What Are the Differences Between Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Life Plan Communities?

Just as you have choices in where to work or which restaurant to eat dinner, you also have choices on where to live when you retire. At Ventana by Buckner, we want to help make your decision easier by helping you understand your options. Some of those options include staying in your current home, moving to a retirement home-ownership or rental community, moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) or considering a move to the most comprehensive option – a Life Care Continuing Care Retirement Community. Life Care CCRCs such as Ventana are different because they offer residents the benefits of an independent living apartment within a vital and socially active community along with the covenant of Life Care and medical assistance if and when those services are needed.  The Life Care covenant sets Ventana apart because it defines the financial arrangement under which care and residency for life is provided at any level, once you are approved for residency, even if you should outlive your assets.

While CCRCs have been around for some time now, you may have heard of recent efforts to change this acronym. “Life Plan Community,” a term that has emerged recently, aims to redefine what it means to be a CCRC. So, you may be wondering, “what is a life plan community?” and/or “will Ventana adopt this new category terminology too?” Well, outside of the term itself, to date there have been no changes to the definition of what a CCRC is compared to a what Life Plan Community (LPC) is. To be considered a Life Plan Community, residents must be offered more than one level of care on location, be provided an active lifestyle and opportunity to give back—all things that Ventana will offer residents, among others.
So whether we call it a Life Care CCRC or Life Plan Community, Ventana will be a community in the truest sense, attracting an inclusive and vibrant population of neighbors who share an appreciation for living well and a passion for doing good.

Under Ventana’s Life Care agreement, residents are assured future care that includes Skilled Nursing, Memory Care and Assisted Living should they ever need it. The agreement also includes amenities such as utilities, maintenance, a dining plan, housekeeping, and social, recreational and life-long learning programs.

At Ventana, we find it important to remain aware of trends and news surrounding retirement communities. We also find it important to keep you informed as you, or someone you know, may be nearing retirement age. Keep reading below to better understand the history, regulations and differences of Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Life Plan Communities.

What Are the Differences Between CCRCs and LPCs?

Just as older adults have changed over the years, so have the communities in which they live. For years, senior housing was perceived negatively because those who resided there were said to have lost their independence. The original model of a Continuing Care Retirement Community was designed to change this perception.

The CCRC model offers residential opportunities ranging from independent living to Skilled Nursing. Residents move in to the first level and are set for rest of their lives even if their needs should change. However, with the number of older Americans rapidly increasing, and many continuing to stay healthy and active longer than previous generations, some CCRCs took a look at their terminology and decided a change was needed.

After a two-year renaming process, the term “life plan community” was judged by some to better fit the overall care and perception of these communities than CCRC.

How the Life Plan Community Got Its Name

Today’s baby boomers aren’t just retiring. They are reinventing themselves by continuing to be healthy and active, and are in no way ready to sit back and just do nothing. Many are finding encore careers as a step into their new lives. Others are looking to settle into a community that will meet their needs. This is one of the focuses behind changing CCRCs to Life Plan Communities.

The CCRC name change to Life Plan Communities was done through a process called “NameStorm.” LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit groups dedicated to addressing the needs of aging Americans, CCRC owner Mather LifeWays and several marketing research firms began working together in 2013. These organizations garnered feedback from industry and corporate leaders, as well as polling more than 4,000 prospective and current CCRC/Life Plan residents and the general public from all over the United States.

The results were overwhelming. Eighty-four percent of prospective residents 65 and younger said they wanted an other name to categorize CCRCs. Many felt the term “continuing care” didn’t describe an environment that fostered new experiences and growth. Instead, they felt it suggested a place where others cared for mature adults.

The term Life Plan Community was chosen because:life-plan-community

Life shows that the communities are much more than being about care. They are also about living your life to the fullest.

Plan encompasses the “safety net” benefits that CCRCS offer including care and advanced wellness services.

Life Plan Community brings living and planning together to focus on a single category advantage of putting a plan in place that allows you to live your life to the fullest.

Because of this overwhelming preference for a new name for Continuing Care Retirement Communities, LeadingAge announced CCRCs should be referred to as Life Plan Communities. The group feels Life Plan Community does a better job conveying what tomorrow’s mature adults want in a senior living residence. The name change is more to represent the appeal shift and not the services offered by CCRCs.

Appeal Shift


While not all CCRCs are switching their terminology, the appeal rebrand into Life Plan Communities persists. Today’s retirees don’t consider themselves “old folks.” They want to get out and move and engage in exciting activities, such as:

  • Getting an encore career
  • Eating locally sourced foods
  • Going to wine tastings
  • Enjoying Salsa dancing

As the face of older Americans evolves, retirement communities are evolving themselves to appeal to new needs. But whether a community calls itself a CCRC or an LPC, both offer the same experience – only the name has changed.

Ventana by Buckner wants to give our residents peace of mind for the future by offering Life Care agreements,  which will ensure they receive the best possible care for the rest of their lives in an environment where they will be comfortable and happy.

So whether you’re looking forward to retiring to a Life Plan Community or a CCRC, Ventana by Buckner will exceed your highest expectations, offering exceptional care and a wide variety of amenities, services and social outings. Contact us today at 214-234-1035 for more information or to learn how to retire in our high-rise residence that is set to open in early 2019.