What to Consider When Choosing a Senior Living Community

Man & woman sharing treats with two young children

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



Regardless of how confident you feel that the time is right for senior living, choosing the community itself is a daunting task for most people. For one thing, it certainly makes the idea of moving feel more real. Second, there’s just so much to consider. What level of care would be best? What location? What amenities would you prefer? What’s your budget? 

We can help. Here’s what to consider in each of these areas when choosing a senior living community for yourself or your loved one.

Choosing the right senior living community

Your Senior Living Care Options

Identifying the right care options for you is a great place to start. A recent Vitality Living blog overviews the different kinds of senior living available, along with a series of questions to ask to help you determine the best fit for you or your loved one. 

As you learn about your options, make sure to consider your future needs, as well as your current ones. For example, you may not need daily assistance right now, so an independent living community may seem ideal. However, your needs could change over time, so you may want to consider an independent living community that also has other care options such as assisted living and memory care on the same campus, so you don’t need to relocate to a different senior living community.

Choosing a Senior Living Community Location

Aside from the level of care, location is one of the biggest considerations in choosing a senior living community. Do you or your loved one want to stay near your current neighborhood? Is there another part of the city in which you prefer? Or, are you planning to relocate to a senior living community that’s closer to family? 

Many seniors want to stay near where they currently live so they’ll be in familiar surroundings and close to friends. However, you may want to consider the possibility of your friends moving should their health needs change. On the other hand, if you plan to move near family, consider the likelihood, or not, that they may have to relocate from there for a job down the road, for example. There are no right or wrong answers here, but you’ll want to choose a location where you or your loved one will feel comfortable now and in the future. 

What’s more, consider what’s near the senior living community in terms of access to medical care, shopping, dining, and recreation. Lastly, keep in mind that the cost of a senior living community may vary, in part, due to its location. For example, a community in the heart of downtown may be more expensive than a location in the suburbs.

The Senior Living Lifestyle

This really has two components. First, each senior living community will have its own unique style and personality. Some will be more formal, some more casual and relaxed, so think about your personality or that of your loved one and consider the setting in which you’d feel most at home. In researching communities, you may get a sense of their personality from their website or in speaking with team members on the phone; however, taking a tour is usually the best way to get a sense of this.

The second component of the lifestyle you’ll experience in a senior living community is the services and amenities that are offered. We find it’s easier to consider your wants and needs first, then assess communities based on priorities such as:

  • Can’t Live Without – This might be a pet-friendly community, one that has 2-bedroom accommodations, fitness classes, or weekly housekeeping, for example.
  • Your Preferences – You might prefer a community with multiple dining venues, an onsite beauty salon, and a pool. Or maybe you desire a residence with a balcony or patio and a full-size kitchen versus a kitchenette.
  • Nice-to-Have Features – Things like concierge services, a spa, private transportation, weekly happy hours, or live entertainment may put one community over another for you.

Your Budget for Senior Living

You definitely want to have a clear understanding of the budget before you start researching specific communities. What’s more, make sure to check into funding solutions such as the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit, long-term care insurance, and/or life insurance conversions that can help you offset the cost so your budget can go further.

As you consider senior living communities based on your budget, it’s key to compare apples to apples, so to speak. So, you’ll want to ask each community these questions:

  • What’s included in the base rent?
    (Typically, it includes utilities, meals, life enrichment, and housekeeping at a minimum.)
  • What additional costs can we expect?
    (This might include private transportation, beauty/barbershop fees, and/or additional fees for pets.)
  • What are the up-front fees, if any?
    (Some communities charge what’s known as an entry fee while others may require a security deposit, first/last month’s rent, or a pet deposit.)
  • How often can we expect rent increases?
    (You’ll also want to know how much the increases typically are and when families are notified about them.)

Check out our guide on Choosing the Right Senior Living Community for more information. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!


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