The Basics of a Life Planning Community and How it Differs from Traditional Assisted Living Facilities

It’s no secret that many of us want to age in place. In fact, a recent survey by the AARP revealed that 77 percent of respondents age 50 and older said they would prefer to stay in their current home as long as possible, but only 46 percent thought it would be possible. The truth is as comfortable as a person might be in their current home, staying put can often be more of a hinder to care and can become both physically impractical and socially isolating.

But that does not mean the only alternative to staying put is going to an assisted living facility or elder care home. One great alternative quickly gaining popularity among baby boomers is the life planning community option.

What Is a Life Planning Community

As with many things, the baby boomer generation is redefining senior living. Not satisfied with the disassociated retirement and assisted living facilities, the generation has inspired the growth of a whole new style of senior care, one that focuses both on vibrancy and life as well as long-term care. The result is the life planning community which, in the current industry, must strive for the following commitments:

  • Offer more than one level of care at one campus
  • Stay focused on promoting an active and socially-engaging lifestyle among its residents
  • Commit to being socially responsible and connected with the community at large
Understanding the Different Levels of Care at a Life Planning Community

The first point, offering more than one level of care at the campus the resident lives, is particularly poignant and the driving force behind this new trend. Sadly, many senior care facilities currently do not offer more intensive levels of care needed should the health needs of a member become more challenging.

Thus, due to such senior care facilities not being fully equipped for all levels of care, some seniors may face having to be moved to another healthcare organization, yet again. The basic fact is that as people age their needs change, but shuffling a person to two or three care facilities is detrimental and unnecessary in today’s world.

The life planning community changes this by offering a spectrum of senior living care and services that are capable of evolving and adapting to seniors needs as they age and as their health changes. In other words, a person can enter a life planning community at good health and stay within that same community indefinitely. At the campus, residents can expect easy access to nurses, physicians, pharmacists, therapists, and other healthcare professionals and supportive services to help them throughout this part of their life.

From Minor to Major Personal Care Services: A Focus First on Active Life

As the name suggests, life planning communities focus first on health and promoting active lifestyles among their residents. Generally, to join such a community a person must begin in fairly good health and require only minor assistance with things like meal prepping or transportation. As an early resident, they are encouraged to take part in activities and the campus itself strives to offer amenities and create calendars that help keep residents active, social and involved.

Typically, wellness coordinators, nutritionists, personal trainers, and other support staff will all be on-hand to help structure and encourage active lifestyles among the residents. Many offer events like skill workshops, movie nights, and ping pong tournaments to further elicit engagement.

The difference in this type of community than other senior care communities is that the services offered to individual residents change as their needs change. Life plan communities offer a seamless continuum of care upon entry to their community so that as residents progress through life, they will have all of the health and personal care they need.