What To Look For When Choosing a Life Plan Community


Choosing the right life plan community for yourself or a loved one can be challenging. With so many factors to consider — location, amenities, services, and reputation — it’s essential to be well informed to make the best choice possible. In addition, the quality of care, including ratings like the 5-Star Nursing Home designation and accreditations like the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), is critical.


What Is a Life Plan Community?

A life plan or continuing care retirement community offers tiered lifestyle and healthcare options, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. These communities are designed to meet the changing needs of seniors as they age.


The Importance of a 5-Star Nursing Home Rating

When evaluating life plan communities, a significant factor is whether they have a 5-Star Nursing Home rating. Established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), this rating system evaluates nursing homes based on three key components:

  1. Health Inspections
  2. Staffing
  3. Quality Measures

Nursing homes that receive a 5-star rating demonstrate the highest level of quality care and are more likely to provide a positive experience for residents. Therefore, when choosing a life plan community, prioritize those with a 5-Star Nursing Home rating to ensure your loved one receives the best possible care.


The Value of CARF Accreditation

Another critical factor to consider when selecting a life plan community is whether it is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits providers of health and human services. By achieving CARF accreditation, a life plan community demonstrates its commitment to providing high-quality services and maintaining an environment that promotes its residents’ safety, dignity, and independence for its residents.

Life plan communities with CARF accreditation have undergone a rigorous evaluation process to ensure they meet strict service delivery and care standards. In addition, the certification assures residents and their families that the community is dedicated to providing exceptional care and continuously improving its programs and services.


Additional Factors To Consider When Choosing a Life Plan Community


  • Range of Services

    Different services are provided depending on the life care community. For example, some may provide only independent and assisted living, while others may include skilled nursing and memory care. Make sure the community you choose offers the level of care you or your loved one may require in the future.


  • Financial Stability

    The financial health of the community is crucial. Carefully examine the costs involved (including entry and monthly fees), the annual increases to the fees, the refund policy, and the community’s financial stability. The cost of life plan communities can vary widely. These can range from extensive contracts (which include long-term care) to fee-for-service contracts (where you pay separately for healthcare service as needed).

    Understand what services and amenities are included in the fees and what are considered add-ons. Ensure the community fits within your financial plan.


  • Location

    Consider the community’s proximity to your family, friends, and points of interest like shops, parks, or cultural institutions. Also, think about the climate and whether it suits your preferences.


  • Resident and Family Satisfaction

    Visit the community and talk to the residents and their families. Their insights can provide valuable information about the community that you won’t find in a brochure. Check with the community to see if they are required to perform resident satisfaction surveys annually or biennially.


  • Amenities and Activities

    What kind of amenities does the community offer? Are there opportunities for physical exercise, social interaction, and intellectual stimulation? Activities might include fitness classes, art workshops, music performances, guest lectures, and group outings.


  • Living Space

    Take a good look at the living spaces. Are they comfortable and well-maintained? Is there enough space for your belongings?


  • Staff

    The quality, friendliness, and responsiveness of the staff are critical. Spend time interacting with them during your visit. Also, consider the quality of staff training and the staff-to-resident ratio.


  • Meal Plan and Dining Options

    Look at the food quality, the menu variety, the meal plan options, and the dining environment.


  • Culture and Community

    Every community has a culture. Some are more formal, while others are more casual. Try to visit the community and participate in some activities to get a feel for the culture.


  • Medical Services

    Consider the quality of the medical services provided. How well-staffed is the medical team? Are there doctors or nurses on-site? Is there a hospital or clinic nearby?

Seabury provides peaceful living opportunities for adults ages 50 and over, including those dealing with memory loss. Our philosophy centers the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness of our Residents. Living options range from independent apartments and villas to cottages as well. Our continuum of care model is designed to make Residents’ lives as comfortable as possible. Your Life Plan Contract at Seabury also includes, should you require it in the future, a transition to assisted living, memory support, and nursing care services for the same monthly fee.  Contact us today for more information!