Do your homework before you move into this retirement haven

Another reason to look closely at your continuing care center: If its independent living quarters are sparsely occupied, there might be financial troubles ahead.

“In some cases, lower than 90 percent occupancy could suggest an issue with being able to fill certain units with new residents, and the inability to maintain a high occupancy level could be an indicator of problems in the future,” said Zebolsky.

Get into the details and work through them with your accountant: Key financial reports to obtain from your continuing care center include its audited financial statements, data on monthly service fee increases, financial ratios and reserves, according to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Further, when continuing care centers do run into financial difficulty, there is no guarantee that a resident will get his or her money back.

In that case, another provider may buy out a struggling facility, potentially leading to a change in services and fees, Breeding said.

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