By Rob Love, President, CEO

Across the country, communities are adopting the new term 'Life Plan Community.'

Across the country, communities are adopting the new term ‘Life Plan Community.’

It’s been nearly a year since ‘Life Plan Community’ was unveiled at LeadingAge in Boston as the new brand category name for continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), and I’m both pleased and excited to see the significant traction the new name is gaining.

This past spring, I was privileged to be able to present a variety of education sessions at various state and national conferences. Almost invariably, someone would approach me after a presentation and say something like, “I’m really glad you used the term ‘Life Plan Community’. We’ve been working hard to educate our [residents/management team/board] on the new name, and you really helped support that.”

But, I’m far from the only one supporting the transition to ‘Life Plan Community’. Not once did I attend a presentation (and I attended a lot of them!) where the speaker only referred to our communities as CCRCs. Every speaker called them Life Plan Communities, or referred to them by both terms. This included CEOs, CFOs, marketers, architects, financial consultants, and more.

Another example: Recently, I helped a client select a development management firm and architect for a master planning project, and every proposal and presentation called our communities Life Plan Communities. So I call step 1 in the process—getting the name into the vernacular—a win.

Now it’s time to move forward even more strongly with step 2: communicating the new name to the markets that we serve. And we’re making good progress there, too.

When looking at the map of Life Plan Community adopters, there are currently about 70 communities across the United States who are using the new name. And those are just the ones who have contacted LeadingAge to put their name on the map, so the actual number is likely even higher.

Even better, if you Google “Life Plan Community” (using quotation marks, to find only the pure references) you come up with more than 20,000 pages. So it’s inarguably out there!

If you are one of the early adopters that are leading the way for the rest of the field: Thank you! I know I speak for all of the members of the task force when I say we really appreciate your efforts.

If you have not yet moved forward with adopting the new term, I urge you to start the process now. The case is simple: Research continues to show that the terms “continuing care” and “retirement” are perceived negatively, and the coming wave of Boomers do not want to live in communities where they will be “continually cared for.” They want to live in vibrant communities where they are engaged in living. This is the lifestyle that many of our communities either offer today, or are striving to create for tomorrow.

Ready to take the plunge, but not sure where to start? Don’t worry: You can find a complete suite of materials—a “launch kit”—at LifePlanCommunity.org.

As it nears its first birthday, ‘Life Plan Community’ has gained significant momentum. Now it’s time to carry it over the top!

For more information on how your community can make the change, visit LifePlanCommunity.org, or contact Tim Bracken at 410-207-0013.

Attending LeadingAge Ohio? Be sure to attend our session (4E), “Using Marketing to Drive Long-Term Planning” on Thursday, September 8 at 8 a.m. The presentation will be led by Chris Carruthers and Tim Bracken. Visit page 15 of the conference brochure for a full session description.

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