Senior couple considering their independent retirement community options

How Lancaster County’s Retirement Communities are Different

And, Why You Should Consider a CCRC or Life Plan Community Yourself

In many of our posts here on the Explore Retirement Living (ERL) blog, you have likely encountered the term “Life Plan Community,” and perhaps you have wondered what that actually means. We realize that there are a lot of seemingly similar terms that get applied to retirement community living, and that can create unnecessary confusion.

Today’s post will clear up some terminology questions related to retirement communities of various types. We’ll also explain how the Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and Life Plan Communities affiliated with Explore Retirement Living in Lancaster County, PA, are different from so many others.

What is a “Life Plan Retirement Community?”

To start, know that the term “Life Plan Community”—as we have often used it here—simply refers to a Continuing Care Retirement Community. The name change was recently suggested to promote the fact that people look forward to, and plan for, their future years within the community setting. Also, market studies showed that the upcoming “Boomer” generations dislike the words “care” and “retirement” so of course, the name is a shift away from the old concept of retirement to the new concept of thriving as you age.   Of note, our ERL-participating organizations are not part of the same company, nor are they part of some big, for-profit retirement community chain. In the purest sense of the word, each of our communities is independent from each other with unique offerings, as well as unique governance structures (though all are non-profit organizations).

Our ERL retirement communities do, however, cooperate with one another to spread the word about all the fantastic retirement living opportunities that are available in beautiful Lancaster County, PA. In fact, that’s what Explore Retirement Living is all about!

Life Plan Communities (or Continuing Care Retirement Communities) Explained

Many people choose to move into a Life Plan community as early as they can, so that they can spend a lot of time enjoying the amenities and services provided to the independent living residents.  These amenities usually include wellness opportunities, volunteerism and educational opportunities, varying amounts of healthcare support, maintenance free living, and often times transportation services.  In addition, residents gain a network of friends and neighbors that provide enjoyment and emotional support.

Then, compared to other options such as a 55+ community, a significant benefit that all of our affiliated communities here at ERL offer is a strong continuum of care. What that means is that each community has living accommodations that can meet residents’ changing health care needs over time.

As AARP explains, within a CCRC environment, “a resident can start out living independently in an apartment and later transition to assisted living to get more help with daily activities or to skilled nursing to receive more medical care while remaining in the same community.” This provides peace of mind for residents and their families, knowing that once they choose a community, they won’t be scrambling to find options in the event of a healthcare change or worse yet- healthcare crisis.

CCRC’s usually have an entrance fee, and ongoing monthly maintenance fee.  Contract types include Type A – Life Care, Type B, Modified Fee for Services, and Type C, Fee for service.  Be sure to inquire within each community as to what contract type(s) they offer, and see which type works best for your needs.

Why Choose a CCRC or Life Plan Community in Lancaster, PA?

Did you know that Lancaster has consistently ranked as one of America’s Best Places to Retire in recent years? In fact, U.S. News and World Report named Lancaster the #1 Best Place to Retire in the USA for 2019, and we remain in the top 3 for 2020. If this award-winning record isn’t enough to convince you, there are countless other reasons why choosing a CCRC/Life Plan Community in Lancaster County is a great retirement move.

Higher Standard of Living

It’s a fact. People in Lancaster are happy, and that translates to the excellent quality of life throughout the county. Based on survey data, Lancaster residents specifically experience enjoyment at higher rates than people living in almost any other metro in the USA.

Why do Lancastrians love life so much? Well, in addition to excellent healthcare access, Lancaster County also offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation—including golf, hiking, and so much more.

Close to Everything You Need

While most CCRC and Life Plan Communities are self-contained campuses that provide everything you need to live a fulfilled life every day, Lancaster County is also amazingly conveniently located within the Mid-Atlantic region. Traveling to New York City, Washington, DC, and many other East Coast destinations is easy—whether you prefer air, train, or car travel.

So Many Community Options to Choose From

At Explore Retirement Living, we represent a collaborative effort of 18 Continuing Care (CCRC) and Life Plan retirement communities located in and around Lancaster County—that’s over a dozen community options to suit nearly any lifestyle!

Another strength of the ERL member communities, is that they are all non-profit organizations, which deeply value quality care and services that focus on residents needs, rather than profits.  Many non-profit communities also offer benevolent care if a resident would spend down their financial resources during their residency.

We encourage you to browse all of our communities and reach out directly to ones that interest you—some are nestled among farmland, while others offer a more city-based living experience. Some have religious affiliations that may align with your personal beliefs and values. No matter which communities you want to consider, we can help you make the connections here at ERL, too. Just send us a message!

Considering Lancaster County for Retirement? We Invite You to Get in Touch!

Here at Explore Retirement Living, our goal is to help take some of the stress out of the process of choosing the right retirement community and maybe even make it fun! After all, retirement is a time to celebrate all of the hard work you’ve accomplished in your life and take some much-deserved time out for yourself.

Get it touch with us today to learn more about what Lancaster County’s best independent retirement communities have to offer and find one that will make you say, “I wish I’d moved here sooner!”