If you choose a faith-based senior living community, you’ll be part of a family with similar values and traditions. They often operate as nonprofit associations with a board of directors that make operating decisions.
Depending on the community, some may have on-site church services or offer transportation to nearby churches for residents to attend outside worship activities. They also promote spiritual growth for residents and provide opportunities to deepen their prayer life.
Religious and spiritual beliefs are fundamental to many seniors. When seniors move into a retirement community that aligns with their religion, it can help them maintain their spiritual practices. This is especially helpful during transitions, such as moving into a new home, health complications, or losing a loved one.
These communities are typically run as nonprofits, meaning they do not have to focus on pleasing shareholders. Therefore, they can put more resources into caring for their residents and supporting the faiths of each individual. This makes it easier for them to offer on-site religious services, transportation to local churches or synagogues, resident-run prayer and Bible study groups, and more.
Even if you are not a religious person, spirituality can be beneficial for seniors as well. Spiritual activities can include quiet places to meditate, ways to interact with nature, volunteer and serve opportunities, classes to feed creativity, and avenues for fostering social connections.
Joining a community of faith provides seniors with a ready-made social network, which can help them maintain good mental and emotional health. More social seniors tend to have lower blood pressure, better immune health, and fewer depressive symptoms. Plus, staying active through social activities has been shown to boost brain health and prevent dementia.
In addition to religious offerings, faith-based retirement communities often have quiet places for meditation and ways for residents to get outside in nature. They also offer classes and programs for creative outlets, volunteer opportunities to serve others in the community, and many ways to foster new friendships with people who share their values.
Many faith-based senior living communities like Westminster Manor are open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. They can do this based on the Fair Housing Act, which states that senior living communities cannot discriminate based on religion. However, they may not engage in “inherently religious activities” like worship services or religious instruction.
Many seniors who move into a senior living community do so because they need help with a particular aspect of their life, such as managing medication or dealing with memory problems. A spiritual community can provide comfort and support for these residents as they work to cope with these challenges.
Participating in religious or spiritual activities can also help to maintain healthy mental and physical health. Seniors who regularly participate in Bible studies have higher self-esteem, are more physically resilient, and feel that others are hearing them.
Faith-based communities typically welcome all faiths and encourage residents to celebrate each other’s traditions, creating a rich tapestry of worship. When considering your options for independent living, ask a trusted medical professional about local faith-based senior communities. Many doctors are familiar with the different types of care available and can refer you to a safe, compassionate place to call home. You can also learn more by attending a health fair or senior event near you, where senior living communities often set up booths to showcase their services and amenities.
Faith-based senior living communities often have their churches on site, making it easy for residents to attend services without worrying about transportation or navigating unfamiliar surroundings. Additionally, these communities are usually run by nonprofit organizations with boards of religious leaders who make all operating decisions.
Many in the medical profession have reported that religion and spirituality improve overall health and help seniors feel a sense of meaning and fulfillment. Those feelings can be even more pronounced in a faith-based community where employees and older adults work together to support one another.
When it comes to aging in place, the most critical aspect is feeling connected with others, both friends and family. Faith-based independent living communities offer a range of engagement tools to encourage socialization and meet the specific needs of each resident. In addition, many of these communities offer activities that can be done in groups or alongside family members to foster a stronger connection with loved ones.