Getting the Family Engaged in Choosing a Senior Living Community

Engaging the family

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. 



When it’s time to consider senior living for a loved one, often it’s the primary caregiver and/or the person closest to the situation who drives the decisions. While it’s certainly true this person may have the inside track, so to speak, there are a number of benefits in getting the whole family engaged in choosing a senior living community. But we know that may be easier said than done in some cases. These tips can help.

Benefits of Getting the Family Engaged

Family dynamics can be complicated, especially during times of crisis and/or when major decisions need to be made, like moving a loved one to senior living. As such, it’s common for families to disagree during the decision-making process. Although it may seem easier to just go around all that and move forward alone, these benefits make it worth it to get the family engaged:

  • It’s a lot of weight to carry alone – Not only will you have more pressure and stress on your shoulders, but you’ll also have to shoulder the potential resentment for any decision that other family members don’t agree with; this definitely includes your loved one as they should be as involved in the process as possible since they’ll be the one affected most!
  • It’s easier to remain objective – Regardless of how right you may be in that it’s time to consider senior living for a loved one, objectivity is essential in big life decisions. The outcome may be the same, but you want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases, and sometimes being too close to the situation can cloud decision making.
  • Everyone deserves to be heard – You are family after all, and everyone’s opinion should be respected. Even if you disagree, it’s valuable to hear other perspectives and perhaps even ideas you haven’t considered. Again, your loved one deserves to be heard, perhaps most of all.
  • Collaboration begins with being included – Family members in particular are much more likely to be defensive and resistant to decisions that are dictated to them without their input. In simply hearing them out and encouraging questions as well as concerns to be voiced, you pave the way for collaboration. Plus, people are always more invested in decisions in which they’ve been apart.

Tips on Coming Together in Choosing a Senior Living Community

So, what are the dos and don’ts in engaging your family in choosing a senior living community? Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Carefully determine the when and the where – First you’ll need to schedule a family meeting, but in doing, so make sure to select a time when you all can be as free of distraction as possible and a neutral place where you’re all comfortable in addition to having the privacy needed. Also, make sure distance doesn’t keep family members from attending by providing Zoom, Skype, or even FaceTime as options for joining in.
  • Prepare what you want to say – If you’re leading the discussion, plan what you want to say ahead of time; this certainly isn’t a situation where you want to just wing it. By writing down talking points about why you feel the time is right for senior living, you’ll make sure you cover everything you want and will be able to stay focused even if the discussion gets heated.
  • Consider how you’ll communicate – Again, even though you feel that senior living is the best course of action, you won’t get far if you’re planning to dictate your plan to everyone in this meeting. Rather, the idea is to create an open, honest, and ongoing discussion about your loved one’s future. Keeping the tone casual and positive, as well as asking questions about what your loved one may want and need for the future is best.
  • Understand what you’re asking of your loved one and the family – Your loved one is likely struggling with the loss of independence, declining health, and the idea of having to leave their home. At the same time, you and the rest of the family are likely emotional about the situation, too. You may have had a bit more time to process the idea of senior living than everyone else, so make sure to show empathy and patience as they adjust.
  • Dispel the myths about senior living – Many people have misperceptions about what senior living is really like, and often that feeds the hesitation to move; this is an ideal opportunity to have your family share their questions and concerns about senior living so you can dispel those myths and educate them on the many benefits for your loved one like maintenance-free living, an active, social, and enriching lifestyle, resort-like amenities, and peace of mind that support is always at hand.
  • Have a backup plan – Ideally, your good faith effort will be rewarded with your loved one and family at the very least being open to looking at senior living communities. But if not, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a neutral third party as a backup plan. Remember, the importance of objectivity that we mentioned above? Bringing in friends or neighbors who’ve had a similar experience or consulting with your loved one’s physician, a case manager, social worker, family therapist, or spiritual leader may help by providing an outside perspective.

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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