What is a Life Plan Community?

While most people have heard of the main types of senior living accommodations – independent living, assisted living, and memory care – not everyone is familiar with Life Plan Communities.  Understanding all of the senior living options, including Life Plan Communities, is the first step in finding the right fit for you or someone you love.  The following are answers to commonly asked questions about Life Plan Communities and the benefits that come along with living in this type of community.

Q: What is a Life Plan Community?
A:
To qualify as a Life Plan Community, a community must offer several levels of care and living options all on one campus.  For most communities, these would include:

-Independent Living: For those who are healthy or relatively healthy and wish to remain independent
-Assisted Living:  For those who wish to live independently but may need help with a daily living task (bathing, dressing, etc.)
-Memory Care: For those who need a safe, secure, and homelike environment with specialized care for cognitive impairments
-Skilled Nursing Care:  For those who need round-the-clock assistance or daily medical attention 

Life Plan Communities offer an engaging and active lifestyle, along with a variety of housing options and supportive services as future health needs may change.  According to Senior Housing News, the majority of Life Plan Communities are sponsored by not-for-profit organizations at 79.1% nationwide.  Of those, 65% are sponsored by faith-based organizations.

Q: What is the difference between a Life Plan Community and a Continuing Care Community?
A:
Continuing Care Community was the common name for this type of community for many years, but in 2014 a national task force was formed to examine the effectiveness of this descriptive title.  The new title of “Life Plan Community” was established in 2015 as a better fit to describe all that these communities provide and their focus on promoting an active lifestyle.  

Q: What does a Life Plan Community offer?
A:
Along with various levels of care and housing options, many supportive services are also available on the campus of a Life Plan Community.  Healthcare services offered can include nursing care, physician visits, therapy, and short- or long-term rehabilitation.  Other services offered can include help with transportation, meals, housekeeping, social opportunities, and wellness/fitness programs.  While all of these services are valuable and enhance the quality of life for residents, one of the greatest benefits provided by a Life Plan Community is peace of mind.  There is a sense of safety and security that comes from being part of a trusted community.  There is also relief provided with the knowledge that a senior can transition to another level of care without having to relocate outside the community that is already familiar to them.  A select number of Life Plan Communities, such as Snyder Village, include the added benefit of a 24-hour emergency response system, which allows a senior to rest assured knowing someone is nearby to help if needed.  

Q: What makes these communities unique?
A:
While each Life Plan Community offers its own unique amenities and features, Life Plan Communities generally differ from other senior living facilities by their large campus with picturesque surroundings. Having the entire continuum of care offered on one campus is what sets Life Plan Communities apart, and they often focus on promoting an active lifestyle through all the levels of care, resulting in a vibrant and active community. Couples find Life Plan Communities especially appealing since the varying levels of support on one campus allow them to remain close, even if one individual eventually requires a higher level of care.

Q: Is there an application process to a Life Plan Community?
A:
In order to move into a Life Plan Community, seniors must first qualify through an application process.  The application will differ depending on which level of care the individual is seeking, and the process can be extensive.  This detailed application process assists the Community in ensuring that there will be enough room for the resident to progress through the different levels of care if the need arises.

Q: When should the planning take place for moving to a Life Plan Community?
A:
Ideally, the planning process should begin when the individual is cognitively and physically healthy.  To take full advantage of the benefits of a Life Plan Community, individuals should aim for entering the community when healthy enough to enjoy the freedom and convenience of independent living first and then enjoy receiving support through all the stages of their senior years.  By moving to the Community during an individual’s active years, the staff can become familiar with the senior and offer support as their health changes down the road.

Research released by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging found that Life Plan Community residents report greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and vocational wellness than those living in the community at large (Source: LeadingAge).  These communities can be the perfect solution for those who desire to live independently today but want the security that comes with having additional help available when it’s needed.  

Snyder Village in Metamora is a Life Plan Community that offers independent living in its retirement cottages and apartments.  Beautiful assisted living accommodations, memory care programs, skilled nursing care, and physical therapy are also available on campus.  Its home care services support individuals in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Marshall Counties.  For more information, call (309) 367-4300 or visit www.snydervillage.com.