Continuing Care Retirement Communities Offer Lifelong Care, Activities, and Amenities

Peace of mind

It is not easy getting accredited as a Continuing Care Retirement Community — especially in New York (currently, there are just a dozen in the state). But CCRC facilities — which provide several levels of health care all on the same campus — are growing in popularity because they offer residents a simple guarantee: care for the rest of their lives.

It’s an insurance policy of sorts — but it comes at a steep price. Residents often pay a substantial entry fee, and are then promised a fixed monthly rate that will not change for as long as they remain in the community. At Woodland Pond in New Paltz, an 83-acre facility that opened in 2009, residents pay a buy-in fee of anywhere from $157,000 to $383,000, depending on the size of the unit. (If the entire entry fee is paid upfront, as much as 90 percent of it will be returned to the resident’s estate upon his or her death.)

workshop pub

At New Paltz’s Woodland Pond, occupants have their choice of a number of amenities, including (clockwise from left) a swimming pool, a wood-working shop, and a pub

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Monthly fees range from $2,500 to $5,200. “Residents know ahead of time what they’re going to pay,” says Marketing Director Christine Wirthwein. “It’s the only plan available that guarantees a locked-in fee regardless of the level of care. This avoids financial disasters later on when people can have their nest eggs wiped out if they’re in a nursing home for a year or two. Skilled care in New York can run up to $400 a day.”

Currently there are about 190 residents — all 62 years or older — living at Woodland Pond in one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as in a few cottages. (There are also 40 assisted-living apartments, 20 memory-impaired units, and 40 private nursing home rooms.) The fixed monthly fee also buys a wide range of activities and amenities like a creative arts studio, a wood-working shop, a spa and salon, a performing arts center, and hiking trails. “This facility has more resident involvement than I’ve ever seen,” says Wirthwein. “There are a lot of people who were successful in their lives, and they want to continue to be leaders here.”

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