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A Guide to Life Plan Communities

three senior ladies sitting on a bench outside drinking coffee and laughing together

If you’re trying to decide whether a Life Plan Community might be a great fit for you, here’s a multiple- choice question to help you decide. Are you looking for:

  • Independent living for your active life right now, along with higher levels of care (assisted living, skilled nursing, senior rehabilitation and memory care) if you need it one day?
  • Lots of floor plan options that fit your wants, needs, budget, and treasured possessions, so you can live comfortably and happily in your own personal, private space?
  • A senior living community that offers you lots of amenities, activities, wellness opportunities, and dining options, along with a maintenance-free lifestyle so you have the time and freedom to enjoy it all?
  • A place where you can maximize control and certainty while minimizing risk and financial unpredictability?

If you answered “yes” to any or all questions, a Life Plan Community would be a perfect fit — you just might not yet know what a Life Plan Community is. 

That’s totally understandable. Lots of older adults may be more familiar with its other name, Continuing Care Retirement Community, or CCRC. Regardless of the term used to describe a senior living community, however, you’ll appreciate this guide to help you understand the details and benefits of this type of community.

What a Life Plan Community is

A Life Plan Community is exactly what the name suggests: A community of older adults, typically 65 or above, who enjoy an active, amenity- and service-rich life in independent living with a thoughtful plan that includes access to additional levels of care available on the same campus, if they’re ever needed. Those additional levels of care typically include assisted living, skilled nursing, senior rehabilitation and memory care.

Of course, it’s much more than the above definition suggests. Residents who live in these types of senior living communities enjoy more time and freedom, thanks to their completely maintenance-free lifestyle. They have easy access to a full calendar of activities, clubs, events, lifelong learning opportunities, arts and culture; superb dining options with fresh, healthful foods prepared by a culinary team of professionals; and a wellness approach that focuses on mind, body and soul. They often have much greater peace of mind and sense of security because of the additional levels of care available on campus, accessible to residents as that care is needed.

What’s included at a Life Plan Community

It’s almost easier to list what a Life Plan Community doesn’t include. That’s because one monthly fee covers many services and amenities. Those services and amenities usually include:

  • Maintenance-free residences
  • Lawn care and grounds maintenance
  • Housekeeping and flat linen services
  • Restaurant-style, chef-prepared dining
  • Multiple dining venues
  • Heated indoor pool
  • Fully equipped fitness center
  • Library, game room, woodworking shop
  • Fitness classes and wellness programs
  • Regularly scheduled transportation
  • 24/7 security
  • Basic cable and all utilities (except phone and internet)
  • Wi-Fi access
  • In-home emergency response system
  • Pet-friendly senior living

Keep in mind this is just a sampling of everything the monthly fee covers. 

How Life Plan Community fees work

When you decide to become a resident of a Life Plan Community, you may be able to select from a variety of personal and financial retirement options. At Freedom Village, we offer what’s known as a Life Care contract.

Life Care, a type of entrance fee contract available at some retirement communities, is widely considered to be the gold standard of contracts. When you choose the Life Care contract, you have active senior living with a maintenance-free retirement lifestyle, resort-inspired services and amenities, and a smart plan for your future care if it’s ever needed.

You can fully enjoy your independent living residence and lifestyle, without worrying about where you’ll receive future care if you or your spouse need it. You also won’t have to worry who will provide that care, and how much it will cost.  You know if your health needs change, you and your spouse have unlimited access to our on-site senior care services at virtually no increase to your monthly fee. 

It’s important to note that you’re typically not buying real estate when you pay your entrance fee; what you’re buying is a residency contract. It’s also vital to understand not all Life Plan Communities offer a Life Care contract. Some communities may offer rental contracts allowing you to live there month to month, and have care on campus, but when you need that care you’ll pay prevailing market rates for it. 

Other communities have contracts that offer either a limited number of days in the health center or an ongoing, minimally discounted rate. And still others may have fee-for-service contracts, which allow you to pay as you go when you need health care services. 

Because there are several different types of contracts out there, you’ll definitely want to choose the one that works best for your wants and needs, now and in the future.

Other senior living options

We just mentioned other types of contracts you may encounter. Likewise, you may come across different types of communities themselves.

There are 55-plus communities, which are age-restricted communities that offer independent living residences with some interior and exterior maintenance covered, along with some amenities and common spaces for residents to gather. Typically there are no health care services on campus, which means you or your spouse will have to move out of the community if you need care.

You may also come across stand-alone assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory care communities. Each of these provides its unique category of care. Again, if you and your spouse need different types of care, you’ll generally need to live separately to receive care. And each time your health needs change, you’ll need to move to a community that offers the next level of care you require.

Finally, there’s home care. This is when you remain in your home and receive assistance from a privately paid caregiver. This type of care is expensive and can quickly lead to social isolation. In addition, the burden of hiring and scheduling caregivers falls exclusively to you, your spouse or other family members.. 

Why a Life Plan Community might be the best senior living option

Remember that multiple-choice question at the beginning? If you’re looking for:

  • A private independent residence you can furnish and personalize, AND
  • An active, independent lifestyle with a host of services and amenities, AND
  • Access to higher levels of care if you need it someday, AND
  • Financial options that provide you with peace of mind

A Life Plan Community offers you all of the above.

Where you can find a Life Plan Community in the Holland, MI, area

Now we’ve fully explained what a Life Plan Community is, you may want to know how to find a Life Plan Community. We can help you with that, too. 

Freedom Village, located in Holland, MI, is a Life Plan Community offering you independent living, along with the full continuum of care. We also have Life Care, which, as was mentioned earlier, is considered the gold standard in contracts. Not all retirement communities offer all this. In fact, many senior living communities don’t come close to offering you all that Freedom Village does. So don’t wait any longer to contact us to schedule your personal visit.