When the continuing care retirement community model first was introduced as a senior housing option, it was heralded as a godsend. Older active adults preparing for less mobile or healthy futures could move into a CCRC while healthy and then access more care when needed.

The trade-off for this peace of mind often entailed a six- to seven-figure entrance fee (a portion of which could be refunded to an estate or individual upon move-out) and high monthly fees. The high entrance fee, however, often creates a barrier for many older adults looking for homes in their silver years. Monthly costs, often very high, pose challenges even for people with assets and income who can afford a premium monthly payment.

Understanding that the typical CCRC model does not work for many older adults, the leadership at the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living chose a different path when developing a new senior living community concept on its campus. SFCJL already had a CCRC in the Peninsula area, so the new Frank Residences, which represent the first new senior living construction in San Francisco in more than a decade, aimed to adopt a different model. It is designed for older adults to take advantage of assisted living and memory care upon move-in and not requiring a high entrance fee. If a resident needs neither at the time of move-in, that’s also fine.

There is an urgent need for better options in senior living in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere. Prospective residents often must choose between communities with limited amenities, a costly CCRC environment, or waiting until a life event drives them into a skilled nursing environment.

Like a traditional CCRC, Frank Residences is designed to appeal to active, independent seniors. Units are large, modern, bright and have one or two bedrooms with a corresponding number of bathrooms, with kitchens and other amenities typically found in a luxury urban condo. Those still traveling the world or keeping up with their golf and tennis games will feel right at home, and if they need care in a month or a year, or more attention tomorrow, it’s available on-site, 24 hours a day. If residents need an expanded level of care for a short or longer period of time, it’s next door on campus at the SFCJL’s skilled nursing facility.

This offering goes way beyond the recent CCRC model, which would require residents to move away and relocate again for higher levels of care.

The amenities on campus also go beyond CCRC offerings. SFCL is creating Byer Square, a “downtown” for its campus, complete with a performing arts center, salon, cinema, restaurant, fitness center and pool as well as medical clinics. This offering is meant to provide older adults with an engaging and connected experience.

We want residents to enjoy all the wonderful experiences that life has to offer without the worry – literally right outside residents’ doors. Byer Square is really the only thing like it in senior housing today that I am aware of.

What will be missing is the large entrance fee usually associated with this level of amenity-driven community. Residents will pay a modest deposit and monthly rents based on the exact home and the level of services required when they move in. If they need more care later, it is available at an additional cost at that time. And residents will have first priority should they need to move to the memory care section of Frank Residences.

The future of senior living is evolving as the market continues to grow. We chose this model of care so that it would take some of the worry out of moving for seniors and caregivers. It’s really the best of both worlds: Less cost and anxiety with more care options and amenities.