Senior couple looking at a paper

The senior living landscape has been evolving over the past several years, as a new generation of older adults continues to expect much more than continuing care from retirement communities. No longer are seniors willing to accept the outdated expectation to “retire, rest and rust” – they expect to remain active, vibrant and vital at every stage of their lives.

Many Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have been keeping pace with these expectations, significantly expanding and enhancing community services, amenities and offerings. Some people in the senior living industry came to agree that the name, “continuing care retirement community,” didn’t accurately reflect what today’s retirement communities offer its residents. 

In 2013, several executive directors of CCRCs, along with others in the senior living industry, began working together to come up with a name more reflective of today’s retirement communities.

The result of these people’s efforts is a new name for the CCRC: Life Plan Community.

Though a CCRC and a Life Plan Community are the exact same thing, the name Life Plan Community more accurately reflects what older adults are seeking: a community that offers them a plan for the rest of their lives. 

What is a CCRC?

Many people are familiar with CCRCs and what they offer. The basic CCRC model is a retirement community that offers independent living and continuing care – typically assisted living, skilled nursing and/or other health-related services, such as respite care, memory care or palliative care – all on the same campus. A CCRC means an older adult can receive each level of care they need, when they need it, without having to make additional moves. Not all CCRCs offer all these levels.

Some CCRCs offer a rental option with no entrance fee and simple month-to-month contracts. But if care is needed, the resident’s fee may increase substantially because they’re now paying market rates for that care. 

Other CCRCs offer what’s known as a Life Care contract, which generally requires an upfront entrance fee and higher monthly fees. The big benefit of this contract is that if you do need any health-related services, such as assisted living, skilled nursing or memory care, you get that care with little to no increase in your monthly fees.

What is a Life Plan Community?

The name Life Plan Community made its debut at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Boston in 2015 after two years of extensive research, discussions, surveys and feedback. A collaborative recommendation for communities to make the switch from calling themselves CCRCs to Life Plan Communities came for the following reasons:

  • Each resident’s individual health and well-being, throughout the entirety of their life, are part of the overall focus, instead of only highlighting the importance of care. 
  • The title emphasizes the importance of having a plan for life at every stage.
  • The word “community” highlights the positive aspect of living socially among others who share the same zest for living a full life. 
  • When brought all together, Life Plan Community clearly states that this community allows you to put a smart plan in place for your future, so you can live life to the fullest today and every day.

The evolution in terminology helped reflect the significant and positive industry changes already happening at a community level. While care continued to be available on a community’s campus, many were adding or enhancing services, amenities and opportunities to exceed residents’ expectations. Those may include:

  • Possibilities to volunteer, pursue a new career, or engage with the larger community around them
  • An improved culinary experience, with a chef-led staff, restaurant-quality menus featuring locally sourced foods, five-star dining, remarkable service and multiple dining options
  • Increased emphasis on health and wellness, with customized programs, access to personal wellness coaches, and a variety of classes and courses to improve and maintain overall well-being
  • A rich and diverse monthly calendar of educational, cultural and social events as well as clubs,  common spaces and activities that reflect residents’ hobbies, interests and passions

You might now notice that, in contrast to the description of a CCRC that emphasizes care for someday, the definition of a Life Plan Community emphasizes living life today, with a plan for tomorrow. That may be the one true difference between the terms CCRC and Life Plan Community. 

It’s important to note that some communities may have expanded, renovated or enhanced their offerings, yet still refer to themselves as CCRCs. And other communities may now call themselves Life Plan Communities, yet they haven’t expanded, renovated or enhanced their offerings. Again, there’s no difference between a CCRC and a Life Plan Community. But what does differentiate communities is the lifestyle each provides, as well as the type of contracts it offers.


Types of contracts you’ll find here at Fellowship Senior Living

Unlike a typical Life Plan Community (CCRC) where you must move as your level of care needs change, our plans are uniquely designed to help you stay in the comfort of your own home and maintain your independence for as long as possible. We bring the care to you. As such, we offer two types of contracts here:

  • Life Care Contract. Life Care contract provides a continuum of care for life.  Residents enter at independent living and can transition to assisted living, memory care or long-term care. Life Care contracts require an entrance fee, but offer relatively stable monthly fees with only small adjustments for cost of living/inflation increases, etc. regardless of the level of care.
  • Refund or Fee for Service Contract. These contracts typically require higher entrance fees because the cost of care is financed by drawing down from the entrance fee.  If you end up not needing long-term care, a 90% refund is returned at the end of your stay.  

Not all Life Plan Communities offer all types of contracts. And not all contracts may be right for you. So how do you choose the right Life Plan Community and the right contract? We’d be happy to talk with you about what Fellowship Senior Living offers and help you choose the right contract for your wants and needs.

Discover Fellowship Senior Living’s Life Plan Community

When you choose a Life Plan Community like Fellowship Senior Living, you’re taking control of the decision proactively. You’re choosing where you want to live, how you want to live – and how and where you want to be cared for if your health needs change. You’re choosing not to leave that decision up to your loved ones, who may be forced to react quickly during a health crisis.

Take the first step toward learning more. Contact us today to discover what life in a Life Plan Community could look like for you at Fellowship Senior Living.