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The Difference Between CCRCs & Life Plan Communities

Havenwood Heritage Heights life plan residents enjoying a hikeIt’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed when you begin exploring senior living options, either for yourself or an aging parent. After all, the senior care industry is teeming with terminology that baffles consumers. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we find that most prospective residents are confused by the distinction between a CCRC (continuing care retirement community) and a life plan community. During tours, guests often ask: “How are the two community types different?” and “Which is better for me?”

However, as we discuss in this blog, there is no difference whatsoever between CCRCs and life plan communities. The term “life plan community” is simply a newer way of describing this comprehensive senior living option.

Contents

Are CCRCs & Life Plan Communities the Same?

Many assume that a life plan community is better than a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or vice versa. But the two are the exact same; the only difference is semantics. 

Whereas the term “CCRC” has been around since the 1980s, “life plan community” emerged in 2015 after two senior advocacy groups, LeadingAge and Mather LifeWays, analyzed seniors’ perception of “CCRC.” The task force found that consumers preferred “life plan community” over “continuing care retirement community” because it was more positive and relevant. The name focused on more than just care.

In 2017, senior living communities across the country started adopting the new descriptor. But many communities, including Havenwood Heritage Heights, continue to identify themselves as CCRCs.

How Does a Community Become a CCRC or Life Plan Community?

Though CCRCs and life plan communities are the same, this senior living option is vastly different from most. 

Typically, a senior living community offers just one level of support. An assisted living community, for example, provides assistance with activities of daily living (e.g. bathing, dressing, eating) but doesn’t offer intensive medical care. 

Comparatively, CCRCs must offer access to multiple levels of care—independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care—on a single campus to receive accreditation. This continuum of support allows residents to receive the assistance they deserve without leaving a place they know and love.

CCRC Payment Structure

The payment structure at a CCRC is also slightly different. Much like a traditional independent or assisted living community, CCRCs charge a monthly fee that covers a number of services like dining, security, and yard maintenance. This all-inclusive payment structure is convenient and, in many cases, cheaper than aging at home.

However, CCRCs also charge an entrance fee. This up-front cost secures your spot in the community and ensures that you receive support as your needs change.

What Can You Expect From a CCRC?

CCRCs are a practical option for older adults who want to age in place. Since these communities afford the security of a healthcare support system, you will never be forced to move, even if your daily needs change. But what does life look like at a CCRC? What can you expect?

CCRC Care Options

CCRCs offer a continuum of care. Typically, older adults come to the community as independent living residents and transition to higher levels of support if and when their needs change. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we offer the following care options:

Chart illustrating the levels of care available at a CCRC or life plan community

Services & Amenities

In addition to high-quality care, CCRCs provide aging adults with a luxurious, maintenance-free lifestyle. Many communities offer a robust lineup of services and amenities like chef-prepared meals and housekeeping. By keeping daily chores to a minimum, CCRCs help residents spend their time doing what they love most—whether that’s fishing or reading a good book. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, some of our services and amenities include:

Simplified Finances 

As we get older, remembering to pay a list of bills—from utilities to garbage removal—can become difficult. Fortunately, CCRCs simplify finances by offering consolidated billing. That means your monthly fee includes all expenses. At most CCRCs, this all-inclusive pay structure covers:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Home maintenance 
  • Trash removal
  • Landscaping 
  • Security
  • Dining 

Social Opportunities

Loneliness among seniors is an epidemic: More than 40% of older adults report being lonely. These feelings can spark dangerous problems like depression, anxiety, heart disease, and even premature death. 

Fortunately, life plan communities provide seniors with opportunities to build and nurture meaningful connections with neighbors and staff. Each day, residents can engage in enrichment activities like woodworking or biking. They can also meet new people by joining a book club or attending a group exercise class. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, residents participate in a number of fun and exciting programs, such as:

  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Travel club
  • Drawing and painting
  • Writing and poetry
  • Day trips 
  • Group games
  • Day and overnight trips
  • HHH Singers
  • Joyful Joey Clown Troupe

Receive the Support You Deserve at Havenwood Heritage Heights

  • Are you in the early stages of exploring senior living communities? Get a clear understanding of what they offer and what care levels are available in our Guide to Senior Living. Download Your Free Guide to Senior Living. 
  • Still unsure if it’s the right time to move to a CCRC? This blog post answers any questions you may have about when you should start planning your transition to a senior living community.

As one of just three accredited CCRCs in New Hampshire, Havenwood Heritage Heights provides seniors with a continuum of high-quality care. If and when your needs change, you will receive the support you deserve without having to move away from a community of close friends and friendly staff. 

Interested in learning more? Contact a member of our friendly staff by calling 800-457-6833.

By Mike Wall