Willow Valley Communities has been named #3 in a new list from Newsweek that ranks the top 250 continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) in the United States. Newsweek worked with national research firm Statista to score the communities for the “America’s Best Continuing Care Retirement Communities 2024” rankings. The communities were ranked in order of their “reputation scores” from medical professionals, residents, or their acquaintances.
This is the first time Newsweek has highlighted CCRCs in its annual rankings. Researchers examined more than 2,000 CCRCs across the country with reputation score survey results gathered between August and September 2023. Data were collected in the 20 states that have the most communities: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Virginia.
“Willow Valley Communities is honored by Newsweek’s ranking,” said Craig D. Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Willow Valley Living, the management company for the organization. “For nearly 40 years Willow Valley Communities has been driven by a mission to deliver outstanding resident experiences, and this is strong validation that we are achieving that. As we embark on our next expansion, Mosaic, coming to Lancaster City, we will continue to meet or exceed national best-practice standards.”
Newsweek published news of its plans for the rankings in August 2023 when it posted links to two surveys on its website — one for residents and prospective residents and their friends and family members, and the other for CCRC workers and those whose jobs associated them with CCRCs. Data were collected through September, and an analysis of the findings accounted for 90% of each CCRC’s score. The other 10% of the score was determined by whether a community was accredited by CARF International, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Newsweek says the goal of the rankings is to “help (prospective residents) make informed decisions” and expects their rankings to become an annual undertaking.
Willow Valley Communities owes much to the legacy of John and Florence Thomas and their son, Marlin. In 1965, the Thomas family opened a 30-unit motel and 100-seat family restaurant, the Willow Valley Inn; this was the start of the spirit of hospitality and the nature of exceptional service, which expanded into a senior living community. Willow Valley Communities opened in the spring of 1984.
In 1991, John Swanson joined the organization and later served as President/CEO of Willow Valley Living, the management company of Willow Valley Communities. Together, Thomas and Swanson are credited with launching a new U.S. standard for senior living based on the philosophy of “building for people; not building for ‘seniors’.” Mr. Swanson oversaw many innovative advances at Willow Valley Communities, including being one of the first senior living communities to construct single-family multi-story homes, an 80,000 sq. ft. Cultural Center, a 30,000 sq. ft. intergenerational clubhouse, and a wide variety of culinary venues atypical of senior living communities. Now as CEO of Willow Valley Development Corp., he oversees active real estate development projects on Willow Valley Communities’ main campuses, such as a state-of-the-art Memory Care Center, plus two major real estate projects in Lancaster City: Southern Market and Mosaic, Willow Valley Communities’ expansion to a 146 apartment, luxury high-rise residential community.
Today, Willow Valley Communities is home to more than 2,600 residents from 40 states across the nation offering extraordinary 55+ residential experiences, award-winning amenities, and the financial peace of mind of a Type A Lifecare contract.