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The Complete Guide to Life Plan Communities

Guide

to Life Plan Communities

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Introduction

The Complete Guide to
Life Plan Communities

Do you value the feeling of being in control and reducing uncertainty?

Do you want to live a full and purposeful life?

Do you wish you had more time to do what you love to do and not what you have to do?

If the term Life Plan Community is new to you, perhaps you recognize continuing care retirement community, or CCRC. For a long time, CCRCs were the name associated with a senior community that provided many types of care on one campus. However, when seniors were asked if they liked the name CCRC, they answered with a resounding "no". In fact, 84% of prospective residents surveyed in 2013 by Leading Age, an association of not-for-profit groups that address the needs of aging adults, said the term CCRC was focused more on care and less on the wellness aspects of community living. Adults wanted a term that reflected what these communities really were: hubs of growth, opportunity, and wellness.

So, why did the term Life Plan Community replace CCRCs? The word "life" reflects that community living isn’t just about care; they are about living life to the fullest each day. The word "plan" emphasizes the peace of mind that having continuing care and advanced wellness services brings.

Often, people don’t fully understand what Life Plan Communities are and, as important, what they aren’t. Here’s what you need to know as you take the next steps in your planning process.

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contents

1
What Is a Life Plan Community?
Simply put, a Life Plan Community offers both independent living residences and access to higher levels of care, should you need them, right on one campus.
2
What Senior Living Options Are Out There?
You certainly have options to consider, and it can be challenging to sort out the differences. Learn what to expect from each option.
3
Why Choose Community Living?
Making a move is never an easy decision, but moving to a Life Plan Community is a change in address, not a change in your preferences.
4
What’s Included at a Life Plan Community?
One of the hallmarks of living at a Life Plan Community is the opportunity to focus on what you enjoy most, without the stressors of home maintenance.
5
What Do Life Plan Communities Cost?
Learn how a Life Plan Community can fit into your financial plans and current budget.
6
How Do Life Plan Community Fees Work?
Let’s talk more in depth about the fees associated with Life Plan Communities.
7
When Should I Move to a Life Plan Community?
The decision to leave your current home isn’t easy. But it’s important to plan ahead now so you can benefit from being savvy for years to come.
8
Ready to Shape What Comes Next?
Learn how a Life Plan Community allows you to design your own future, create a sense of security for yourself and your family and empower yourself to continue living the life you love.
9
Find a Community Near You
Explore how a HumanGood Life Plan Community fits in with your plans.
Download a PDF version of this guide
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Our previous home had become so isolating, so I am really happy to be here and to have found new friends along the way. I tell everyone it’s the best of both worlds: friends from our former residence and new friends here.”

Shelby W.

Human Good resident

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The upkeep and maintenance of the house had really become challenging. Not wanting to become dependent on the kids, this was by far the best choice. Not having to worry about home maintenance is wonderful. Help for anything needed in the future is all right here on the same campus. The programs, amenities and conveniences are fantastic, and the financial and emotional benefits of making this move have been enormous. It’s been easy to feel at home here right from the beginning.”

Bill M.

Human Good resident

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What Is a Life Plan Community?

Simply put, a Life Plan Community offers both independent living residences and access to higher levels of care, should you need them, right on one campus.

But it’s more than that.

Life Plan Communities aren’t just “places.” They are lifestyle-infused environments that offer ready access to culture; the arts; fresh, healthy foods; fitness programs; and a holistic approach to wellness—wrapped in a bow of security and peace of mind.

Life Plan Communities provide:

  • Independent living, often in apartments or houses.
  • Peace of mind if health needs change with priority access to services like assisted living, personal care, memory care and skilled nursing.
  • A low-stress lifestyle thanks to maintenance-free living.
  • Rich opportunities for lifelong learning, growth and wellness.

People living at Life Plan Communities come from all walks of life, but they have one thing in common: They are planners seeking to make a proactive decision that creates peace of mind for them and their families while continuing to live the independent lifestyle they enjoy.

Fact vs. Fiction

Myth: I’m too active for a place like this.

Reality: Nothing about a Life Plan Community will hold you back from being as active as you like. Just as is the case in your current life, you choose how you want to spend each day.

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What Senior Living Options Are Out There?

You certainly have options to consider, and it can be challenging to sort out the differences.

Here’s what to expect from each option.

