What are older adults looking for in a continuing care retirement community?

This is the overarching question we seek to answer in our annual myLifeSite consumer survey. In the fall, we sent out a brief anonymous online survey to our list of over 8,000 consumer contacts, and we received responses from 430 people who are actively engaged in the process of researching continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities). We now are pleased to share a summary of our findings from the 2019 myLifeSite Consumer Survey.

A few key survey findings:

Survey participants’ ages:

Most respondents to the survey (44.6 percent) were between age 66 and 75, with over a quarter (25.3 percent) being between 71 and 75 years of age.

Reason for interest in a CCRC:

Survey participants were provided six common reasons people often give for choosing a CCRC and were asked to rank those reasons according to the level of importance they personally place on each. The most popular response by far is having access to a full continuum of care. In fact, a whopping 63 percent of respondents rated this as the number one reason among the choices given.

There were, however, some noteworthy differences in the responses to this particular question when we broke the responses out by the age of the survey participant.

Reason for delaying a CCRC decision:

Survey participants were provided with four possible concerns a person may have about moving to a CCRC and asked to rank each according to their own feelings. The most common answer chosen was concern about the financial viability of the community. In fact, more than half (56 percent) of respondents rated this as the number one choice among the options provided.

Interestingly, this question too elicited slightly different responses when the respondent’s age was cross-tabulated, as the full report reveals.

>> Related: How Do I Know If a CCRC is Financially Viable?

Reason for delaying a CCRC move:

Even when prospective residents of a CCRC feel that making the move is the best choice for them over the long-term, there are a variety of reasons they might delay their CCRC move. Survey respondents were provided a list of eight possible reasons for delay; the most popular answer overall was “I don’t feel old enough,” with almost half choosing this answer, followed closely by “I have concerns about long-term affordability.”

But the survey respondent’s age impacted their reasons for delaying their CCRC move too, as you will see in the report. And people also chose to write-in a number of other reasons for their delay, which are insightful.

>> Related: How Do I Know If I’ll Be Happy Living in This CCRC?

Most appealing characteristics of a CCRC:

Participants were given a list of characteristics that might make a retirement community more attractive and were asked to rate each one on a scale that ranged from “not attractive” to “very attractive.” Overall, the most appealing characteristics revolved around food, with the most popular response being “high-quality food,” followed closely by “flexible dining settings.”

The next most attractive characteristics, which scored nearly identically, were “lifelong learning classes/lecture series” and “flexible transportation services or ride-share programs.” The write-in responses on this question also provided useful perspectives.

>> Related: New Study Shows CCRC Residents ARE Happier and Healthier

Thank you to our survey participants!

We would like to thank those who took the time to share their personal thoughts about CCRCs and their own research process in this year’s survey; your insights are immensely valuable to us here at myLifeSite, as well as to administrators within the CCRC industry.

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