Senior Living Q & A

QANavigating the options and opportunities of senior living can be a mind-boggling experience. These Qs and As will help to clear up some of the confusion and misconceptions.

What is the difference between a CCRC and a Life Plan Community?

It seems that just as people started understanding the concept of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), the industry went and changed the vernacular. As frustrating as that may seem at first, it was a good decision because the new name, Life Plan Community, offers the same services and amenities, but more accurately reflects the industry and the seniors of today.

A CCRC traditionally has offered independent living, assisted living, memory support, and skilled care, all within one location. In 2015, LeadingAge announced that CCRCs had been renamed Life Plan Communities with the idea being that the term “Care” (in Continuing Care) suggested a medical focus. Today’s independent seniors who are healthy and active, want to “plan” or map out their next step, emphasizing opportunities to pursue their hobbies, interests, travel, learning, social engagement and more. Having the resources for healthcare available if needed is important, but not their choice of focus for this next exciting time of their lives.

A Life Plan Community provides a full spectrum of senior living services including independent living, assisted living and skilled care, designed to cater to all phases of seniors’ lives. Inherent in this is the ability to transition residents whose needs change into another level of care without having to move outside of the community.

Life Plan Communities are designed to be vibrant and rich in amenities with an abundance of programs, activities, and opportunities for social engagement. As a result, McKnight’s Senior Living reported that seniors who live in a Life Plan Community are found to “score higher on positive measures of emotional social, physical, intellectual and vocational wellness than other older adults.”

Eastcastle Place is a Life Plan Community, offering independent living, memory support, assisted living, rehabilitation, respite, and skilled care.

What are the different residential contract types?

There are several different types of residential contracts for senior living.

  • Type A, also known as a life care contract, is the most comprehensive type of residential contract because it ensures predictable long-term care expenses regardless of how one’s healthcare needs may change. Essentially, this type of contract prepays for health-related services.
  • Type B, also known as a modified contract, offers discounts from the market rate for skilled care within the community should one’s healthcare needs change. These contracts translate into paying less up front when moving into independent living. In addition to receiving a discount from market rates for skilled care, residents are often able to use long-term care insurance that they’ve purchased.
  • Type C is a fee-for-service contract. These contracts typically involve lower entrance and monthly fees. If more care becomes necessary, residents are responsible for paying the market rate.
  • Rental is a simple lease agreement. It is for independent seniors who are willing to pay market rate on an as-needed basis for additional services.

Why do I want a not-for-profit retirement community?

Many of the top Life Plan Communities are not-for-profit organizations. What this means is that the financial resources are reinvested into the organization rather than benefiting stockholders or investors. As a result, money is used to improve the community and maintain and advance services and staffing. Eastcastle Place is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community.

An entrance fee for a Life Plan Community is what secures you contractually to being able to receive all levels of care.

It’s important to note that a large percentage of your entrance fee is refunded when you are no longer a resident of the community. This is much different than in past generations when a senior entering retirement living, would have to relinquish their financial resources.

What is a monthly fee?

The monthly fee at Eastcastle Place covers the expenses of your apartment, dining plan, all utilities, basic cable, Wi-Fi, regular housekeeping and linen service, 24-hour emergency call system, regularly scheduled transportation, interior and exterior maintenance (you don’t even have to change a light bulb!), access to our aquatic, spa and fitness center, and the opportunity to participate in our programs, activities, and special events.

The monthly fee is all-inclusive for most if not all your typical living expenses. Many people are surprised (pleasantly!) when they compare the monthly fee to the sum of all the costs of living in and maintaining a home.

What are all the levels/types of living at a Life Plan Community?

As a Life Plan Community, Eastcastle Place offers independent living, assisted living, memory support, and skilled care. We also provide rehabilitation and respite care.

Independent living is for seniors wishing to enjoy an active lifestyle with abundant social, recreational, and educational activities with other like-minded people. Seniors move to a Life Plan Community to trade the responsibility of homeownership and the care it requires, to the freedom of living in what most people compare to a luxury hotel. They have the added benefit of having their secure future planned should their healthcare needs change.

Assisted living is much like independent living, promoting socialization and activities, while also providing added assistance as needed for activities of daily life (ADL).

Skilled care provides 24-hour skilled care while offering activities and the opportunity for socialization.