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55-Plus Community

These communities can be a preferred option if you’re OK with knowing you will likely have to move again. They often include home maintenance and common spaces for group gatherings, but no options for assisted living or health care services for the future.

It’s maybe a comfortable downsize for now, but you’re leaving the future up to chance—and if you’re a couple, you may need to live separately at some point.

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Stand-Alone Assisted Living

These communities are exclusively for those who require support with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, medication management and more. More often than not, someone else is choosing this type of living for you.

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Stand-Alone Skilled Nursing

These facilities offer long-term care for those who are living with chronic illness or who need 24/7 nursing care. Skilled nursing also offers short-term rehabilitation services for residents who have recently had an elective surgery or an extensive hospital stay.

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Home Care

The path of least resistance for many of us is to put the stake in the ground and plan to stay in the home where we feel secure with the assistance of privately paid care providers. However, you should be aware that the burden of hiring and scheduling caregivers will, no doubt, fall on someone else.

This option might “feel good” now, but it can lead to increased social isolation and depression as the years go by.

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Life Plan Community

A Life Plan Community provides the most comprehensive offering of all. These independent living communities, typically in the form of maintenance-free apartments or cottages, offer amenities like fitness centers, pools, cocktail lounges, gardens and more. Most important is that future care, if ever needed, is right there—you picked it for yourself because you made a plan.

In short, you are in control of your own future.

Fact vs. Fiction

Myth: Life Plan Communities are only for the elderly.

Reality: You’ll be happy to learn that Life Plan Communities are typically zoned for those who are 55 and older or 62 and older. Although age is just a number, those moving to independent living are involved and engaged with their community and the world.

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Why Choose Community Living?

Making a move is never an easy decision, but moving to a Life Plan Community is a change in address, not a change in your preferences.

Life Plan Communities offer an opportunity for you to stay engaged, active and social, without sacrificing your independence, privacy or time to yourself.

In fact, research tells us that living in a community offers lifelong benefits—emotionally, socially, physically, intellectually and vocationally—and can help combat social isolation.

The Power of Community Living

Did you know ...

  • People who are a part of a local, face-to-face community are healthier and happier, and they tend to live longer?
  • Having close relationships and frequent social interactions are two of the strongest predictors of a longer life? 
  • Knowing friends, neighbors and professionals are close by provides a significant sense of security?

Sources:
Susan Pinker, The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier.

2019 Age Well Study by Mather Institute an Northwestern University

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What's Included at a Life Plan Community?

One of the hallmarks of living at a Life Plan Community is the opportunity to focus on what you enjoy most, without the stressors of home maintenance.

Here's what is typically included:

  • Home and lawn maintenance.
  • Most utilities.
  • A variety of amenities, such as fitness centers, pools, gardens and performing arts centers.
  • A host of programs, such as continuing education classes, musical performances, fitness and wellness classes, art programs and much more.
  • Housekeeping services.
  • Specialty transportation services.
  • Security services.
  • Flexible, fresh, chef-prepared dining options.
  • The promise of future care, if ever needed.

Fact vs. Fiction

Myth: The apartments in those places are small and old-fashioned.

Reality: Not in the slightest! Today’s residences are typically well outfitted, modern and inviting, with spacious floor plans and the latest appliances, fits and finishes. You might even have the choice of a single-story home or cottage as well as the opportunity to upgrade or personalize your residence to your preference.

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What Do Life Plan Communities Cost?

Most people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Life Plan Communities can fit into their financial plans and current budget. If you take a moment to assess your current expenses and compare them with the cost of a Life Plan Community, you’ll be surprised to see that a Life Plan Community is likely within reach.

Your current expenses may include:

  • Rent or mortgage.
  • Property taxes and insurance.
  • Home maintenance.
  • Homeowner association fees.
  • Cable, internet and utilities.
  • Gym membership.
  • Lawn services, snow removal and landscaping.
  • Unexpected house repairs.
  • Dining expenses.

At a Life Plan Community, these costs are often included in your monthly fee. You might even find you are actually reducing your monthly costs by making the move. Plus, in many instances, a portion of your costs are tax-deductible.

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It was important for us to make a strategic move while we are still active, enjoying our work and hobbies, and can embrace the maintenance-free lifestyle. Now that we are here, we are confident we made the right decision. It’s so wonderful to enjoy so many friends and to feel like we are part of a community. Plus, knowing we have a solid future plan allows us even greater freedom to enjoy the here and now.”

