CCRC Without Walls: Extending the Reach of Long-Term Care

CCRC Without Walls: Extending the Reach of Long-Term Care

Convincing people who’ve lived most of their lives in one location to move somewhere else is tough, even if it’s for their benefit. Such is the case with seniors who resist the idea of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) because it means having to leave the home they’ve known for decades.

While CCRCs provide assisted-living services that prove more than convenient for elders, a significant number of seniors (especially those who are healthy and physically active despite their age) prefer to maintain control over their daily activities and, yes, go home to their familiar beds at night.

Providing Care Beyond Communities

These situations have led senior-living providers to adopt what is called CCRC Without Walls programs. Also known as continuing care at home (CCaH), these programs offer a convenient compromise: companies extend their services to elderly adults without requiring them to leave their homes.

This type of long-term care might run counter to a CCRC’s traditional objectives, which is to encourage seniors to move into their communities to receive assisted-living services. But instead of disregarding them, the CCaH model reaches out to extend these services to seniors who wish to stay in their homes, while letting them make arrangements for appropriate care in the future.

Coordinated Care

The first CCaH program was launched in the 1980s, expanding to 30 related models across the country composed of an array of coordinated long-term care solutions for members. Senior-living providers have lauded the benefits of CCaH as being a great “safety net” for the aging population. Care coordination contributes to the flexibility and convenience of such programs, where home care service providers, therapists, and others become partners in fleshing out the CCaH program.

Continuing care at home isn’t a wholly new model of delivering senior care; it’s a packaged, well-coordinated service that aims to provide the best possible care for different clients.

Membership Benefits

Enrolling in a CCaH program still has the usual health and financial qualifications, including membership fees similar to insurance premiums in exchange for the CCRC’s full continuum of care for the member’s lifetime. Services like non-medical home care, health aides, emergency response, and even 24/7 skilled nursing care are also typical inclusions in a CCaH program.

Should any changes in health occur for a CCaH program member, the patient may move to any of the communities maintained by the provider. Most CCaH programs are membership-based, designed much like regular life plan models that apply to community-based care.

The Future of Continuing Care at Home

Opening CCRC avenues in the in-home care services sector allow retirement communities to expand their market share in a way that was previously not possible through on-campus programs alone. This move was prompted by the observation that only a very small percentage of income-qualified clients were moving to dedicated communities. Moreover, CCaH programs open up new revenue streams for long-term care communities and access to a growing direct-care market, projected to reach five million workers — the largest workforce in the country — by the year 2020.

Of course, this push to CCaH development is driven by a continuing mission to provide better care for seniors and serve them wherever they are or wish to be.