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Do You Know the Differences Between CCRCs and Co-ops?

There are many choices out there when it comes to retirement living. Among them is the decision to choose a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or “buy-into” a co-op. These are two distinct options. How are they alike and how do they differ?
Let’s begin with how a co-op is similar to a CCRC. Both communities provide an environment that enhances socialization among peers.  Both communities provide an initial investment of considerable dollars in addition to a monthly fee.  This is where the similarities end.
For the initial fee in a co-op, one receives a “share” of the communal property. For an entrance fee in a CCRC, rather than partial equity, a resident is investing in residential rights and assurances.  These assurances include first-refusal rights to vacant residences as well as priority access to health-related accommodations such as assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. 
At the time a resident leaves a co-op, the sale of the share usually incurs a fee to sell the share. At Village Shalom, we offer 90% refundable entrance fees so a resident is assured of receiving a 90% return on the initial money invested – no matter what is happening in the housing market.
Both types of communities require a monthly fee for service, however, the depth and breadth of services are greater in a CCRC.  
A co-op provides general maintenance services that allow a resident to enjoy maintenance-free living. A CCRC also offers maintenance-free living, but their services go beyond that. Amenities, life enrichment and wellness programing are typically more extensive in a CCRC.
Perhaps the greatest asset in an investment at Village Shalom is the $60,000 Healthcare Benefit.  Each resident receives a $60,000 lifetime healthcare benefit to be used to defray the costs if he or she must move to an accommodation with health-related services.  A co-op does not provide health care services and does not offer a benefit to defray the potential costs of such a need.  
Co-op residents must not only pay the market rate for care, they must also move to a completely different area to receive it. This is particularly relevant for couples who may find driving across town to be an imposition during these especially stressful times. At a CCRC, a resident can simply walk across campus to visit their loved one.
So you can see, it’s an apples to oranges comparison.  People may be more alike than different, but types of senior living accommodations tend to be very dissimilar. This makes it especially important to research the similarities and differences of the many contract types before making a decision so important to your future.