Marty and Dee W.

HumanGood resident

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How Do Life Plan Community Fees Work?

Let’s talk more in depth about the fees associated with Life Plan Communities. When you know the types of costs, you can continue your planning process. There are two types of fees for Life Plan Community living:

Types of Fees

1

Entrance Fees
Your one-time, up-front entrance fee locks in access to advanced levels of care, helps to lower your monthly fees and supports the community, enabling it to look and run at its best. Most communities provide a choice between a non-rebatable (or fully amortized) entrance fee and a rebatable entrance fee. Entrance fees vary by community but typically reflect the area’s real estate values.

2

Monthly Fees
These fees aren’t the same as simply “paying rent.” Your monthly fees cover your residence as well as maintenance, cable and utilities, flexible dining options, housekeeping services, transportation services, fitness and wellness programs, classes, events and more.

Contract Types

You’re likely thinking, “Just what am I buying?” Well, it’s not real estate. It’s a residency agreement linked to the residence of your choosing that allows for much we’ve discussed. But not all contracts are the same, so it’s best to understand the possibilities out there.

  • Extensive Life Care Contracts:
    These provide a sense of stability because, essentially, what you pay monthly when you live independently will be what you pay if you are living in one of the community’s care areas. Your financial picture will be predictable because, in short, Extensive Life Care Contracts protect assets by covering future care costs.
  • Modified Life Care Contracts:
    These are similar to Extensive Life Care Contracts, but instead of covering all future health care needs for the same monthly rate, they have ste-up pricing for higher levels of care; however, costs are typically discounted well below the going market rate.
  • Fee-for-Service Contracts:
    These offer housing, amenities and health care services on a pay-as-you-go schedule and are often favorable to those carrying private long-term care insurance.
  • Rental-Only Contracts:
    These are month-to-month rental contracts that cover your residential and service expenses but are not considered continuing care contracts.

Fact vs. Fiction

Myth: These communities are only for the wealthy.

Reality: Life Plan Communities are actually more affordable than most people realize. If you’ve been a homeowner and have some retirement income, you’ll likely be able to find a community you love that will fit your budget.

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When Should I Move to a Life Plan Community?

The decision to leave your current home isn’t easy. But it’s important to plan ahead now so you can benefit from being savvy for years to come.

Still not sure if you are ready? As you deliberate, the best thing you can do is something. Visit a community. Take a tour. Ask as many questions as you’d like. Meet some residents and ask them how they knew it was time.

Here are a few things to consider as you continue to plan:

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Don't Wait Until You "Need To Go."

Resist the urge to postpone your move until a milestone birthday or a big life change. If illness or injury happens while you are living in your current home, you’ll have to make decisions in a hurry, making your choices limited and your stress levels high. You’ll also likely pay more for care than if you were already living in a Life Plan Community.

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Reactive Decisions Can Be Stressful For Family Members.

By proactively planning your move, you’re making decisions for yourself and not burdening your family with that emotional job during a potential crisis.

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Wait Too Long, And It Could Be Too Late.

You’ll get the greatest financial benefit from your entrance fee by moving in sooner than later. Maximize the benefits your community has to offer, while improving your health and happiness in the long run, by choosing to move early on.

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I can’t stress this enough. If you are ready to make a move, do it now. Do it while you still have your physical and mental abilities and can take part in everything available here. Don’t wait for your family to tell you that you should have an easier life. Make the decision on your own. I will welcome you!”

Carole M.

HumanGood resident

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Ready to Shape What Comes Next?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will require some degree of long-term care services during their lifetime. If you want to plan for yourself rather than leaving your life choices to someone else, a Life Plan Community allows you to design your own future, create a sense of security for yourself and your family and empower yourself to continue living the life you love.
 

The Nonprofit Difference

There are for-profit and nonprofit Life Plan Communities. Typically, nonprofit communities like HumanGood make a commitment to their residents, ensuring that should they outlive their financial resources through no fault of their own, the community’s benevolence fund will allow them to continue to live in what has become their home.

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Find a Community Near You

Explore how a HumanGood Life Plan Community
fits in with your plans.

Find a community

Download a PDF version of this guide

Download a PDF version of this guide by filling out the form below.

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