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The Value of Community at a CCRC

By | 2019-07-29T17:24:48+00:00 July 22nd, 2019|

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Bishop Spencer Place (BSP), a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or life plan community) in Kansas City, Missouri, for a marketing event. In addition to many prospects, there were a few current residents in attendance, and following the event, one of them—let’s call her Mrs. Smith—came up to let me know how much she enjoyed the presentation.

Mrs. Smith and I began talking about her experience living at BSP. She explained that she and her husband had move there many years ago. His health declined due to a serious car accident, and he eventually passed away. She described how much it had meant to them that, when he moved into the on-site healthcare center, she was able to easily get back and forth to see him each day. Although in separate buildings, she was able to spend as much time with him as she wished, and they had both been so grateful.

>> Related: CCRCs Keep Couples Close in Sickness and Health

Staff members who become like family

After hearing this, and learning more about how meaningful the entire experience at BSP has been for her, I asked the question I often like to ask, “What do you enjoy most about living here?”

Her answer was not unlike what I hear from many others when I pose this question. She said it was the community—both the fellow residents and the BSP staff. To illustrate how much the staff means to her, she told me another story relating to her husband.

She said that when his health was first in decline, they had caregivers from BSP coming into their independent living apartment to help. She described how kind the caregivers were to her and her husband.

>> Related: Saying Goodbye: How a CCRC Helps Residents Grieving the Loss of a Spouse

They were so nice, in fact, that one day Mrs. Smith declared, “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve you being so nice to me.” Well, apparently the BSP caregiver had noticed how much Mrs. Smith did for her husband and how kind she was to those around her. So, the caregiver responded by saying, “Mrs. Smith, you have to give love to get love.” As Mrs. Smith told me this story, her eyes welled up with tears, and mine did too.

Today, Mrs. Smith continues to enjoy the BSP community and staff. And while this may sound like a plug for Bishop Spencer Place or other similar communities, it is not meant to be. What I’ve described is real, authentic—and it’s similar to so many other stories I hear from people who have chosen to live in a CCRC.

>> Related: Why Every Retiree Should Consider a Retirement Community

Focusing on what really matters

If you are thinking about different senior living options, like a CCRC, it is easy to get caught up in the minutia with all the various aspects of the decision: cost, contracts, downsizing, etc. These things are important—in fact, myLifeSite is built on providing important details like these—but don’t lose the forest for the trees.

Stories like the one that Mrs. Smith shared are what it is ultimately about. It’s hard to put a value on these real-life experiences and the ways that seniors’ lives are enhanced by the sense of community and the care that comes with living in a CCRC.

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About the Author:

Brad Breeding is president and co-founder of myLifeSite, a North Carolina company that develops web-based resources designed to help families make better-informed decisions when considering a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or lifecare community.