Loretta Lynn at the 2017 CMAs
“We’ve come a long way, baby,” croons Loretta Lynn in her 1979 hit single (and album!) of the same name. Maybe she was referring to a relationship in that fabulous song, but the same thought certainly applies to a multitude of things today… including Arizona retirement lifestyles.

Loretta is on our mind because of her new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame that just opened! She missed its preview party as she’s still regaining her balance after a stroke in May and we wish her a strong recovery.  

Today’s retirement choices are much more expansive than they used to be. As the baby boomer population exploded, it fueled new products, services and communities for older adults. Medical care, health care, wellness, lifestyles−all offer a variety of choices unavailable to our parents (or depending on your age, their parents).

Do we want to age in place within the home we’re comfortable in, surrounded by family and friends? Do we want to move into a vibrant independent living community to ensure we’re not isolated and have wonderful new resources at our fingertips? What kind of medical and health care resources do we want, and how close at hand should they be? All of these choices can impact the quality of our retirement lifestyle.

Continuing Care communities, Life Care plans and Masterpiece Living® are three of today’s most interesting retirement choices that weren’t available to past generations. And even better, they’re all available for those who prefer to retire in Arizona.   

The Continuing Care Retirement Community Lifestyle

For those who’ve accumulated a tidy nest egg for retirement, one particular lifestyle can be extremely attractive: continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).

So what is a CCRC? It’s a retirement community that has health care options for assisted living, skilled nursing care, physical or rehabilitative therapy and memory care all available on the same campus for a smooth, seamless transition of care, should the resident not be able to continue living independently.

CCRCs are sometimes called life plan communities, a recent name change by Leading Age, a non-profit devoted to eliminating ageism. A life care community is different than a Life Care plan, however, which we’ll elaborate on in a moment.  

Housing accommodations in the CCRC can be a real estate purchase or a simple rental agreement, depending on the community, but most offer on-campus dining, transportation and social activities along with the health care resources. When evaluating CCRCs, it’s important to evaluate like-communities to like-communities for an accurate comparison, and remember that specific services can be included in the housing fee or billed independently, based on the options selected.

The Availability of Life Care

As interest blossomed for CCRCs, some have moved a step beyond the seamless care model to include more comprehensive levels of pre-paid or discounted care that complement long-term care insurance.

Called Life Care, this insurance product guarantees continued care and housing for the remainder of the resident’s lifetime, no matter what may happen to their finances. Economic downturn, disastrous hospital bills or other scenario, the Life Care plan ensures they have continued care and housing. It’s designed to protect one’s financial assets from future medical costs by pre-paying, predicting or discounting care to residents living within the community.

Even better yet, CCRCs are designed to keep resident focused on an active lifestyle and continued independence. While they typically provide leading-edge, excellent care, they want residents out of their care facilities, not in it. Good health is in their best interests and the resident’s, too.

Life Care plans are only offered by CCRCs, not sold on a stand-alone basis, and regulated by a state’s Department of Insurance. Not every CCRC offers Life Care, but every Life Care Community is a CCRC.

Sun Health Senior Living has three locally owned and operated CCRCs in Arizona, all offering Life Care plans. It’s one of the largest non-profits of its kind in the state.

Evidenced-Based Health and Wellness Retirement Lifestyles

Adding a third layer of interesting options for retirement in Arizona, a relatively new type of lifestyle is offered by a select few communities in Arizona: retirement communities certified as Masterpiece Living®.

Following the trend of evidenced-based practice in the clinical environment that base treatment on what is proven to work, rather than historical protocols, studies are now influencing senior care in the form of evidence-based practices at retirement communities.

Masterpiece Living is a nationally recognized, evidence-based program for successful aging that blends an optimal mix of physical, social, intellectual and spiritual pursuits.  Designed to create a culture of independence, wellness and successful aging as long as possible, it strives to redefine the standards for active senior lifestyles through this integrated approach.

Other than Sun Health Senior Living’s three properties, there is only one other retirement community certified as Masterpiece Living in Arizona.

Next Steps

If you’re beginning to consider options for retirement, exploring these types of communities can open the door to vastly different lifestyles than what you might expect. It’s a massive improvement over retirement communities of the past and certainly worth exploring!

Please be aware that certain criteria may apply, with financial and physical assessments required to qualify.

Ready to learn more about CCRCs, Life Care communities or Masterpiece Living? Sun Health Senior Living offers all three of these options at its three communities in the West Valley: Grandview Terrace in Sun City West, La Loma Village in Litchfield Park and The Colonnade in Sun City Grand (Surprise). Register for a free Life Care workshop today, or download our free eBook, Choosing a Life Care Community.

For more information on Life Care, please call Jackie Lusson at 623-236-3767.

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