← Back to Blog

Mastering the ABCs of California Senior Living

abcs of senior living

As we grow older, we transition from mastering life’s ABCs in our youth to embracing a new alphabet as our needs and circumstances evolve: The ABCs of senior living contracts and options for retirement living.

Many retired seniors want to live where they can transition into a comfortable and supportive environment that caters to their changing needs and preferences while surrounded by coastal charm, natural beauty and spirited communities. And California checks all those boxes and then some.

With its blend of laid-back coastal living, vibrant cultural experiences, year-round pleasant weather and several senior living options, The Golden State is an attractive destination for retirees to spend their golden years. However, understanding the distinctions between senior living contracts in California and how they may differ from those in other states is essential for making informed decisions about your future.

In this blog—the first in Casa de las Campanas’ three-part series on the finances of aging—we’ll demystify contract types and help you understand California’s most common retirement living options.

Navigating California’s Senior Living Choices

California boasts diverse senior living and retirement options catering to individual preferences, needs and financial considerations. The most common choices are rental and Life Plan, also referred to as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).

In a rental retirement community, residents pay monthly for their accommodations and have access to on-site amenities and services. These types of communities typically offer a single level of care, such as independent living or assisted living, with limited or no access to higher levels of care on-site. While rental communities may offer flexibility in terms of lease agreements and up-front costs, many lack long-term security and comprehensive care options.

On the other hand, Life Plan communities or CCRCs, offer a comprehensive continuum of care—independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care—all within one campus. This provides residents with peace of mind, knowing they can seamlessly transition to higher levels of care as their needs evolve, without having to uproot themselves from familiar surroundings. Residents typically pay an entrance fee and monthly fees, giving them access to amenities and health care services tailored to their needs.

Senior Living Simplified: A Guide to California CCRC Contract Types

Contract types vary in structure and scope to reflect the needs and preferences of older adults seeking different levels of care and support. By understanding the nuances of Type A, B and C contracts offered within a Life Plan or continuing care model, you can select the option that best aligns with your lifestyle preferences, budget and long-term care needs.

Type A contracts, also known as Life Care® contracts, offer a comprehensive continuum of care, allowing independent living residents to transition seamlessly to any level of care without an increase in monthly costs. Residents pay a one-time entrance fee and a monthly fee, which typically remains consistent regardless of changes in health care needs. This contract type ensures residents can age in place with peace of mind.

Type B contracts, often called Modified contracts, balance independence and support. Residents pay an entrance fee and a lower monthly fee than Type A contracts. While assisted living and health care services are available, they will incur additional fees or pay-as-you-go charges at current market rates as their needs evolve. The primary distinction between Type A and Type B contracts lies in the predictability of costs and the level of financial risk residents assume.

Type C, or Fee-for-Service contracts, provide flexibility and affordability for seniors who prefer to pay for services as needed. Residents typically pay a lower entrance fee and monthly fee than Type A and B contracts and care services are billed separately, allowing them to control costs based on their needs.

A Progressive Approach to Senior Care

California is renowned for its progressive approach to elderly care and advocacy. The state has enacted numerous laws and regulations to protect the rights and well-being of older adults. Organizations such as AARP California, California Commission on Aging and California Elder Justice Coalition advocate for seniors’ interests and provide valuable resources and support.

The state’s robust health care system ensures access to quality medical care and support services for older adults. Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, offers comprehensive coverage for low-income seniors, while the California Department of Aging assists with housing, nutrition and long-term care planning.

California offers senior living options and benefits for older adults seeking a fulfilling retirement experience in an idyllic setting. By understanding the nuances of senior living contracts and exploring different types of retirement communities, you can enjoy a vibrant and enriching lifestyle in the Golden State.

Casa de las Campanas is the only not-for-profit Life Plan Community offering Type A and Type C contracts in San Diego. These options allow qualifying independent living residents to smoothly transition to any level of care they may need. Our award-winning community aims to provide a sense of home and comfort while offering the necessary care, support and resources at every stage of your health journey.

Here, we offer an extraordinary retirement experience where each moment is an opportunity for adventure, personal growth and fulfillment. We prioritize Casa’s residents at every turn, cultivating a lifestyle enriched with premium services and amenities, and an array of programs and activities designed to inspire joy, passion and a sense of purpose.

Stay tuned for the next blog in our series as we delve deeper into the finances of aging and empower you to make confident choices for the road ahead. Contact us to learn more about the pricing options at Casa de las Campanas.

Featured Image: Piksel / Shutterstock