Life Plan Communities are a type of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).
Life Plan Communities offer several kinds of residences for independent living and multiple levels of health care services, commonly all in one location. In independent living, a community may offer apartments, freestanding homes, attached homes or other residential options. Assisted living residents usually live in apartments, while those in skilled nursing and memory support areas generally reside in suites or rooms, either private or shared.
These communities are a good choice for individuals who no longer wish to, or are unable to, keep up with home maintenance/repairs and have the financial means to afford the entrance fee and monthly fees.
Residential services may include:
- a maintained apartment, townhouse, or other unit
- social, recreational, and cultural programs
- cleaning and laundry service
- meals in common dining areas (# per day varies)
- ground maintenance
Health care services may include:
- care is covered for contracted services
- personal care and help with daily activities of living
- nursing care
- rehabilitative care
- respite & hospice care
- Alzheimer’s & specialty care
Entrance and Monthly Fees
Life Plan Communities usually provide a written agreement or long-term contract between the resident (frequently lasting the term of the resident’s lifetime) and the community, which offers maintenance-free living, a wide variety of services and amenities, and access to a continuum of health care. Types and levels of care vary from community to community. Age restriction is usually 62+, although that varies from one community to another.
Most retirement communities require a onetime upfront entrance fee and a predictable monthly fee, which allows the resident to occupy an independent living residence, enjoy all the services and amenities offered by the community, and have access to long-term on-site health care when and if they need it. If the resident requires assisted living, memory support, or skilled nursing, the community provides the appropriate level of care. Depending on the contract structure, this care may be provided at essentially the same monthly rate the resident paid in independent living, at a reduced rate for a specified amount of time, or on a fee-for-service basis. Some communities may require residents to purchase long-term care insurance as criteria for acceptance. There are also communities that provide services and access to medical care on a month-to-month basis.
Retirement communities are highly regulated in some states, but not in others. There is no federal agency which oversees them. The Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), a private nonprofit organization, accredits these communities. This voluntary process involves a review of finances, governance and administration; resident health and wellness, and resident life.
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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