How to Research Senior Living Options for a Family Elder

How to Research Senior Living Options for a Family Elder

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. 



Researching senior living communities for a family member can be overwhelming. If you haven’t been through the process before, everything from the terminology to the pricing structure may be tough to decipher. When you are trying to make a good decision on a loved one’s behalf, it can leave you feeling stressed and uncertain.

Fortunately, there are concrete actions you can take to be more confident about your decision.

Researching and Choosing a Senior Living Community

  • Ask for recommendations from people you trust.

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a senior living community for an older loved one. When you start asking those around you—friends, colleagues, clergy, and physicians—you’ll probably come up with a few communities to explore. Just as important as learning which properties people have had success with, is learning which ones to avoid.

  • Read senior living community reviews online.

Another way to gain insight about a senior living community is by reading what residents and their families have to say. Sites like and host reviews about independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities all across the country.

  • Review each community’s state survey results.

While the regulations vary by state, every senior living community undergoes annual state surveys. Surveyors also make unannounced visits to investigate claims lodged by residents, families, or other interested parties.

In many states, these results are published online by the department of aging or the department of health and human services. If your state doesn’t post this information, you should ask each community you are considering for a copy to review. By law, communities must share these results.

  • Always make several in-person visits.

While reviews and survey results are important, nothing replaces visiting senior living communities in person. Visit and tour first to get an overview, and assess whether or not the community would be a good fit for your older loved one. Come prepared with a list of questions as well as paper and pencil to take good notes.

Once you narrow your choices down to a few communities, come back and spend time during a weekend and/or evening. This will help give you a true picture of how well the community is managed during non-business hours.

  • Take advantage of short-term respite programs.

Many people see respite care as a program for family caregivers to take a break. While it definitely does that, it also provides older adults and their families with a chance to try out the community for a permanent move. When you feel like you’ve narrowed your choice down to one or two strong prospects, schedule a respite stay for your loved one.

Another tip is to be sure the older adult’s respite lasts longer than a few days. Staying longer will provide you with a more objective look at the community.

Our final suggestion is to download our free guide, Home Care vs Senior Living. It offers advice to help make a decision that is the best fit for the older adult.

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