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Exploring Life Plan Communities

If you or a loved one is beginning to consider where to live as you age, deciphering the myriad of options available for senior housing and care can be a bit overwhelming. You may ask: Where do I look first? How will I pay for it? What happens as I get older or develop special care needs?

A Life Plan Community, formerly known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) may be the perfect answer.

What is a Life Plan Community?

These “age in place” communities are a first choice for many looking at senior living options because they offer a tiered approach to the aging process, accommodating needs as they change. A healthy older adult can choose to reside in independent living, which can be a single-family home, an apartment or a condominium. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, that adult can transition into assisted living. Should specific circumstances arise that require specialty care, such as Alzheimer’s, a stroke, or other medical issue, many Life Plan Communities offer skilled nursing and memory care living options.

In general, Life Plan Communities offer health services, meals, personal care, housekeeping, transportation, and emergency help. In addition, the communities are chock full of social and educational activities.

Because Life Plan Communities are an “all-in-one,” giving older adults the option to live in one location as they age, it takes the stress out of the caregiving relationship. They provide a greater level of comfort for residents and greater peace of mind for loved ones, knowing that needs from social activity to health care are being met and that a plan is in place for the future.

Where do I start?

Life Care Services is a great place to begin exploring information and resources on living options, find a community and develop a well-rounded knowledge about senior living.

An LCS® Company, Life Care Services is the third largest manager of senior living communities nationwide. More than 33,000 older adults are served in the communities managed by Life Care Services, which include independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care, or a combination of these living arrangements.

Where You Live Matters (WYLM) is another wonderful resource for information about senior living options. Where You Live Matters is endorsed by the American Seniors Housing Association, a group comprised of more than 400 organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, that contribute to WYLM’s helpful collection of resources. The WYLM user-friendly website allows viewers to dynamically compare senior living options considering a multitude of factors, including stage in the selection process and recommended level of care.

Visiting Life Plan Communities in your area with a loved one is the best way to see what a community is truly like. Have a staff member walk you through the different housing options, cost structures and contract choices.

How much will a Life Plan Community cost?

Life Plan Communities are a comprehensive long-term-care option, so the cost depends on the level of necessary care and the accommodations included in a personalized package. Life Plan Communities can be one of the best options for those who want to plan ahead, have everything arranged and be able to enjoy their golden years worry free.

Monthly charges are dependent on several factors. This link, courtesy of Where You Live Matters includes a helpful summary of living options with a basic overview of financial information as well. However, it is still important to carefully review the specific contract of any community you’re considering.

According to AARP.org, three basic senior living contracts include:

  • Life Care or Extended Contract: This is the most expensive option, but offers unlimited assisted living, and skilled nursing care without a significant increase in fees.
  • Modified Contract: This contract offers a set of services provided for a limited length of time, or a percentage discount off market rates. When that time is expired, other services can be obtained, but for higher monthly fees.
  • Fee-for-Service Contract: The initial enrollment fee may be lower, but assisted living and skilled nursing will be paid for at their market rates.

Choosing a senior living community is a big decision. The more informed you are, the more satisfied you’ll be with that decision.

Check out our community, where seniors can age in place with caring, professional staff, numerous amenities and activities, and assistance every step of the way.