CCRCs Have Evolved: Introducing Life Plan Communities


With every new year comes change and new possibilities. Senior living communities are changing, too. As the boomer generation retires – or begins planning to do so, it’s important for those interested to keep track of options. The boomer generation wants to get the most out of every moment. They are active, independent, and looking forward to staying healthy and living life on their terms.

In sync with the boomer mindset, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have been expanding and evolving over the past few years to accommodate a new generation of older adults. In 2014, LeadingAge, an association of community-based, non-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to age, created the NameStorm Task Force to explore the CCRC name and evaluate alternative names.

Below you’ll find the history behind the CCRC name, the process for establishing a new name, the reasoning behind the choice, and what it means to be a Life Plan Community.

Out with the Old

In 1980, when the term Continuing Care Retirement Community was introduced, researchers estimated that there were about 100,000 seniors (less than one percent of the 70+ population) that were living in one of 274 communities that operate similarly to CCRCs. Today, there are about 2,000 CCRCs with about 600,000 residents, or two percent of the 70+ population.

Today’s independent seniors found the CCRC name to have negative connotations and a lack of relevancy. The “Continuing Care” aspect implied that care was already needed and so wasn’t attractive to those who perceived themselves as active or healthy.

In with the New

Over 4,350 consumers and over 100 CCRC operators were involved in the process that resulted in the selection of Life Plan Community as the new category name for this type of senior living.

It started with the NameStorm Task Force engaging CCRC operators to help generate new category name ideas. The group considered all the traits, personalities and lifestyles that make up today’s and tomorrow’s seniors. For example, according to the Life Plan Community website, boomers are drawn to:

  • Living life on their own terms
  • Freedom
  • Independence
  • Living well
  • Staying healthy
  • Being free from daily details
  • Adding more “living” to their lives

The names created by the task force were evaluated against a set of predetermined criteria, and 10 names were selected. A survey was created and completed in all 50 states by CCRC residents, prospects and potential future consumers of senior living under the age of 65. Focus groups were conducted in seven distinct markets in order to better understand how the CCRC name is perceived.

84 percent of respondents age 65 and younger preferred a name other than CCRC, and all age groups expressed a need for a name that focuses on more than care. Life Plan Community rose to the top as the strongest replacement name, bringing together “planning” and “living” while accentuating personal responsibility and self-direction.

The Transformation

Many of the nearly 2,000 U.S. senior living communities who used the moniker CCRC began to transition to Life Plan Community this past year. That encouragement for CCRCs across the U.S. to begin using the new name will continue in 2017. Additionally, an initiative is currently underway to change the usage of the name in state regulations, financial markets, rating agencies and by investors.

This transformation from care providers into vibrant communities offers a range of residential options, along with new opportunities for creative, educational and personal exploration.

When looking for a true Life Plan Community for yourself or a loved one, the community should:

  • Offer more than one level of care on a single campus
  • Have a focus on an active lifestyle
  • Be integrated into the greater community with an emphasis on giving back and being socially responsible

A Life Plan Community follows the definition of a CCRC set by NIC 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.

All Life Care Services Life Plan Communities offer experienced staff who are dedicated to helping seniors live a vibrant and engaged life. From fitness classes, nutrition assistance and community activities to scheduled group outings, personal transportation, and more, seniors can age in place with caring, professional staff, numerous amenities and activities, and assistance every step of the way.

Connect with us by visiting our website or call our community!