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Senior Living: What’s the difference between rental communities and Life Plan Communities?

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Seniors ready to make the move to a senior living community now have many options, from home style, to level of care, to location, to activities, to food, and even to type of payment structure. One essential choice is between opting for a Life Plan Community or going with a Rental Community.

Life Plan Communities 

residents enjoying a board game
Residents enjoying a spirited game of Mahjong

A Life Plan Community, also called a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offers an active, independent lifestyle plus access to levels of care. At Laurel Circle, Bridgewater, N.J.’s only Life Plan Community, we offer the full continuum of care, which includes independent senior living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehab — all conveniently located on our campus. If you or your spouse ever needs care in our health center, you’ll have access to that care, right here — without having to leave Laurel Circle.

Laurel Circle, like most Life Plan Communities, requires a one-time payment, called an entrance fee, before moving to the community. The entrance fee helps keep your monthly fees lower and gives you priority access to higher levels of care. However, the entrance fee at Laurel Circle is up to 80% refundable to you or your estate.

Rental Contract Communities
A rental community offers month-to-month rent with many charging a community fee associated with the contract. As a resident’s needs change, they can transfer to increased levels of care if the community offers them and if there is space for them. Increased levels of care come with market-level pricing. Seniors who choose a rental contract community usually pay a premium rate and are not provided the certainty of care that they need. Often times they are forced to move to a new community.

Lower Costs at Laurel Circle vs. Rental Communities
The monthly service package at Laurel Circle covers all the costs of living you might otherwise have in a house, plus flexible dining options, fitness programs, recreational/social/cultural activities, transportation, the holistic Eight Dimensions of Wellness program, and more. The monthly fee at a rental community may not include all the services and amenities available at Laurel Circle. In addition, at a rental community, you’ll pay much higher market rates for higher levels of health care, assuming it offers you the care you need and a room is available when you need it. There’s no guarantee. At Laurel Circle, you’ll have priority access to on-site care should you ever need it.

residents relaxing against a tree on the campus grounds
Residents visiting Colonial Park for a nature walk.

The Emotional and Physical Benefits of Choosing a Life Plan Community
According to The Mather Institute’s comprehensive Age Well Study, Life Plan Communities like Laurel Circle provide the social interaction, community connection, health and fitness resources, comfortable residences, and overarching support that correlates strongly with residents’ happiness and life satisfaction. Life Plan Communities make the physical health of their residents a top priority, providing an array of fitness classes, chef-prepared meals, and helpful resources so residents can bolster their health and fitness in a way that suits their preferences. The plentiful social opportunities integrated into life at a Life Plan Community offer more chances to enhance feelings of social cohesion and sense of community and diminish feelings of loneliness.

When asked, 91% of respondents from Life Plan Communities were either “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their senior living community.

Learn more about the Age Well Study page.

The Health Center at Laurel Circle
Laurel Circle’s Health Center, the Arbor, is highly rated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Arbor at Laurel Circle is among the most highly rated health centers in the state of New Jersey and is a Preferred Provider of the Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health System.

In addition, the Arbor was awarded “High Performing” status by U.S. News and World Report in two categories: Short-Term Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care.

Laurel Circle is managed by Life Care Services®, An LCS® Company, which oversees more than 140 retirement communities nationwide. In communities managed by Life Care Services, 95% of residents say that because of the customer-first approach, they’d recommend their community to a friend or relative.

To learn more about Laurel Circle, call 908-595-6500 or visit our homepage.