Fact vs. Fiction: Busting the Myths about Life Plan (CCRC) Living

When doing your homework about life in a Life Plan or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), you will learn quickly that there are many myths to be busted about CCRC living. We asked founding member and past Resident Association President, Dianne Herrick, (and others) to help us debunk common myths.

Fact vs. Fiction

  • FICTION: You lose your independence when you move to a senior living community.                                                                       

FACT: There are 150 independent living residences on the 85-acre Kendal at Lexington campus.  95 houses (we call them cottages) and 55 apartments, ranging in size from 550 square feet to over 2,000 square feet.  The 200+ residents who occupy those homes are entirely independent, come and go as they please, and have a say in the day-to-day operations of the community.  As part of their monthly fees, things like lawn care, housekeeping, and home maintenance are done for them – creating even more independence to do the things they want to do in retirement.  Kendal at Lexington resident Dianne Herrick says there are differences in congregate living.  “Think of when you were in college.  You lived in a dorm, but you didn’t lose your independence.”  

  • FICTION: We’re too young to live at a place like Kendal.  Senior living communities are only for old people.

FACT: At Kendal at Lexington the average age at move-in is 72.  Resident Sandra Blanton (originally from Shelby, N.C.) moved from New York City into her cottage at Kendal in 2005, when she was only 65.  17 years later she has no regrets.  “Moving here when I did was the best decision for me at that time, and I still love living here,” Sandy says.  “The residents are all so friendly, and the staff are always kind and helpful.”

  • FICTION: I shouldn’t move until I need help caring for myself.

FACT: If you wait until you are no longer able to care for yourself, you won’t qualify medically for independent living at Kendal.  Resident Dianne Herrick says she’s glad she moved to Kendal when she was only 76.  “I’m really glad I moved in when I was younger,” Dianne says.  This means I can enjoy all the amenities and experiences.  I wanted to come to Kendal for the fullness of life here, without all the responsibilities of taking care of a house.”

  • FICTION: I won’t be able to personalize my apartment or cottage.

FACT: Kendal at Lexington residences meet a high design standard with updated kitchen cabinets and counters, paint colors, hardwood flooring in the main living areas, and updated bathrooms.  Many also add upgrades like enclosed sunrooms, fireplace and built-in shelving, gourmet kitchens, and hardwood flooring in bedrooms. They furnish and decorate their homes here however they like. 

  • FICTION: The food is institutional, not appetizing.

FACT: The Kendal at Lexington Culinary Department prides itself in the variety, quality and presentation of meals.  The kitchen staff is led by on-site Executive Chefs who ran very popular and successful restaurants before bringing their skills and experience to Kendal.  Residents and staff alike will tell you the food here is delicious!

  • FICTION: I’ll have to leave my friends behind.

FACT: Dianne Herrick says, “Phooey!  I’m still very much engaged with my old friends – and have enjoyed making new friends here at Kendal.”

  • FICTION: It’s very expensive.

FACT: While it’s true that not everyone can afford the Continuum of Care offered by Kendal at Lexington, it’s also true that our independent living residents with Lifecare contracts receive substantial discounts on Assisted Living care and/or Long-term care in our skilled nursing center, if and when needed.  With many floorplans to choose from, entrance and monthly fees vary. And a significant portion of Entry Fees and Monthly Fees paid by our residents are tax deductible as medical expenses. Plus utilities, lawn care, house maintenance, housekeeping, expanded basic cable TV, and internet are included.

  • FICTION: I’ll have to give up my favorite hobbies.

FACT: Another “Phooey!” from resident Dianne Herrick, who says, “Actually I have more time now for my hobbies, because some of the basics are being taken care of.”  Basics included for independent living residents at Kendal include one chef-prepared meal each day, housekeeping every two weeks, lawn care and home maintenance.

  • FICTION: Senior Living Communities are where people go to get ready to die.

FACT: The exact opposite is true, says Kendal at Lexington resident Suetta Harrison.  Like many residents, Suetta says she and her husband, Bob, have never been more socially active than they have since moving to Kendal.  “We have more friends now than we ever had before!”  Suetta and Bob walk several times each day, and the Kendal Fitness Center and indoor pool help them, and many others stay physically active and healthy.

  • FICTION: There is no privacy in community living.

FACT: “I have found that everyone respects each other’s privacy,” says Kendal resident Dianne Herrick.  Each independent living resident chooses for him/herself how involved with the community they want to be.  There are 14 committees, numerous clubs, plus a Residents Association.  Residents can be involved in as many as they choose or choose none at all. 

Independent living as a Kendal at Lexington resident is whatever you make of it.  Dianne uses the metaphor of being an artist with a palette of paint.  “What you put on the canvas is what makes the picture.”