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Can I Afford a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

retirement community

One of the most common questions we’re asked here at The Esquiline is whether someone can afford it.

It’s true that continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), also called Life Plan communities, are the most expensive of all senior living options, but The Esquiline is not your average CCRC.

A Life Plan Community with a Difference

CCRCs usually require entrance fee, as well as monthly charges used to prepay for care and provide the business money to operate. Average entry fees range from $107,000 to $427,000, and average monthly service fees range from $2,089 to $4,154.  Many also require an application fee to be on the waiting list.

Because The Esquiline is a nonprofit under the auspices of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, we operate differently. Our goals are centered around service. We are the only retirement living community located on the grounds of a national Catholic shrine.

At The Esquiline, there is no required application fee. Our contracts are month-to-month, and a 60-day notice is all that is required to end your contract in the independent living apartments.

Value of a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Life Plan communities provide sufficient value to residents that, even though their prices may be higher than other types of senior living communities, seniors still flock to them. The reason is that they offer the assurance that older adults will be able to receive the care they need throughout their lives without moving.

As we explain on our website: “Once you have chosen to reside here, you need never worry about moving again. The campus offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care all under one roof. We offer a variety of truly affordable retirement plans, all without entry fees.”

CCRCs offer many amenities as part of their service. These usually include:

  • Meal plans
  • Barber shops/beauty salons
  • Fitness center
  • Transportation for shopping and to local attractions
  • Public areas
  • Library
  • Home and property maintenance
  • Snow removal
  • Housekeeping
  • Linen service
  • 24-hour security
  • Emergency response systems
  • Parking
  • Free entertainment

At The Esquiline, we offer all of the above, as well as:

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Dentist consultant on-site
  • Monthly massage therapist on-site
  • Monthly Podiatrist on-site
  • Auditorium for dances, concerts, movies and lectures
  • Lounge with big screen TV/VCR/DVD
  • Computer Cafe with Internet access
  • Arts & Crafts room
  • Billiards room
  • Puzzle room
  • Woodworking area
  • Aviary
  • Bank representatives on-site weekly
  • Community garden
  • Beautiful chapel available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Pastoral staff, including Catholic priests and a Protestant minister
  • 200 beautifully landscaped wooded areas, including a rose garden, a waterfall, fountains and courtyards for leisurely outdoor strolls
  • Wide halls with handrails and floor-to-ceiling glass for scenic views
  • Storage facility

Compare the Costs of a Life Plan and Other Senior Living Communities

Compare the costs of living in a continuing care retirement community with other options, and you—like many others who want the best for their loved ones—will find value.

Genworth Financial surveyed 440 regions across the U.S. in 2016 to develop estimated care costs for various options.

Estimated 2017 Cost of Care in Illinois
Homemaker Services $49,795
Home Health Aide $51,846
Adult Day Health Care $19,325
Assisted Living $48,173
Semi-Private Nursing Home $69,175
Private Nursing Home $77,070


The median annual national cost of care for a CCRC, according to estimates above, is approximately $37,458 ($3121.5 x 12) plus the median entry fee of $267,000, averaged out over a 15-year span ($17,800), to total $55,258. When we add 3% annually for inflation, as Genworth did, the mean estimated annual cost for a CCRC in 2017 would be $56,915.74.

Compare Current Living and CCRC Costs

If you compare the costs of living in a Life Plan community with other options, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Most people don’t realize how much they spend on meals, transportation, and entertainment, all of which are covered.

For example: Your parent would save thousands if they no longer had to pay for a vehicle, gas and maintenance because they have transportation to shopping, a library, lectures, and entertainment. Since most retirement communities offer spiritual services on-site, they wouldn’t have to travel to church. And all communities offer plans for chef-prepared nutritious meals so they would never have to go—and may never again want to go—to a restaurant.

Just think of all the expenses—home maintenance and repair, lawn mowing, snow removal, transportation, entertainment, dining, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, linen service, housekeeping, appliance repair and replacement, lectures, seminars, fitness club membership, emergency response system, home security, on-site healthcare, wi-fi, cable, religious ceremonies, and more—that are included in the cost.

Emotional Costs of Caregiving

If you measure costs in dollars and cents, you are shortchanging yourself. Although finances are important, there are other issues that every single person who has a senior loved one considers.

  • How many times have you been concerned when a snowstorm or other bad weather hits and you can’t get to your parent or other senior loved one?
  • How many times have you been interrupted at work because your parent needed a prescription?
  • How many times have you mowed their lawn or changed their oil and wished you could have spent that time merely enjoying their company?
  • How many nights have you lost sleep over their health?
  • Have you wondered whether you are prepared to deal with an illness or a fall?
  • How safe is their home?
  • Every time you visit, do you check to make sure they are eating right?

The emotional costs of caregiving take a toll. Caregiving can be as minimal as occasionally picking up a prescription or as extensive as taking care of a parent with a stroke or dementia. No matter how minimal or extensive your caregiving responsibilities, you always worry because you love them.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, A substantial body of research shows that family members who provide care to individuals with chronic or disabling conditions are themselves at risk. Emotional, mental, and physical health problems arise from complex caregiving situations and the strains of caring for frail or disabled relatives.

“Today, medical advances, shorter hospital stays, limited discharge planning, and expansion of home care technology have placed increased costs as well as increased care responsibilities on families, who are being asked to shoulder greater care burdens for longer periods of time. To make matters worse, caregivers are more likely to lack health insurance coverage due to time out of the workforce. These burdens and health risks can hinder the caregivers’ ability to provide care, lead to higher healthcare costs and affect the quality of life of both the caregiver and care receivers.”

The question each caregiver must ask is: Which is the best option for the health and happiness of my loved one and myself?

Can I Afford a Life Plan Community?

When considering the question of whether you or a senior loved one can afford a continuing care retirement community, comparing options and weighing the financial costs will help you make a decision. However, don’t forget that, when dealing with a loved one, there are emotional factors to take into consideration, too.

The Esquiline offers a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. If you’d like to learn more about how this provides the safest, healthiest, and happiest living arrangement for your parent, call 618-394-6400 or 800-533-6279 or contact us online.


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