People who decide to move into a continuing care retirement community typically don’t regret their decision and report higher satisfaction levels down the road compared to counterparts who opted not to move into a CCRC, new research finds.
Two studies jointly funded by LCS and Brookdale Senior Living researched why some people choose not to move into a CCRC and their overall satisfaction with life; how new residents adjust to their physical and social setting; at what point residents find a sense of contentment and purpose in life going forward; and whether they develop positive social relationships post move-in.
“Overall, the survey outcomes were more encouraging for CCRC residents,” says a new LCS white paper. “CCRC residents had higher satisfaction with their home and well-being than non-residents did at the final interview.”
CCRC operators can find success by involving a prospective resident’s circle of influence, highlighting the value of healthcare services, leveraging data regarding CCRC resident satisfaction vs. non-residents, and scheduling follow-ups with new residents a few months after they’ve moved into a community, according to LCS.
“How Do Older Adults Decide to Move to a CCRC and What contributes to Satisfaction With the Decision?” surveyed 52 new CCRC residents and 49 non-residents who had considered moving into a CCRC but decided against it.
“The largest differences between CCRC residents and non-residents involved the positive perception that CCRCs offer a variety of health services, are a good fit personally, and offer a variety of social activities,” the study found. CCRC residents see the value of a continuum of care, with selling points such as on-site skilled nursing, housekeeping, and help with activities of daily living.
The way people first hear about CCRC living is important. Residents more often received their first source of information about CCRCs from spouses and children, while non-residents were more likely to have received that information from friends, direct mail, and newspaper advertising.
A combined 40% of CCRC residents in the survey had first heard of CCRCs from a spouse or child, compared to just 9% of those who opted not to move into a CCRC. And while only 8% of residents had gotten information about CCRCs from a newspaper or mail ad, that’s how 35% of non-residents got their information.
The second study built off of the first, surveying 51 new CCRC residents with an average age of 80 who had been living in their community for three months on average.
The first few months of CCRC living boosted these residents’ feelings of improved control in enjoyment of daily activities, decision-making, and concentration, according to the survey’s findings. On the other end of the scale, feelings of strain, worry, unhappiness, lack of confidence, and poor self-esteem declined.
“Having health, emotional, and social needs met over the course of the first year is a strong predictor of satisfaction with the decision to move,” says LCS. “Cumulatively, both sets of research suggest that the vast majority of new residents adjust well to CCRC living, and the findings imply that by 6 months most will feel like they are part of their community.”
That increases the importance of fostering activity and involvement in the three to six months following a move-in, and current residents and staff play a major role in a new resident’s adjustment, says LCS citing its own market research.
“One year after moving to a CCRC the residents who participated in the research were happier and healthier than those who had remained at home,” the paper concludes. “These findings help validate the conviction that people who choose to live in senior living communities can experience greater well-being—and greater levels of happiness.”
Written by Alyssa Gerace