For those thinking about taking up permanent residence in a continuing care community after retirement, there are a number of factors to consider. These residential facilities can be the perfect solution to retirement living for many people, who want to live in relative comfort in a safe environment, where they will be taken care of for the remainder of their lives. However, like the purchase of anything, you will want to do some fact finding beforehand.

Retirement community

There are over 2,000 such facilities in the United States, offering a variety of care levels, but, before signing up, check out the community and the contract. This multi-billion dollar industry is not without its problems that could possibly lead to elder abuse and fraud, if one is not careful going in.

First, talk to current residents of the community in which you have an interest. Do they like it? Do they have a say in how things are run? Overall, how is the lifestyle, including amenities, furnishings, and staff treatment?

Second, ask about the facility’s financial and legal stability. Any bankruptcies? Any litigations? Who is their parent company, if any, and where are they located?

Next, look at the financial arrangements. Determine the entrance fees, how they are handled, and any repayment/refund policies in the event of transfers or company bankruptcy. What are the monthly fees and what do they cover, including level of insurance coverage?

Finally, how are transfers of levels of care or other facilities handled? How are the fees handled? How easy is it to make the change?

For those who choose continuing care communities, much of their assets and life savings may be tied up in their residence, so it’s important to thoroughly review the details up front. In California, you have certain rights established by law, including contract cancellation within 90 days of occupancy, ability to form a resident union, notification of temporary or permanent closure of a community, access to the community financial information, and others to help protect residents.

If you need guidance or help looking at your options, feel free to call Terri Hilliard at 805-201-2552 or e-mail