In November of 2015, LeadingAge announced a new name for a continuing care retirement community (CCRC): life plan community. The senior advocacy group combined forces with Mather LifeWays two years prior, creating a task force called Project NameStorm. The goal was to devise a new, more appealing name for a CCRC. After NameStorm finished extensive research, it concluded that 84% of today’s future seniors (those currently age 65 and younger) preferred a name other than CCRC.
The Problem with the Term “Care”
At the core of the phrase continuing care retirement community, the word “care” can be problematic. While future care is of course very important to seniors, it also brings to mind a medical facility that is far more nursing home-like than a true community that offers innovative, independent senior living. Prospective residents of CCRCs are still actively enjoying all that life has to offer, and the idea that they will be moving into anything resembling a nursing home can be a non-starter.
What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?
A CCRC offers a full continuum of care, from independent living options like free-standing patio homes to around-the-clock nursing services or memory support, all on one convenient campus. Along with the entrance fee residents pay and an adjustable monthly rent comes the peace of mind that all of their future needs will be attended to. A CCRC often provides maintenance-free, easy living for residents, with services and amenities like weekly housekeeping, scheduled transportation, social activities and dining options.
Making the Switch from CCRC to Life Plan Community
Today’s seniors are healthier and feeling younger than ever. This is why they’d prefer to have a “life plan” for their future needs. They want to sit down and talk about all the things they still want to do or accomplish in their retirement years, whether that’s spending a month traveling through Europe or finally sitting down to write a novel. They want to map out their future, not focus solely on the aging process and possible decline in health that could be down the road. Many of today’s life plan communities recognize the importance of providing specific, upscale activities their residents will enjoy, whether it’s a wine-tasting event or a night downtown at the theatre.
However, it’s likely that some CCRCs are still somewhat hesitant to make the switch to marketing themselves as life plan communities. LeadingAge points out that it’s important to consider what the research shows. People prefer the new terminology because it offers a much better description of what a CCRC actually provides: a variety of housing options and supportive services as health needs change, along with an engaging, interesting life right now. While the varying levels of care will always be important, emphasizing the fact that the community offers a comprehensive plan for the future is more so.
Is your community ready to make the switch from CCRC to life plan community? If you aren’t sure where to get started, Project NameStorm put together a helpful launch kit to help you map out the steps for the transition.
MatrixCare offers a fully integrated solution for life plan communities to provide coordinated care across multiple settings. Our software is a complete system of clinical, financial and operational solutions that provide all the functionality needed to manage your life plan community. Contact us today to learn more.