Study: Potential residents have low awareness, negative perception of CCRCs

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Continuing care retirement communities have a lot of work to do to make their image and services seem palatable to their next wave of potential customers, new survey results indicate.

Only 3% of respondents not currently in a CCRC said they would explore one as an option for retirement housing, according to Aramark Senior Living Services, which conducted the study. Only 60% of non-residents said they knew of someone living in a CCRC.

Surveyors queried 2,000 seniors from the United States and Canada. The average age of CCRC respondents was 78, while it was 58 for the group of non-residents (all over age 55) who took part.

"One key finding of this work is the relatively low overall awareness and negative perception of CCRCs among the general population who are over 55," said Robert W. Wilson, Aramark Senior Living Services executive vice president and general manager. Results were released Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Homes & Services for the Aging annual meeting in San Francisco.

The non-resident cohort gave CCRCs the lowest amount of "excellent" ratings for quality of life — 16%, compared with 24% for skilled nursing and 37% for assisted living facilities. The number for CCRCs jumped highest of all (65%), however, when respondents were read a "concept statement" that defined a CCRC, suggesting that many people simply are unfamiliar with CCRCs.

Long-term illness, death of a spouse and falls injuries were the top reasons CCRC residents gave for entering a community. Respondents said security, facility attractiveness and hospitable environment were top considerations for choosing a CCRC.