View of Mt. Hood from above the Mary's Woods community

Senior Living Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)?

In a CCRC, also referred to as a Life Plan Community (LPC), seniors enjoy independent living with a vibrant social calendar, fitness programs, on-site dining, and maintenance-free living. The community fosters lasting relationships, combating isolation and providing a sense of purpose. Additionally, a CCRC offers a continuum of care, most often on the same campus, giving residents peace of mind, knowing they have a secure plan for the future should their health needs change. This approach to senior living allows residents to maintain a fulfilling lifestyle in a safe, secure, and supportive community setting.

CCRCs operate as either nonprofit or for-profit organizations. See below for details:

What is a Nonprofit CCRC?
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Tax-Exempt Charitable Operation:

  • Operates as a tax-exempt charitable organization, designated as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS, and exclusively serves exempt purposes, with earnings reinvested into the community mission.
  • Maintains a foundation or fund to enhance financial assistance capabilities, supporting residents with financial challenges.

Diverse Board of Directors:

  • Run by a paid or voluntary Board of Directors composed of individuals from diverse professional backgrounds.
  • Depending on the community, residents may have opportunities to serve on the board, promoting inclusivity and community involvement.

Mission-Driven Decision-Making:

  • Bases decisions on the mission or charitable focus of the organization.
  • Ensures that organizational objectives align with charitable purposes, emphasizing service over profit.

Organization Focus:

  • Allocate all earnings and donations toward mission objectives, not owners’ profits.
  • Some operate as single-site organizations, though many are part of larger groups.
    What is a For-Profit CCRC?
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    Profit-Driven Operation:

    • Operate with the primary goal of generating profit, being accountable to shareholders or corporate investors rather than residents, potentially impacting resident-centered priorities.
    • Profit motive often influences decision-making processes within the organization.

    Corporate Oversight:

    • Often managed by larger parent organizations responsible for multiple communities.
    • Vulnerable to changes in ownership or potential sales, which may impact the continuity of care.

    Financial Stability and Resident Services:

    • May ask a resident to leave if they can no longer pay for services.
    • Financial considerations may play a significant role in decisions related to resident care and services.

    Organization Focus:

    • Driven by the objective of maximizing profits and minimizing losses, for-profit organizations may have lower staffing ratios to meet the financial expectations of their shareholders.
    • Financial expectations of shareholders can influence resource allocation, potentially affecting the level of care provided to residents.
    Mary's Woods is a Nonprofit CCRC
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    Mary’s Woods, a non-profit, single-site Life Plan Community (LPC), also known as a Continuuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), caters to the diverse needs of seniors aged 62 and older by offering a range of housing, educational, and health care options. The voluntary Board of Directors, which includes two resident representatives, plays a vital role in ensuring sound fiscal stewardship and overseeing the faithful execution of the mission and values of the community.

    Mary’s Woods is a home for life and makes a commitment to support residents who outlive their financial resources through no fault of their own. When that happens, the community’s Resident Fund serves as a safety net for residents assisting with monthly fees so residents can continue to live in their home. The Mary’s Woods community has a profound sense of security, knowing all residents can continue to enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle even if faced with financial challenges.

    What is the pricing structure of a CCRC?

    Communities typically have a one-time entrance fee or “buy-in” and on-going monthly service fees. These fees cover the services and amenities offered at the community. A community’s pricing structure usually incorporates the following factors:


    • Type of Residence (Stand-alone home, duplex, townhome, or apartment)
    • Floor Plan / Square Footage
    • Contract Type
    • Services and Amenities
    What does the ENTRANCE FEE Cover?
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    The entrance fee is a one-time upfront payment and serves as a way to secure a residence within the community.  Entrance fees may be structured to help pay for future health services or help fund capital improvements that enhance the community. According to AARP, the average CCRC entrance fee is $402,000 for a senior living retirement community. Depending on the community, a portion of the entrance fee may be refundable.

    Refundable Portion of Entrance Fee
    Some communities offer a refundable portion of the entrance fee, payable to the resident if they move out or payable to their estate in the event of their death. The refundable component of a community’s entrance fee can range from 50% – 80% of the entrance fee.

    What is included in the Monthly service fee?
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    Monthly service fees cover services and amenities and typically include:

    • Interior & exterior home maintenance & upkeep
    • Housekeeping services
    • Social events, activities & community life programming
    • Concierge services
    • On-site security & emergency call system
    • Scheduled transportation services
    • Dining meal plan
    • Professionally landscaped common areas & grounds
    • Basic utilities, including water, cable & electricity

    Second Person Fee
    Communities typically charge a second person entrance fee ranging from $20,000 – $50,000 and an additional monthly service fee.

    Are any of these fees tax deductible?
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    Since CCRCs offer a continuum of care, a portion of the non-refundable entrance fee paid in the first year, as well as a percentage of the monthly fees paid each year, may be recognized by the IRS as qualified medical expenses. Consult with a tax professional to discuss your specific eligibility.

    MARY'S WOODS Entrance Fee & Monthly Service Fee
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    At Mary’s Woods, Apartment home entrance fees start at $244,900, and Villa homes start at $644,900, with a second person entrance fee of $46,000. Residents can rest assured that their entrance fee goes towards investing in a professionally managed and designed community, prioritizing residences, common areas, buildings, and amenities.  Access to supportive community-based amenities and health services, both in the present and long-term, provides a sense of security inherent in the continuum of care model.  At Mary’s Woods, 80% of the entrance fee is refundable to you or your estate. If you run out of assets through no fault of your own, the refundable portion of your entrance fee may be applied to your monthly service fee. Once that is exhausted, residents can apply for a Resident Fund grant.

