What Are the Benefits of Life Plan Communities?

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Considering moving to a life plan community like The Clare? Doing so may boost your health, according to new research.

The first-year results of the Age Well Study reveals that residents of life plan communities report greater levels of wellness than older adults in home- and community-based settings. For instance, 69% of residents noted that moving to a life plan community “somewhat or greatly improved” their social wellness.

The five-year study is a collaboration between the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging and Northwestern University. Researchers are gathering survey responses from residents of life plan communities (or continuing care retirement communities) on 24 wellness measures. These include:

– Psychosocial characteristics, like optimism, loneliness and quality of life

– Health behaviors and outcomes, like activities of daily living, physical activities and social activities

– Personal characteristics and demographic information

The results from year one include responses from over 5,000 residents in 80 life plan communities in the United States. They compare to the Health and Retirement Study, which monitors similar measures for seniors in home- and community-based settings. This is conducted at the University of Michigan.

Initial findings also show that residents report significantly more healthy behaviors than their peers living elsewhere, and that goes beyond exercise. Additional results are still being compiled and will be released in January 2019.

“We know that life plan communities offer opportunity-rich environments with programs, services, amenities and health care, which support wellness,” Mary Leary, president and CEO of Mather LifeWays, told Senior Housing News. “We think that they’re in an environment that is constantly promoting health and wellness.”

Moving forward, the five-year study will focus on three areas:

– How moving to a life plan community affects residents’ health and wellness, and which aspects of a community have the most impact

– Residents’ beliefs about how living in a life plan community influences their health and well-being

– Factors that may predict which residents will thrive in life plan communities

In short, the study aims to illustrate what seniors will gain by moving to life plan communities, no matter their age. Here at The Clare, a robust social calendar, an ideal location in downtown Chicago and an array of services and amenities certainly provide residents with extensive opportunities to improve their overall sense of well-being.