These continuing-care retirement communities garner four- or five-star Medicare nursing home ratings and accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Entrance fee: $381,000 to $600,000 (90% refundable)
Monthly fee: $3,800 to $4,800 (stays the same for all levels of care)
Highlights: RiverWoods was founded 15 years ago by two local women, who later went on to live there themselves. So it's no wonder that residents are involved in management of the facility; three even sit on the board of trustees. Currently, RiverWoods offers two self-contained campuses, and a third is scheduled to open in 2010. The campuses differ in size and personality, and each has its own set of facilities: pools, art and dance studios, woodworking shops, dining rooms and more. In both, RiverWoods tries to maintain a ratio of two employees for every three residents.
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