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Adoption of Life Plan Community name reflects goal to live an active, independent lifestyle    

In 2015, at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Boston a task force known as NameStorm announced its recommendation that Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) adopt the term “Life Plan Community” as its new descriptor. This followed several years of work and research involving hundreds of CCRC’s and business partners in an effort to generate broader awareness and acceptance of CCRCs in the years ahead.

SpiriTrust Lutheran® has chosen to adopt the name as well. Effective July 1, we will be begin using Life Plan Community in place of retirement living.

The task force set out to identify a name that would resonate in a meaningful way, reflect the lifestyle and attitudes of the next generation of potential residents and expands the market’s perception of the possibilities for a healthy and rewarding life in retirement with the end goal of attracting more people to the CCRC concept.

The process employed by the task force included input from more than 100 communities across the U.S. as to words and terms they felt best represented the most positive attributes of a CCRC. This was followed by a national online and paper survey which resulted in more than 4,100 survey submissions; a series of 34 focus groups in seven U.S. markets and review of all the data by the task force members. The results revealed overwhelming concerns around the terms “continuing care” and “retirement” which reinforced the task force’s original assumption that these terms were limiting consumer interest in CCRCs.

So, why was the name Life Plan Community chosen? According to the task force, the name was chosen because a Life Plan Community allows “planning” and “living” to merge, rather than being in opposition to one another. Having a plan in place – the security of the safety net provided by the availability of healthcare, coupled with the freedom from not having to manage all the day-to-day tasks that come with homeownership – allows for living life to the fullest.

“We decided to adopt the name change recommended by LeadingAge because it better reflects our goal of empowering residents to live an active, independent lifestyle and supports the philosophy of our Spirit 360 initiative which we launched last year,” said Melissa Williams, corporate director, sales & marketing. “Research consistently has shown that the next generation of potential residents (boomers) do not respond positively to the term, ‘Continuing Care Retirement Community.’

They often think a CCRC is for people who need care or are older, less healthy people. While they like the healthcare component that a CCRC offers, they don’t want to be defined by ‘care’. We need to make sure that our name doesn’t turn them away, but rather draws them to the possibilities of what a healthy and active lifestyle can offer.” 

“Recently, we purchased adjoining land at The Village at Luther Ridge and The Village at Gettysburg. As result of the work of the task force we have a clearer expectation of what baby boomers want and can plan accordingly,” added Angela Dohrman, senior vice president/COO. “Baby boomers do not view retirement like their parents did. They are planners who are seeking a retirement lifestyle with opportunities. They want to know that if there is a life circumstance that necessitates a change in independence, there is a plan already in place for the type of health services they may need in the setting they desire.”

Why ‘Life Plan Community?’

  • Life shows that our communities are about so much more than care: They are about living life to the fullest.
  • Plan captures the unique “safety net” advantages that CCRCs offer through advanced healthcare services.
  • Life Plan Community allows “planning” and “living” to merge. Having a plan in place allows for living life to the fullest.

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