Life Plan vs. Life Care Community

Today’s older adults have more choices for retirement communities than at any point in history. There are thousands of retirement communities that offer different services and levels of healthcare for residents, and it can be challenging to evaluate your options if you aren’t familiar with the different terms used to define programs. Understanding the most common terms is an essential first step in finding the right retirement community.

CCRC vs. Life Care vs. Life Plan

These three terms can be confusing, as they are all related. Retirement is increasingly seen as a time of reinvention and an opportunity to make the most of every moment. Older adults want to preserve and enjoy their vitality rather than focus on the care they may need later on in life, and retirement communities have responded to this by placing greater emphasis on:

  • Multiple levels of care in one location.
  • Health, wellness and active lifestyles.
  • Community integration and social responsibility.

A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is a community that offers residents the full continuum of care, so they can continue living in the same place throughout their life. Living in a CCRC allows people to stay comfortable and build relationships with others in the community, while receiving access to services like:

  • Healthcare
  • Meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Transportation
  • Emergency medical help

Additionally, CCRCs place significant emphasis on recreational, educational and social activities to keep residents intellectually and emotionally healthy. The central concept behind CCRCs is that the majority of older adults want to retain as much independence as possible throughout their life. Many people begin their CCRC residency while fully independent, allowing them to get to know their new community and their neighbors as they continue to enjoy their hobbies and interests. 

As time goes on, it’s natural for older adults to find that household tasks like mowing the lawn and keeping the floors clean become too physically demanding. When more intensive medical care is needed, residents may move into the part of the community designated for round-the-clock personal care or nursing services.This is where the benefits of a CCRC come in. Instead of having to move to a new community, residents may simply plan to move to a different area of the CCRC or receive additional assistance in their current residence. 

 The great benefit of a CCRC is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will be able to receive the assistance and care you need as your needs continue to change. 

Many CCRC’s are now calling themselves “Life Plan Communities” and all offer the same type of retirement living and levels of care.

What Is Life Care?

Life care is a type of contract that you may choose when entering a life plan or CCRC community. Known as a Type A contract, life care covers all potential healthcare costs upfront. You pay for housing, amenities and services that span all levels of care as you begin to need them. While every life care community is a CCRC, not all CCRCs offer life care as an option.

Difference Between Cost and Monthly Fees

A CCRC requires that residents pay an entrance fee, as well as a monthly charge. The initial entrance fee costs vary between communities and depend on the care plan contract you choose. A life care contract (Type A) , also known as an extended contract, is the most expensive option. It allows individuals to receive unlimited personal and nursing care as needed, without incurring additional charges. 

A modified contract provides individuals with a set of services for a set length of time. Once that time frame is up, you can obtain further services for a higher monthly fee. 

In a Fee for Service contract (Type C), you only pay for the services you use at the time. The entrance cost and monthly fees start out lower while you are living independently, but the monthly fee will increase when personal care or nursing services are needed.

The monthly fees in a CCRC cover the wide array of amenities and services residents enjoy in the community. The fee is based on a variety of factors, including whether the residence is single or double occupancy, its size and the number of services rendered — such as housekeeping or provided meals.

What to Consider When Selecting a CCRC

A CCRC can be a place of joy and personal growth, but only if you select the right one. In addition to reviewing costs and monthly fees, consider the following criteria as you narrow your options:

  • Atmosphere: The retirement community you select will be your home, and it should feel like one. Do you like the look of the property? Does the style of the residences appeal to you? Are residents friendly and engaged? Ensure you can picture yourself living there for years to come.
  • Enrichment: You’ve decided on a CCRC in part because you want to live life to the fullest. Does the community offer the type of social and recreational engagements you’re interested in? Check the calendar of events and talk to the activities director to get a clear picture of day-to-day activities.
  • Services: Some communities provide only the bare minimum in regards to services, while others take care of everything from housekeeping to yard upkeep and maintenance. Are you looking for a five-star experience or just the basics? 
  • Amenities: Community amenities that address wellness, spirituality and fun are important to your experience. Are there outdoor features like walking trails? Do you have your sights set on a pool and spa? Are you interested in wellness classes and pastoral services? Ensure the community offers a variety of amenities suited to your desires.
  • Tax benefits: Maximizing your retirement income should be a priority. Does the state you’re choosing tax retirement income?Familiarizing yourself with applicable retirement taxes can make a big difference in your budget.

See the Difference in Cornwall Manor

See the Difference in Cornwall Manor

If you’re planning your retirement and looking for a continuing care retirement community in the Northeast, Cornwall Manor should top your list. Voted “Best Retirement Community” by the Lebanon Daily News, Cornwall Manor offers you the services to enjoy the quality of life you have worked so hard to earn in retirement. 

To learn more about living at Cornwall Manor, you can call us at 717-274-8092 or fill out our contact form. We invite you to schedule a visit to see the advantages we offer, and you can even spend the night to see why Cornwall Manor is a perfect place to retire in Pennsylvania.