The History of Explore Retirement Living

Lancaster County is rich with wonderful opportunities for dining, adventure, healthcare, and togetherness. It is also rich with opportunities for high-quality housing and services for older adults as they seek a fulfilling and secure future.

In fact, there are 17 separate non-profit Life Plan Communities (formerly known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities, or CCRC’s) within the county.  Because of this abundance, Lancaster County has been recognized nationwide as a destination for retirement.

Adding to a long list of recognition as a great place to live, Lancaster was also recently highlighted by US News and World Report as one of the top 5 places to retire and the AARP/World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly City designation.

Visit 17 Communities in Lancaster During the Explore Retirement Living Event

On the 15th of October, the 17 participating non-profit life plan communities will all open their doors from 10am until 4pm to showcase the wide variety of homes and services that each campus offers.

The format of the open house may vary from campus to campus; some may have self-guided tours, while others have shuttle bus tours. Generally, all communities will showcase two or three model homes, provide refreshments, and have volunteers available to meet guests.

This event is a great way to tour several communities in one day in a casual manner to get a feel for which communities may best suit your personal taste.  No RSVP is required, but registration forms are collected at each community when you arrive.

Due to time constraints, you most likely won’t make it to all 17 locations in one day – so we encourage guests to pick their top three or four destinations and visit those campuses first. And; wear comfortable shoes!

Visit our communities page via the link below to learn more about each community. This will allow you to focus on the communities that best suit your needs to optimize your day.


If you wish to have a detailed or personal discussion with a retirement planning counselor at any of the participating communities, it is recommended that you schedule a personal appointment for a later date.

Who is Invited to the Explore Retirement Living Event?

If you are considering future plans for yourself, a loved one, or even a friend, this is a great event to attend! If you want to bring family or friends, that’s great! It’s always nice to have someone to enjoy the day with.

Planning Ahead for Retirement Living in Lancaster

Many of our Lancaster County communities have wait lists for their housing options, so we encourage you to start planning long before you are actually ready to make a move.

A common phrase amongst new residents of our life plan communities is, “I should have done this sooner!” This sentiment typically arises after visitors like you discover the variety of fun activities and opportunities for involvement that abound in our communities, as well as maintenance-free living that residents can enjoy once they move in.

The other reason is that moving is hard – and it doesn’t get any easier. Getting a head start on finding your perfect retirement destination can get you happily settled while you can still enjoy the process and benefit from the engaging community lifestyle.

Want to learn more about what it’s like to retire in Lancaster County and discover ways to enjoy your retirement more fully? Visit the Explore Retirement Living blog.


How Did Our Non-Profit Retirement Community Collaborative Begin?

In 2010, a group of sales counselors was standing around after a long day at a senior expo, the type of event where exhibitors have a table and guests browse through and leave with a pile of brochures and handouts.

One sales counselor lamented that it’s so hard to showcase our beautiful campuses with just one or two photos on a banner – and wished we could do a parade-of-homes-style event on our own campuses rather than standing in a gymnasium.

A light bulb came on! What about a community-wide open house?

At the same time, some of those same individuals were brainstorming ways to pool resources to create a website that would educate people nationwide about the benefits of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a destination for retirement.

These conversations, happening unknowingly in unison, would give rise to the concept of Explore Retirement Living, allowing the communities to and future residents to connect and explore together much more efficiently and effectively.


Here we are, years later, with a successful, ongoing collaborative annual open house event and a website to promote all of the communities that make Lancaster the destination for senior living that it is.

The group also has a Facebook page! We encourage you to visit the page and sign up to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in and around our communities, as well as gain access to articles and other content that will prove helpful in optimizing your retirement.


Recognition for the Explore Retirement Living Event

In 2013, the Explore Retirement Living (ERL) collaboration was selected as a seminar topic during the LeadingAgePA’s annual conference in Hershey, PA.

A group of marketing directors, each individually representing one of the various communities, presented competitive collaboration as a forward-thinking way to pool resources to highlight all that Lancaster County has to offer.

The Explore Retirement Living (ERL) committee has also been acknowledged by groups such as the Discover Lancaster tourism bureau and Lancaster Newspapers.

Pictured: Christina Gallagher the Competitive Collaboration Seminar sign at the 2013 LeadingAge Conference in Hershey, PA.

Why Competitive Collaboration Makes Sense

Even before the Explore Retirement Living collaboration, the 17 communities recognized each other’s value within the county and treated each other as friends rather than competitors.

Each community carries its own personality and unique features and meets the wishes of different sectors of the market. Each of the 17 communities is a member of a group called “Lancaster Area Senior Services” or LASS, which was originally a subset of the LeadingAgePA association for Non-Profit Retirement Communities which serves as a sounding board for senior services.

About the LASS communities

The 17 communities that comprise the Explore Retirement Living collaboration also bring more than just great housing and services to older adults.

By the numbers, LASS Communities operate at over 25 locations, house over 13,000 residents, and own over 7,500 housing units (cottages, villas, carriage homes, apartments, etc.).

There are also over 175 subsidized apartments. The communities also serve residents in over 1600 personal care accommodations and 2500 skilled nursing care beds.

Additional services include:

  • Memory support households,
  • Homecare and home health agencies,
  • Adult day programs,
  • Childcare programs,
  • Hospice service,s
  • …and more!

Economic Benefits to Lancaster County

In order to provide world-class service to the residents who call them home, the 17 LASS communities employ nearly 8,000 team members and strengthen Lancaster County with a combined payroll of nearly $293 million per year.

Even though the communities are non-profit, they still pay over $14 million in property taxes annually and are many times one of the larger taxpayers in their respective townships.

As non-profit communities, the LASS communities also provide over $76 million in charitable care to residents who are unable to afford their cost of care or housing.  The economic benefits of the LASS communities are on par with that of tourism, farming, and other large industries here in Lancaster County.

If you have any questions about the event or about Explore Retirement Living, please contact us or visit our FAQs page.

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