How Does a Life Plan Community Differ from Traditional 55+ Communities?

life plan communities

Back when your grandparents were considering a traditional 55+ community, their options were fairly limited. These communities were typically small developments with down-sized homes built for adults over the age of 55. They usually included a community center space to host dinners and events, perhaps a pool, but that was about it.

You can still find many similar types of 55+ communities today. They’re built for younger seniors who are still able to live independently. And while they certainly serve a need, once seniors require any level of care – from help with grocery shopping and light housework to nursing care and memory support –55+ communities just don’t have the resources available to support their aging residents.

The need for personal or skilled nursing care as we age is rarely a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ That’s why life plan communities have emerged to offer senior living options that let seniors find joy in retirement while also planning for their needs as they age.

What is a Life Plan Community?

A Life Plan Community – also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC – is a community that supports seniors through every phase of the aging process. Life plan communities include a combination of residential living, personal care, and skilled nursing services, all available to residents living on campus.

Seniors can join a life plan community while living independently and, as they age, remain a part of the community while accessing higher levels of care on-site. These communities provide seniors everything they need throughout each phase of aging, so whatever path life takes, they’ll never need to leave home.

Why Choose a Life Plan Community Over a More 55+ Rental or Ownership Community?

To answer this question, you’ll first have to understand the types and features of 55+ communities.

Traditional 55+ communities typically fall into one of two categories – rented versus owned. Neither community provides coverage for Personal Care, Memory Support, or Skilled Nursing Care. Since these services aren’t available on-site within the community, residents are left to find outside health care services on their own.

So, if your senior parent or grandparent becomes ill, or when they eventually need higher levels of care, 55+ communities can only offer them limited options. One of these options is to hire a personal care assistant to come to their home. While this does allow your family member to remain in their home, it can also be extremely costly depending on the amount of care they need.

The second option is to move to a facility like a skilled nursing center where personal care or skilled care is available. The downside with this option, of course, is that your parent or grandparent may need to leave their home and community and completely uproot their lives. If they own their senior living home, they’ll have the added hassle of selling the house and making an already difficult life change more challenging.

These options aren’t that appealing to many seniors and have therefore given rise to the aging-in-place trend in recent decades. Renovating your home so you can safely live independently into your later years can be a great option for many younger seniors. Unfortunately, though, the same challenges still present themselves when it’s time for higher levels of care.

Life plan communities alleviate all these concerns. When it’s time for higher levels of care, that care is already within your community and ready for you. Access to care is practically immediate and your parents can continue to live in the community they call home.

Finding the Right Life Plan Community for Your Parents

Change in life is inevitable, especially in our later years. Life plan communities understand this reality. They not only help residents plan and prepare for those changes, but they celebrate the joys of every phase of life while providing on-campus access to the care seniors will one day need.

When you start your search to find the right life plan community for your parents, focus on these three community features.

Highly Skilled, On-Campus Health Care Resources

Life plan communities like Pleasant View offer different levels of care right on campus so your parent never has to leave home to receive the medical attention they need. Unlike 55+ rental and resident-owned communities, life plan communities almost always offer:

  • Personal Care – a living arrangement providing staff availability to residents 24 hours a day.
  • Memory Support – living areas designed for residents with dementia or dementia-related illnesses.
  • Skilled Nursing Care – integrated medical treatment, nursing care, specialty services, and personal care for residents who need 24-hour care and supervision.

Ask to meet staff members and take a tour of each of the care facilities. Get a good feel for the community so you know your parents will feel at home within the life plan community you choose.

A Vibrant, Active Community

Healthy living requires more than on-site access to quality health care. Social connections are key ingredients for happiness and long-term health, which is why a vibrant community culture with amenities that bring residents together is so important.

Look for life plan communities that offer amenities like on-site restaurants, community groups and clubs, maintenance services for carefree living, a fitness center and pool, and other features that strengthen community living.

Learn more about the Top Amenities to Consider When Choosing a Life Plan Community.

Connection to the Broader Community

A strong life plan community connects its residents to the broader community, creating opportunities for seniors to get involved in meaningful and impactful ways.

At Pleasant View, our residents volunteer at the local library, public schools, and at various non-profit organizations. Many are active in local churches, participate in community fundraisers, and give back in many other ways.

Come See How Pleasant View Communities Can Help You Enjoy Retirement Now and Plan for Your Future

We invite you and your loved ones to visit Pleasant View Communities and discover the benefits our life plan community has to offer. We’ll take you on a tour to show you the beauty and joy of carefree living and how our on-site care services will be there for you through every phase of senior life. Contact us to learn more and schedule a tour.


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