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What’s the Difference Between a Nursing Home and a Life Plan Community?

Senior living communities are far from the traditional “nursing homes” you may be familiar with.

Broadly speaking, “senior living” describes an age-qualified community of residences specifically designed to meet older adults’ wants and needs. But there’s much more.

Many of today’s senior living communities offer a fulfilling lifestyle complete with on-site amenities and services such as a fitness center, social events, multiple dining options, and maintenance-free services like transportation, housekeeping, lawn care, and more. Some communities even offer a full continuum of care if residents ever need it, including Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Rehabilitation and Memory Care. 

A Life Plan Community is a type of community that offers a full continuum of care. Also referred to as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), a Life Plan Community offers residents a residence in Independent Living,  which allows older adults to enjoy purposeful aging with others without the burdens of home maintenance, cooking, lawn care or housekeeping. 

Residents can move into Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing or Memory Care,  which are often available on-site at the community, if their needs ever change. The ability to seamlessly move to higher levels of care while staying at the same community is an invaluable benefit. Residents can keep the lifestyle they love near their friends and spouse even if they can no longer manage on their own in independent living. Plus, they receive care from community team members they know and trust.

What’s the difference between senior living communities and nursing homes?

The fact is, while senior living communities and nursing homes both cater to the needs of the growing senior population, they’re completely different institutions.

A nursing facility is generally for older adults who can no longer care for themselves in their own homes, either because of normal aging or a serious health event. Nursing homes are long-term care facilities that primarily focus on providing health services, instead of catering to lifestyle preferences of their residents. According to an AARP study, the majority of residents in these facilities have some form of dementia and spend most of their time in a bed or wheelchair. Nursing homes typically have a full-time staff of professionals who provide assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, and using the toilet.

Senior living communities, on the other hand–especially Life Plan Communities–go far beyond providing care. Communities like The Glebe focus on providing an all-around fulfilling lifestyle for residents. While nursing homes are usually for seniors who absolutely require assistance, senior living communities are designed to provide a retirement experience for active older adults to enjoy life to its fullest, with convenient access to higher levels of care if needed.

A wide variety of engaging amenities, clubs and groups, exciting outings, and a distinct social connection are all key aspects that separate senior living communities from nursing facilities. The goal of senior living is to enhance residents’ overall health and wellness through enriching experiences. Residents are able to take full advantage of these experiences with complete peace of mind that they have higher levels of care right where they live if they ever need them, while still enjoying the community amenities and activities they love.

Benefits of a Life Plan Community

In addition to a full continuum of on-site care, an engaging and active lifestyle, and an emphasis on socialization, Life Plan Communities offer unique benefits that allow residents to enjoy a worry-free retirement. 

You may be surprised to learn that nursing homes can be more than double the cost of senior living communities in the long run. It’s because in senior living communities, specifically Life Plan Communities/CCRCs, residents pay a one-time entrance fee (often partially refundable) for their Independent Living residence and to cover all the health services they might need in the future, and a monthly fee that covers the costs of lifestyle services and amenities. In this model, residents are protected from the ever-rising costs of open-market health care, and instead are guaranteed priority access to top-quality care in the community’s own higher levels of living. The value of knowing your health will be protected for as long as you live in a senior living community is nothing short of priceless.

See the difference The Glebe can make for you.

You’ve only just scratched the surface of what a continuing care retirement community can do for your future. At The Glebe, we provide an endless array of opportunities to enrich your lifestyle and give you the retirement you’ve always wanted. To learn more about our vibrant community and explore your options, contact us today.