Continuing care retirement communities: top 20 in the United States

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There are lots of living options available to American seniors, from completely independent living through to assisted living and nursing care. Despite the wealth of options, seeking a long-term solution can be problematic for many seniors and their families. Each person has different healthcare needs and preferences, along with different financial and lifestyle constraints. In addition, healthcare needs change over time and moving between facilities can be disruptive and expensive.

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are the answer to many of these problems.

What is continuing care?

CCRCs, also known as life plan communities, allow seniors to "age in place" at a single facility while their health needs change over time. While you can start out living completely independently in a condo; skilled nursing, assisted living, and other services are also available if and when they're needed. 

Unlike many other retirement options, CCRCs recognize the fact that most seniors want to live independently for as long as they possibly can.

In a typical scenario, a CCRC resident will rent or purchase a condo within the community, with a range of accommodation sizes and styles available. A tiered price structure and program will be available according to the amount and type of services needed or desired. As the person ages and their healthcare needs change, they can keep living in the original condo for as long as possible and transition into an on-site nursing facility if required.  

CCRCs offer a number of benefits over other forms of retirement living:

  • Independent condo living

  • On-site nursing care

  • Stress-free transition

  • Familiarity and community

  • Recreation activities

  • Nursing and healthcare services

  • Additional services

The services available are generally comprehensive and flexible, with residents able to change their program based on need. Along with nursing and healthcare services, these facilities also provide detailed housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation and delivery, and emergency help if needed. 

The all-in-one nature of these communities is a major benefit for residents and their families, with independence respected but also help available when needed.

Types of CCRCs

Not all CCRCs are the same, with major differences in care type and quality across the United States. While most CCRCs provide around-the-clock security and emergency healthcare services if needed, there are numerous care contracts depending on the setup in question. 

While CCRC facilities are often equated with life care communities, in reality, this comprehensive and often expensive level of care is just one of three CCRC types:

  • Type A or life care contracts provide full service for life.

  • Type B or continuing care contracts provide modified service for life.   

  • Type C or for-service contracts provide service based on arrangement.

As you might expect, fees and services differ widely between these facilities. The biggest difference in fees is related to whether or not you own the apartment in question. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, these fees are typically: 

  • Type A - Entry Fee: $160,000 to $600,000, Monthly Fee: $2,500 to $5,400

  • Type B - Entry Fee: $80,000 to $750,000,  Monthly Fee: $1,500 to $2,500

  • Type C - Entry Fee: $100,000 to $500,000, Monthly Fee: $1,300 to $4,300

  • Rental contracts: Entry Fee: minimal, Monthly Fee: $1,800 to $5,500

Top 20 CCRCs in the United States

Life plan communities differ from each other in many regards, from the cost and contract structure through to the location and quality of care. While your options are partly determined by your desired location and budget, most states in America have a number of CCRCs to choose from. 

Let's take a look at 20 of the best communities in the country, with all information based on reviews from residents and their loved ones. This list is in no particular order.

1. Aldersgate in Charlotte, NC

Aldersgate is a large facility based in Charlotte, with continuing care available alongside assisted living and independent living. There are lots of accommodation options for residents, who can choose between apartments, condo townhouses, and even detached homes. Along with a range of homecare and health services, residents can access technology rooms, golf, hiking trails, pool and spa, transportation, and a party space.

2. The Admiral at the Lake in Chicago, IL

This CCRC also offers assisted living and nursing homes, and people of all ages are sure to enjoy the fantastic facilities and community spirit. The Admiral at the Lake offers 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, with both in-room kitchens and a shared dining room available to residents. Health services include skilled nursing, medication management, and physical therapy; with cleaning and homecare services also available.

3. Edgemere in Dallas, TX

Edgemere offers continuing care starting from $3,868/month, along with assisted living and memory care. Apartments and companion suites are both available, with in-room kitchens and shared dining facilities both available based on residents' healthcare and eating needs. Edgemere offers a number of on-site and off-site activities for residents and has a capped resident capacity of 91.   

4. Moorings Park in Naples, FL

Moorings Park offers a comprehensive residential and healthcare program for people at all stages of retirement. This facility originated with the members of Moorings Presbyterian Church in 1977 as a non-profit organization, and is now one of the most respected retirement communities in Southwest Florida. Moorings Park has received a number of awards, including multiple National Mature Media Awards and the coveted Governor's Gold Seal Award.

5. Vi at La Jolla Village in San Diego, CA

Vi at La Jolla Village is a nursing home and continuing care community in the retirement hot spot of San Diego. CCRC pricing starts at $3,350/month, with 1,2, and 3-bedroom apartments available to choose from. This is quite a large facility with a resident capacity of 415 and a minimum age of 62. There are a number of activities and amenities available for guests to enjoy, including beauty salons, computer rooms, and a pool and spa area. Vi at La Jolla Village has nursing staff on hand 24/7.

6. Oakmont of Cardinal Point in Oakland, CA

Oakmont of Cardinal Point offers a range of living options, including apartments, studio apartments, and companion suites. Continuing care prices start from $3,995/month, with all-inclusive rent and an entry fee of $2,150. This community features a wide range of amenities and services, including housekeeping, technology integration, and associated healthcare and financial services. The resident capacity is 144 and small pets are allowed.

