senior couple looking at paperwork while sitting on the couch

Exploring Senior Living Entrance Fees

As you evaluate luxury senior living communities in search of your next great adventure, you’re likely to encounter two key financial components that you’ll need to consider: the entrance fee and the monthly fee.

Though self-explanatory in part, these two fees can vary by community—depending on the level of care available, luxury amenities, and residence sizes. To help give you a better understanding of each, let’s explore common questions, important differences, and the advantages of each.

Do All Communities Have Senior Living Entrance Fees?

The entrance fee, called a buy-in fee at some communities, is a one-time, upfront fee paid by residents when joining a senior living community. While not all communities will require an entrance fee, most Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and Life Plan Communities will.

Continuing Care Retirement Community Entrance Fee

In general, senior living entrance fees can range anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million. According to AARP, CCRC entrance fees in 2022 averaged around $402,000. It’s important to note that senior living entrance fees typically reflect home prices in nearby areas and, like the housing market, can fluctuate.

What Do Senior Living Entrance Fees Cover?

For CCRC communities, the entrance fee prepays some of the fees that come with offering access to continuing care for life and ensures priority access to higher levels of care in addition to covering community operating expenses. It’s important to note that assisted living entrance fees, CCRC entrance fees, and entrance fees for senior independent living communities are also based on the size of the residence you choose and the number of occupants.


Senior woman filling out paperwork and using a calculator

Are Entrance Fees for Retirement Communities Refundable?

Retirement community entrance fees may be refundable up to a certain point. If your entrance fee is refunded, the amount that’s returned to you or your estate depends on the type of contract you sign. For example, a continuing care retirement community entrance fee typically falls under one of three types of plans: traditional, return of capital, and declining balance. A “return of capital” plan typically refunds 50%, 75%, 90%, or even 100% of the entrance fee regardless of how long you reside in the community. A “declining balance” contract, on the other hand, amortizes the entrance fee over the first few years, after which time you won’t be reimbursed any portion of your entrance fee. A traditional entrance fee is not refunded but generally costs less than the other two types.

What About Senior Living Monthly Fees?

A monthly fee covers the services and amenities associated with living in the community. The amount you pay depends on the size of your residence, how many people live there, and the range of services and amenities available to you.

Cost Benefits of Senior Living Communities

When you add up the costs of living at home, such as property taxes, insurance, utility bills, maintenance and repairs, home security, groceries, gym memberships, and a mortgage (if you have one), the monthly fee at a CCRC, Life Plan Community, or independent living community can compare quite favorably.

Services Typically Included in Your Monthly Fee (If Available)

  • Maintenance inside and outside your residence
  • Housekeeping, which often includes flat linen service
  • Most utilities
  • Scheduled transportation to events, shopping, and medical appointments
  • 24/7 security and emergency response systems

Amenities Typically Included in Your Monthly Fee

  • Formal and bistro dining venues offering chef-prepared meals
  • Access to fitness center and pool with instructor-led classes
  • Use of all common spaces such as auditorium, library, game rooms, art studio, putting green, pickleball court
  • Full calendar of activities, events, classes, club meetings, outings and more


Senior couple signing a contract

Fee Differences by Community Contract Type

Most contracts offered by CCRCs, Life Plan Communities, and retirement communities fall under one of four types: Type A, Type B, Type C, and rentals. Of these, types A, B, and C all require an entrance fee. Some rental communities may also request an upfront community or membership fee.

Type A, Life Care

  • Higher entrance fee
  • Monthly fee does not increase substantially for higher levels of care
  • Health service costs are discounted

Type B, Modified Plan

  • Lower entrance fee than Type A
  • Limited number of free days of health services or an ongoing discounted rate for health services

Type C, Fee-for-Service

  • Lowest entrance fee
  • Health services available at full market rate


  • No entrance fee, but possibly a nominal community or membership fee
  • Higher monthly fees
  • May or may not offer access to health care services, but if offered, usually available at market rates

Peace of Mind Comes Standard With Life Care

At Abbey Delray South, residents can opt for a Type A Life Care contract that ensures predictable monthly fees, even if they need higher levels of care. You won’t have to worry about where you’ll get the care you may need or how much it will cost.


To learn more about the advantages of Life Care at Abbey Delray South, complete the form at the bottom of this page. Curious about independent senior living? Take a peek at floor plans and get in touch to schedule an in-person visit today.