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Life Plan Communities: The New Continuing Care Retirement Community


Alissa Sauer

The senior living industry is rapidly changing to meet the needs of an active and independent generation of baby boomers. To meet the demands of this generation, senior living communities have evolved from care facilities to communities that encourage independence, growth, and opportunity.  In order to better reflect today’s senior living values, the industry is shifting the name of Continuing Care Retirement Communities to Life Plan Communities.

Learn more about these communities, their advantages, and why industry leaders have decided to change the name to reflect the needs and desires of a new generation of seniors.

What Are Continuing Care Retirement Communities?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are senior communities that offer a range of senior living services so that as needs change over time, the resident can stay in the community where they are known and the space is familiar.

A Continuing Care Retirement Community is defined by the industry as “age-restricted properties that include a combination of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services (or independent living and skilled nursing) available to residents all on one campus. Resident payment plans vary and include entrance fee, condo/co-op, and rental programs.”

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From independent living to assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation services, and more, Continuing Care Communities are are attractive to seniors seeking long-term care and expect that their needs may increase with age. This is also an attractive option for senior couples who require different levels of care as they age together.

A New Name for a New Generation of Seniors

It’s no secret that baby boomers are changing everything about senior living. They’ve been challenging social norms since they were teens, and as they enter their senior years, they aren’t slowing down. Today’s seniors are demanding that senior living be vibrant and energetic, with a focus on living life well.

As boomers move into senior living, the name Continuing Care Retirement Community no longer accurately reflects what today’s communities are. It also implies that the communities are for seniors who need care, while many of today’s communities offer independent living for seniors looking to live with others in the same life stage, but do not need care.

LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix explains, “It became clear that the name CCRC no longer did an adequate job of creating the best perception among tomorrow’s older adults. At the core of the decision to move to a community is having the right plan for what the next stage of life has to offer. We feel the ‘Life Plan Community’ name encompasses that very well.”

To qualify as a Life Plan Community, the community needs to meet these requirements:

  1. The community must offer more than one level of care on one campus.
  2. Be focused on promoting an active lifestyle among residents
  3. Be socially responsible and give back to the larger community

The change in name is meant to reflect what’s been happening in communities for years and to make today’s communities more accessible and welcoming for young seniors while also encouraging seniors to find a community home, no matter what services are needed.

What do you think of the change in name from Continuing Care Retirement Community to Life Plan Community? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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