7. The Hearthstone in Seattle, WA

The Hearthstone is situated in a good location and has a number of clean and friendly public spaces. Continuing care at this facility starts from $2,233/month, which is lower than many of the other places on this list. Skilled nursing and physical therapy are available on-site, with shared dining also available if needed or requested. Residents at The Hearthstone can live in apartments or studio apartments, with companion suites not available.

8. Lake Seminole Square in Seminole, FL

This continuing care facility offers apartments along with companion suites. Along with in-room kitchens, there are multiple dining options available, including 5 dining rooms, 2 private dining rooms, and even a bistro with full bar. Nursing and physical therapy staff are available, and a wide range of activities and amenities are included in the price. While most CCRCs have a minimum age of 62, Lake Seminole has a minimum age of 55.

9. Regal Palms in Largo, FL

With big aquariums and tropical fish on-site, this community almost has a resort-style feel. Features include a computer room, party space, pool and spa, and garden and patio among many others. At Regal Palms, rent is all inclusive when it comes to living costs. There are multiple types of care available, including dressing and grooming, bathing, exercise, memory care, and meal preparation among others.

10. Ingleside at Rock Creek in Washington, DC

Ingleside at Rock Creek has a number of activities for residents to enjoy, including many intellectual programs and discussion groups. Features include a beauty and barber shop, computer room, garden and patio space, pool, and local transportation among others. A number of apartment sizes and options are available, with residents able to tailor their accommodation and redecorate to their own taste.  

11. Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads in Falls Creek, VA

This large and comprehensive community offers assisted living, nursing homes, and continuing care communities. While Goodwin House Bailey’s is 500, people are spread out in their own accommodation and it never feels too busy. Along with a wealth of healthcare options, there are also lots of things for residents to see and do, including arts and craft programs, education programs, workshops, and a gym and pool facility.

12. San Francisco Towers in San Francisco, CA

This community is fairly large and very well appointed, with nursing homes available alongside assisted living and continuing care. Like many CCRCs, San Francisco Towers operates with an all-inclusive rent and additional care fee structure. Along with the standard 1 and 2-bedroom apartments, there are also studio apartments and detached houses to choose from. With a pool and tennis court on-site, this facility almost feels like a hotel.

13. The Carlisle in San Francisco, CA

The Carlisle differs from many other CCRCs in that you can purchase the unit instead of renting it. 1 and 2-bedroom apartments are available, with a room service for meals available alongside an in-room kitchenette. Nursing staff and a pharma service is available around-the-clock, with additional health services also available. In many ways this is an upscale facility, with a dress code applied at meal times and a sense of sophistication in the air.

14. The Cypress of Raleigh in Raleigh, NC

This community is dedicated to continuing care, with residents getting picturesque views of a pond, beautiful green grass, and amazing landscaping. This exclusive community features excellent dining opportunities, a well-maintained clubhouse, and flowers and gardens as far as the eye can see. With a pool, fitness center, and library on-site and easy transportation across the local area, The Cypress of Raleigh offers truly independent living with the security of nursing care when needed.

15. Beacon Hill Eastgate in Grand Rapids, MI

This active retirement community offers assisted living alongside continuing care, with a range of apartment sizes available to choose from. Skilled nurses are available at all times, and medication management is also included. Beacon Hill Eastgate includes housekeeping, laundry, and recreation features such as the pool and garden.

16. Samaritas Senior Living of Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, MI

Samaritas Senior Living offers assisted living and memory care along with continuing care. All of the buildings and many of the amenities have been beautifully renovated in recent years, with this community certainly not suffering from the same run-down feel of some other retirement communities. There are both condo townhouses and detached homes available, along with a fitness room and religious services.  

17. Luther Crest Senior Living Community in Allentown, PA

Luther Crest is a fairly small community, although it offers a wide range of services. Along with continuing care, you can also access retirement homes, assisted living, and memory care. Along with nursing care, physical therapy and occupational therapy are both available to residents. The housing options at this community are also plentiful, with condo townhouses and detached homes available alongside apartments.  

18. Vi at Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, CO

Vi at Highlands Ranch offers continuing care starting from $3,950/month, with 1 and 2-bedroom apartments available alongside studio apartments. Located in the San Diego area within the Golden Triangle, this high-end community promises spectacular views and access to shopping and dining opportunities. The monthly fees can cover a range of services, including home maintenance, housekeeping, dining, and transportation.

19. Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch, CO

Wind Crest provides a comprehensive range of services in a maintenance-free community designed exclusively for retirees. Like many communities in this area, this facility is high-end and uncompromising. Wind Crest offers access to licensed geriatricians, with these experts more than capable of meeting the unique healthcare needs of older Americans. Amenities include a computer room, creative arts studio, beauty salon, and classrooms just to name a few.

20. Cypress Village in Jacksonville, Fl

This caring community offers assisted living and memory care alongside continuing care. Cypress Village promises a journey of self-discovery, with residents able to access services for health, wellbeing, and fulfillment. This well appointed community includes a swimming pool, water aerobics classes, yoga classes, beauticians, and a doctor who visits on a regular basis.

If you’re ready to make a short list and compare communities, the following resources can also be incredibly valuable. 

With a little time and research, you can find the perfect retirement paradise for your golden years.