By: Dave Bayer
When looking at literature about retirement, we frequently see the phrase “Continuing-Care Retirement Community, also known as a Life-Plan Community,” or words to that effect.
Of course, that begs the question: “What’s the difference?” The short answer is none. They are basically the same thing. The reason for the difference, however, is both longer and much more interesting.
Reportedly, the term Continuing-Care Retirement Community (CCRC) was first coined in 1981 by Walter Shur, former Chief Actuary of New York Life Insurance Company. CCRCs have been around for years, providing a continuum of care generally including independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. Many communities also offer memory care.
Life-Plan Community Explained
The term Life-Plan Community resulted from an initiative by LeadingAge (a national association of nonprofit aged service providers) marketing task force in 2015. It was apparently felt at the time that the term Continuing-Care Retirement Community was not resonating with prospective residents. The main purpose of the name change was to focus on the fact that Life-Plan Communities are placing more emphasis on the individual while maintaining a high-level continuum of care.
When my wife Jackie and I first moved to John Knox Village in early 2017, it seemed that the term Life-Plan Community was not in wide use on campus. In fact, the contract that we signed then stated, “John Knox owns and operates a Continuing-Care Retirement Community…designed to provide residences and services in a senior living environment …”
When I was told some months later that JKV was calling itself a Life-Plan Community, I must admit that I did not care for that description. My feeling was that I really didn’t need anyone to plan my life for me. Also, after having been a primary caregiver for my mother- and father-in-law and also my previous wife in our home in the years preceding their deaths, the potential need for “continuing care” certainly resonated with me.
During the intervening years, however, I came to appreciate the message that LeadingAge was sending and why they felt the need to do so. Many of today’s generation of adults entering retirement age are, more than ever, enjoying good health and looking forward to maintaining their health while living their absolute best life at any age. Many of the new retirement communities are for profit, and stress amenities while offering some limited “pay as you go” health care.
To remain competitive while maintaining the traditional continuum of care, the Continuing-Care Retirement Community, also known as a Life-Plan Community, recognized the need to offer more and better amenities. JKV has done exactly that.
In 2019, I wrote the following: “JKV enjoys an active resident-led “Life Enrichment” program. Last month’s Life Enrichment Events Calendar listed over 400 activities, including recurring events such as spiritual life group meetings and church services, a trivia night, a French Connection luncheon, a wide variety of card games, board games, bingo, educational DVD classes, movies, dance lessons, choral groups, Al-Anon, flower arranging, art classes, table tennis, fitness classes and computer club. In addition, JKV has an active and comprehensive variety of lectures, concerts and celebratory events.”
Keeping Residents Safe And Engaged
That was pre-COVID. During the pandemic, there were almost as many activities, while of course observing the appropriate regulations regarding in-person gathering, the use of PPEs and physical distancing. There have also been many new and innovative opportunities that started during the pandemic. These include personalized training in computer technology and interesting Zoom discussions on a wide range of subjects. During that period there was also a significant amount of construction on campus, and details of the new Westlake Pavilion and the new Aquatic Complex are well covered elsewhere in this edition. Jackie and I attended the first tour of the Aquatic Complex and it is truly fantastic. We even signed up for six water aerobics classes.
John Knox Village has done so much more than merely adopt being called a Life-Plan Community. It’s not a place for a person to just sit around and grow old. Rather, it’s a place where a person can plan and live his or her best life in an environment that promotes wellness, engagement and camaraderie in very pleasant surroundings. None of us know exactly what to expect when life returns to normal, or more likely a new normal. Regardless, based on JKV’s demonstrated dedication to provide a large variety of great amenities and an excellent continuum of care, Jackie and I are really looking forward to what the future holds here in our friendly Life-Plan Community.
Dave Bayer and his wife Jackie have been residents of John Knox Village since 2017. Prior to that, they both had lived in Ft. Lauderdale since the mid-1970s. They have been involved in a variety of volunteer activities in the local community and at JKV. Dave is a retired U.S. Navy Captain, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of both the National Continuing Care Residents Association and the Florida Life Care Residents Association.
To learn more about John Knox Village and the opportunities we provide for a safe, enriching lifestyle, click here or call 954-783-4040 for a private, personalized appointment (in person or virtual).