    Monthly service fees for Apartment homes start at $2,844, and Villa homes start at $6,654, with a second person monthly service fee of $925. Mary’s Woods monthly service fees cover an on-site security and emergency call system, dining plan, concierge services, scheduled transportation, housekeeping services, planned social events, wellness programing, and much more.

    Financial Qualifications
    A minimum asset base equivalent to four times the entrance fee is required to qualify in addition to monthly income to support the monthly service fees.

    What Happens if a Resident Runs out of Money?

    When assessing CCRC options, research the community’s process when it comes to financial assistance if a resident is unable to pay their monthly service fees. Nonprofit CCRCs commonly allocate charitable funds to assist residents who experience financial challenges through no fault of their own. Before utilizing these funds, the refundable portion of the resident’s entrance fee is typically used to cover future monthly service fees.

    Mary's Woods Commitment to a "Home for Life"
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    Mary’s Woods is a home for life. If, through no fault of their own, residents face difficulties paying their monthly service fees or outlive their resources, funds to cover expenses, will first be accessed from the refundable portion of a resident’s entrance fee. If a resident exhausts the refundable portion of their entrance fee, the resident can apply for assistance through the Mary’s Woods’ Resident Fund.  The fund acts as a safety net that provides supplemental grants to help cover monthly service fees. Residents of the Mary’s Woods community experience a profound sense of security, knowing the Resident Fund is there should they outlive and exhaust their financial resources.

    What are the most common types of ccrc contracts?

    The three main CCRC contract types are:

    1. Type A: Lifecare
    2. Type B: Modified
    3. Type C: Fee-for-Service

    Understanding the different types of residency agreement contracts offered by senior living communities is essential to gain a clear understanding of the services they provide and your rights as a resident.

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    The Lifecare or Type A contract offers unlimited future well-being and health services, providing access to all levels of care at predictable rates adjusted for inflation. These contracts have the highest entrance fee and monthly service fees. These higher fees offset predictable monthly service fees should residents need a higher level of care in the future.

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    Type B CCRC contracts offer similar housing, amenities, and services as Type A contracts but with lower entrance fees. When residents access different levels of care, the monthly service fees are adjusted to support the level of support needed, typically at a discount relative to the market rate. This contract provides flexibility and affordability while ensuring access to the necessary levels of care as residents age.

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    Type C Fee-for-Service contracts offer the same housing, amenities, and services as Type A and Type B communities. Typically, the one-time entrance fee for independent living is lower than other contract types and monthly service fees for higher levels of care are at market rates.

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    Mary’s Woods is a Type B CCRC and offers an 80% refundable entrance fee to you or your estate. As a home for life, if residents outlive their resources, through no fault of their own, the refundable portion of the resident’s entrance fee may be used to cover their monthly service fees. Once that is exhausted, residents can apply for a Resident Fund grant.

    What Housing Options and Care Levels Are Offered?

    A life plan community (LPC), also known as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), supports seniors interested in a maintenance-free lifestyle where they can live independently in community with access to a continuum of care if their health needs change. This tiered approach to care accommodates the changing needs of residents on a single campus. When moving into a LPC, residents live independently, opting for housing that matches their needs. Living options for senior living communities can range from single-family residences to townhomes, cottages, or apartments.

    What is assisted living?
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    When concerns of safety make independent living more difficult and isolation increases, assisted living in a CCRC offers the next level of support. Operating within a community setting, assisted living features individual care plans and tailored services. This safety net assists residents with daily tasks such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, and medication management. In assisted living neighborhoods, residents come together for dining, programming, cultural activities, and fitness classes. This setting caters to those requiring extra support, providing diverse care levels within CCRCs to ensure residents thrive in a supportive environment.

    What is memory Care?
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    Memory Care in a CCRC specializes in dedicated care for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Compassionate and supported staff with advanced training learn how to communicate effectively with residents facing cognitive challenges. The staff commitment, education, and the intentional design of secure environments ensure the well-being of residents in a safe and supportive setting. The focus on specialized training and empathetic communication underscores a community’s dedication to providing high-quality care and programming for individuals with memory-related needs.

    What is residential Care?
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    Residents with more complex long-term needs can benefit from Residential Care that offers comprehensive care, with 24/7 nursing support. This level of care is tailored to address more complex needs, offering a higher level of clinical and medical care and assistance over what is provided in assisted living. A team of health professionals coordinates and delivers a range of supportive services available on a 24-hour basis. This program approach, within a community setting, promotes resident self-direction and participation in decisions that emphasize choice, dignity, individuality, and independence.

    What is Skilled Nursing?
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    Skilled nursing refers to a specialized level of care provided by trained clinical professionals, typically registered nurses and therapists. Licensed health professionals, supervised by a medical provider, deliver direct care that meets the medical needs of individuals who require continuous medical attention. Skilled nursing care involves administering medical treatments, providing rehabilitation services, and managing complex health conditions. Skilled nursing facilities offer around-the-clock care, focusing on medical needs, and are often utilized for short-term recovery or long-term care for individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Highly regulated, skilled nursing, as part of the continuum of care offerings of Life Plan Communities, is in decline across the country.

    MARY'S WOODS Levels of Care
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    Mary’s Woods is a nonprofit CCRC providing independent living, assisted living, memory care, and residential care to seniors aged 62 and older. Operating as a single-site community, Mary’s Woods provides residents with housing options, social and educational programs and events, and health services on a single campus located on 40 acres in Lake Oswego, OR. Mary’s Woods independent housing options include stand-alone homes, homes with attached garages, and apartments offering a variety of floor plans.

    When residents can no longer live safely independently, they are guided through a continuum of care to support their aging journey.  Full-time staff members collaborate with residents and their families to assess the required level of support, prioritizing person-centered care. Special attention is given to providing enrichment and engagement options for individuals dealing with dementia or limited mobility.