Life Plan Community has been chosen, after a multi year effort, to replace Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) as the primary description of communities for older adults. For most people, their first question would be, "Why change?" That is a good question. The best way to answer it is to first look at history and then look at the present.
Communities for older adults have been labeled with various terms over the past hundred years that today seem unbelievable. "Asylum" was probably the most heinous label. Of course when asylum was the popular term, residents were referred to as inmates; so the terminology was offensive from all aspects. "Homes for the Aged" was used regularly replaced by "Convalescent Home" and "Nursing Home." When these terms were no longer acceptable, new, modern terminology took their place. The modern terms were cool and very business like. "Skilled Nursing Facility" and "Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center" are two of the more popular terms that are still in use today. The term facility is ubiquitous. It appears in the news and even in regulations. It is often the term used to describe a community by its own residents and employees. Facility is the opposite of home. No one calls the home they grew up in a facility. The most basic definition of facility is space or equipment necessary for doing something. It is a very functional term; but does not describe the key reason we create communities for elders: caring, compassion, love and fellowship. Center has a similar connotation.
Back in the seventies and eighties, as retirement communities began to appear across the country, the term continuing care retirement community became popular and has come to define the type of living arrangement that offers multiple levels of care in one location. Even the accreditation is named Continuing Care Accreditation (CARF-CCAC). This terminology has served well for the past three decades or more; but its shortcomings have begun to appear. As the new generation of elders approach the decision to move to a community, they have expressed displeasure with the term, CCRC. Two of the four words elicit negative feedback. Care and Retirement are both unpopular with the boomers.Even continuing is institutional sounding.
Leaders in the"Life Plan Community" field recognized this problem and began a deliberate effort to identify new terminology that best describes what we offer. After two years of hard work including market testing, the term "Life Plan Community" has been chosen. It was announced at the annual LeadingAge conference in Boston in November. The public relations information included with the announcement includes the tag line, "It's my life; it's my plan; it's my life plan community!" Use of the term in place of CCRC is voluntary; but it offers a new and fresh take on what communities such as Homestead Village offer those who choose to make us their home.
Homestead Village will embrace Life Plan Community and do its part to facilitate the transformation in language and thought.