Senior Housing News: Mather, Northwestern Launch Study on Life Plan Community Benefits

To date, no studies have been conducted to determine the impact that living in a life plan community has on seniors’ long-term health and wellness.

For that reason, the research service arm of Evanston, Illinois-based senior housing provider Mather LifeWays is partnering with a Big Ten university to analyze that very subject.

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging (MLIA) is facilitating the landmark five-year study in collaboration with Northwestern University to support and inform the senior housing industry. The MLIA research team will conduct the quantitative aspect of the study, while Northwestern will contribute to the qualitative component, according to a press release.

The outcomes and overall impact to life plan community living is an “under-explored” topic, according to Cate O’Brien, PhD, assistant vice president and director of MLIA.

“There are a number of reasons to believe the impact is a positive one, most notably that life plan communities offer an opportunity-rich environment with programs, amenities, services and health care that support wellness, sense of community, and opportunities to find fulfillment, and this study will help to qualify—and quantify—those beliefs,” O’Brien said in the press release.

To complete the study, MLIA is working alongside several senior housing industry groups, including LeadingAge, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), as well as senior housing providers Life Care Services (LCS) and Moorings Park. Chicago-based specialty investment bank Ziegler will also participate in the study.

At least 50 life plan communities will be recruited for the study, according to MLIA.

Participating communities and organizations will receive an annual report on key findings—such as quality of life, self-reported health, and additional health-related metrics. A one-page brief specific to a participating community will be issued to them if more than 30 of its residents participate.

At the end of the five-year study, each community will also receive a copy of the full report.

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