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Study: Living in Life Plan Communities Improves Quality of Life

GRAND RAPIDS, MI–Clark, a Grand Rapids-based senior living community, today announced positive early results from a national study conducted by Northwestern University and the Mather LifeWays Institute into the benefits of living at “life plan” communities, also known as continuing care retirement communities.

Clark is one of 80 life plan communities participating in the five-year study. National results from the first year of the study show that residents who live in life plan communities, including Clark, report healthier behaviors—including having greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual and vocational wellnesses—than seniors living in communities at-large.

Clark residents also reported decreased loneliness and hopelessness, as well as increased social contact, spirituality, intellectual activities and frequency of volunteering.

“We’re very encouraged by the early survey results,” Clark CEO Brian Pangle said. “They are consistent with our goals of creating communities where residents are able to stay active, and socially and emotionally engaged. We pride ourselves on creating an environment that allows for expanded relationships as you age. “It is the mission of Clark to continually provide these types of exceptional residential communities for older adults.”

The Age Well Study includes responses from 5,148 residents of life plan communities in 28 states nationwide. It is the only national, longitudinal study that evaluates the experience of living in a life plan community on residents’ cognitive, physical, and psychosocial health and well-being.

According to the study, 70 percent of life plan community residents report moving to a life plan community has “somewhat” or “greatly” improved their social wellness after living there for one year.

“Participating in research like the Age Well Study fits perfectly with Clark’s mission of championing dignity, compassion and respect for our communities,” Pangle said. “As we continuously strive to improve the quality of life for our residents, this data helps guide our program design evolution.”

The Age Well Study measures residents’ self-reported health and wellness metrics through a survey taken annually for five years. Results will be compared to a demographically similar sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) conducted by the University of Michigan. The study is available for free and can be downloaded at www.TheAgeWellStudy.com.