David Ammons - Headshot
David Ammons

David Ammons is president of Retirement Living Associates, Inc. (RLA), a company which provides planning, development, marketing, and management services for new and existing retirement communities. He has worked in and with Senior Living Communities since his graduation from Wake Forest University in 1985. Contact David Ammons at david@rlainc.com or 919-783-0044 ext 21.

I have written in past articles about the categories of retirement living. In the broadest of strokes these include on a continuum of living independently; Active Adult, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Skilled Care.

These various types of retirement housing options may be free- standing or combined with one, two or more of the other categories. I recognize and agree that these combinations may be helpful to the resident/member but I worry that in some situations a community may look like it provides certain protections or commitments contractually while, in actuality, it may not. Specifically, in North Carolina, the example that I see causing confusion often is a licensed Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) versus a campus with varying levels of living but without a contract for continuing care.

Some now refer to these as Continuum of Care Campus (CoCC). This is a new-to-me acronym for these campuses but they generally have Independent Living as well as Assisted and may have Memory care and/or Skilled beds on site. But the transition from one level of living or care to another is not committed contractually as it is in a CCRC. Likewise, the community has not undergone the rigorous review that is done by the NC Department of Insurance for a CCRC. I want to share that I have visited some of the non-CCRC campus and they are nice, residents seem happy and all is well but the differences may be hidden.

As a member of the senior industry space for over 34 years I am a huge advocate for full disclosure and doing all that can be done to help senior prospects fully understand the communities they may be touring and considering for their next move. Another variation that I have covered is the Multi Unit Assisted Housing with Services (MUAHS) type of community where the rental of an apartment is from one company and they have contracted with a home health or home health care company to provide for needed personal services.

Independent living communities are generally considered different from an Active Adult Community but through fee-for -service arrangements the line between an Active Adult Community and an Independent Living Community are hard to discern. Historically, an Independent living community has had minimal services included such as meals, housekeeping and transportation. This resulted in a higher monthly fee for all while some did not wish to use the services to the level that were included.

In summary, everyone should take the time to learn what is being offered at every community they are considering. It is important to understand how the choice you make addresses today’s needs and desires as well as future possible needs and desires. Many changes we are seeing today benefit the resident and, as was predicted by many, the baby boomer market is eager for new options and new choices. The industry is responding.