For many years, a significant number of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) have been concerned that the very category used to describe them actually limited consumer interest. In particular, the terms “continuing care” and “retirement” were perceived to have negative connotations among potential residents, leaving them with the impression that these communities were only for older, less healthy people who need care.
Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay is proud to be part of a nationwide initiative to rename “Continuing Care Retirement Communities” (CCRC) as “Life Plan Communities.” This initiative was designed to help communicate to the public that communities like Plymouth Harbor are about so much more than care: we are about life, and living life to its fullest.
The selection of the name Life Plan Community is the result of a multi-year effort led by LeadingAge, the national association of not-for-profit senior living organizations, in conjunction with a task force consisting of five leading marketing and research firms that specialize in senior living. Hundreds of ideas for a new name were submitted by CCRCs around the country through a national “NameStorming” process, and the top names were then tested for consumer understanding and acceptance through a series of surveys and focus groups.
Why has Plymouth Harbor adopted the “Life Plan Community” branding category? As you may be observing, the senior living landscape is preparing for the tremendous wave of adults who will start turning 75 in about five years. Research has consistently shown that this next generation of potential residents does not respond positively to the term “Continuing Care Retirement Community.” They are self-directed planners who aren’t looking only for “care;” rather, they want a life filled with possibilities, options, and choices.
People who move to Plymouth Harbor, and other Life Plan Communities, tend to be planners; they’ve made decisions to ensure they have a solid plan in place for their future. A Life Plan Community provides just what they need. It allows “planning” and “living” to merge. Having a plan in place — the security of the safety net provided by the availability of healthcare, coupled with the freedom from not having to manage all the day-to-day tasks that come with homeownership — allows for living life to the fullest.
“We’re excited about the new branding category,” said Gordon Okawa, Vice President of Marketing and Community Affairs. “It draws attention to our community being about life, and not only about care. Prior generations looked at retirement community options more reactively, that is, after a possible health event affected them directly. Now, the ‘baby boomer’ generation tends to be more proactive in their decision-making process and wanting a plan and back-up plan in place prior to ‘needing’ or ‘being forced’ to make a decision.
Plymouth Harbor has had the privilege of serving multiple generations of residents over its 50 plus years, and with each successive generation, there is a lesson learned from the previous one. I think all the current residents can guess what that one is — ‘we should have done this five years ago.’
We have definitely noticed a trend over the past two to three years of an increasing number of prospects who are between the ages of 68 and 76 exploring their options and subsequently getting on our Harbor Club wait list.”
The future is bright for Plymouth Harbor, with increasing emphasis on the many aspects of successful aging. In the coming years, we will continue to be the preferred Life Plan Community for multi-generations of older adults who desire an active lifestyle that challenges their physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
Note: The Florida Office of Insurance Regulations (OIR) still requires Plymouth Harbor to disclose itself legally as a CCRC under Chapter 651, Florida Statutes, in any promotional or marketing/advertising materials, since the State of Florida has yet to change or update its language to reflect this new term of “Life Plan Community” in the statutes.