LeadingAge, a nonprofit association representing the aging services industry, has announced its intention to begin referring to Continuing Care Retirement Communities as “life plan communities.”
During the organization’s annual meeting in November, the LeadingAge NameStorm Task Force revealed Life Plan Community as a new way of referring to senior living communities that provide multiple levels of care. LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix said the group felt that the new label would provide a better perception of the industry among adults yet to enter their senior years.
Minnix said the new name encompasses the idea of having a workable plan for moving into the next phase of life. Communities may choose to adopt the new naming convention or continue using their current names at their discretion.
Two Years in the Making
The name was announced following a two-year process dubbed NameStorm. LeadingAge led the effort with participation from a research firm, four marketing firms and a LeadingAge member company.
The decision process for the new name included three different research initiatives to help determine the perception of the CCRC descriptor in the senior living market. The NameStorm task force sought input from corporate leaders in the field along with community residents, prospective residents and others. The research indicated that among adults younger than 65 — considered to be future consumers of senior living services — 84 percent did not prefer the CCRC name.
Encouraging Planning at a Younger Age?
Members of the LeadingAge task force felt that because many individuals who move to CCRCs are natural planners, the word “plan” would make sense as part of the new name. One task force participant representing a member community expressed hope that the new name will help prompt younger adults to begin the retirement planning process.
Some task force members also felt that the new name would continue the process of preparing for baby boomers arriving at senior living communities in large numbers. The new name reflects communities that are adjusting services and programming to better appeal to this savvy group of consumers, one task force member suggested.
The Next Steps
The task force expressed optimism that LeadingAge members will embrace the new Life Plan Community name. Time will tell whether senior living communities across the country begin referring to themselves as life plan communities or stay with the familiar Continuing Care Retirement Community designation.
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