to say that they already feel at home at Sherwood Oaks. “It’s so comforting to know that our healthcare, including assisted living are here on campus and guaranteed. We’re glad we came to Sherwood Oaks when we’re healthy enough to enjoy life, friendships and fun.”