According to early results from a five-year nationwide study, Life Plan Community residents report greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and vocational wellness than older adults living within the community at large.
Life Plan Communities offer older adults options to enjoy independent lifestyles while ensuring residents priority access to assisted-living or nursing care should their health or abilities eventually decline. Formerly called Continuing Care Communities, Life Plan Communities allow individuals to essentially “age in place.”
In recently published data from a multi-year study, Life Plan Community residents reported higher positive measures of overall well-being than older adults in general. The Age Well Study, a research project undertaken by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging and Northwestern University, gathers health and wellness information by surveying Life Plan Community residents annually over five years. In January, researchers released findings from the study's first survey.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that moving into a Life Plan Community “somewhat" or "greatly improved” their social wellness. Respondents also reported greater life satisfaction, more positive perceptions about aging, better moods, and higher physical activity levels than other older adults.
Compared to their community-at-large age-group counterparts, Life Plan Community residents are more likely to pursue intellectual activities such as reading, playing games, participating in educational offerings, using social media, and meeting up with friends. The results indicate that Life Plan Communities contribute to helping active, independent residents thrive.
Confirming What We Know
"At Sunset, we recognize that Life Plan Communities offer life-enriching environments with services and amenities that foster health and fulfillment," says Sunset Communities CEO, Vicky Bartlett. "The Age Well Study provides statistical evidence for what we've been witnessing firsthand."
Fieldstone Villas, part of the Sunset Village Life Plan Community, features maintenance-free villas located just across the meadow from the Village campus. Residents enjoy spacious homes, fitness and wellness programs, socializing opportunities, entertainment, a 10,000 square foot Clubhouse, and more. There are 12 presently occupied villa homes, and 10 new homes are under construction.
"This report...provides strong evidence for Life Plan Communities as places that offer tremendous opportunities for resident well-being," writes Mary Leary, CEO of Mather LifeWays. "Ultimately, the five-year Age Well Study will quantify the benefits of Life Plan Communities, providing data points that can support and inform the senior living industry for years to come."
About the Survey
The Age Well Study uses questionnaire responses collected from more than 5,100 residents of 80 Life Plan Communities around the country. The researchers draw community-at-large comparisons using data from the University of Michigan's previously published Health and Retirement Study.
The Age Well Study's next data release will occur in 2020 and will include data obtained from interviews with Life Plan Community residents.