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What is a Life Plan Community?

For some people, the thought of moving to a senior living community conjures images of old folks’ homes — institutionalized settings where older adults sit parked in front of TVs for hours at a time. The reality today is that senior living communities are more like resorts where residents lead active, fulfilling lives. Free from the responsibilities of homeownership, they have more time to do the things they want with people who share their interests and zest for life.

If that sounds good to you, let’s look at your senior living options.

The Senior Living Landscape

There are communities for active seniors, communities for people who need help with day-to-day activities, and those that offer a combination of both. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Home Care – Stay at home and hire caregivers from an in-home agency.
  • 55+ Community – Live independently without the hassle of home maintenance. Residents in a 55+ community normally own their own homes or townhomes.
  • Independent Living Community ­– These rental-based communities typically feature apartment-style living. Services and amenities may include social and recreational activities, plus housekeeping.
  • Assisted Living Community – For older adults who require some assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating and mobility. Residents live in private apartments with round-the-clock support; services include housekeeping, meals, laundry and life enrichment programs.
  • Life Plan Community – This option is for people who only want to move once. It offers an integrated model that normally includes independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.

What is a Life Plan Community?

Life Plan Community and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) are two names for a particular type of senior living community. The beauty of a Life Plan Community or CCRC is that older adults can move in when they’re still relatively healthy, enjoy an active and fulfilling lifestyle, and have peace of mind knowing they have access to a continuum of care when and if they need it.

Where Did the Term “Life Plan Community” Come From?

Many CCRCs thought the term “continuing care retirement community” didn’t reflect the vibrant culture at their communities. While a continuum of care is a distinguishing feature of CCRCs, the term “continuing care retirement community” omits any reference to the life-enriching opportunities for residents of a Life Plan Community.

After a two-year renaming process, the term “Life Plan Community” was adopted in 2016 by many (but not all) CCRCs. You can read more about the renaming process here.

A Lifestyle That Supports Your Well-Being

One comment we often hear from residents is they wish they’d moved here sooner. At the best Life Plan Communities, seniors make wonderful friends, get more exercise, and are busier than ever pursuing their interests and exploring new opportunities. Research backs up their experience.

Studies show residents of Life Plan Communities are healthier and happier than seniors who live at home.

A Continuum of Care Right on Campus

The last thing anyone wants is having to make a move during a health crisis — with no guarantee that your preferred choice has an opening for you. At a Life Plan Community like StoneRidge, you’ll have a plan in place for whatever the future may hold. It gives residents and family members added peace of mind, knowing they’ll be in the best of hands supported by people they know and trust.

At StoneRidge, we offer a full continuum of health services, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation.

Types of Financial Contracts

Most Life Plan Communities require a one-time, upfront payment, called an entrance fee or buy-in, to move into the independent living part of the community. The amount depends on the size of your residence and the number of occupants. In addition, you’ll pay a monthly fee that covers the services and amenities associated with living at the community.

Contracts vary from one community to the next. Let’s look at the four types of contracts you’re likely to encounter:

Type A, aka LifeCare®

  • Highest entrance fee
  • No substantial increase in monthly fee for higher levels of living

Type B, Modified Plan

  • Lower entrance fee than Type A
  • Limited number of free days of health services or an ongoing discounted rate for health services

Type C, Fee-for-Service

  • Lowest entrance fee
  • Health services at full market rate


  • No entrance fee or possibly a nominal community fee
  • Higher monthly fees

At StoneRidge, we offer several types of contract options to fit your needs. For a deeper dive into contracts, entrance fees and monthly service fees, visit our Senior Living 101 page.

Questions? We’re Here to Help!

Got more questions about how Life Plan Communities work? We can answer them. We work with seniors and their families every day to help them find the right fit for their lifestyle and budget. Call 860-333-8995 or use the Contact Us form to send your question. We can even schedule a virtual visit.