Navigating the Maze of Senior Living Options for a Loved One

Navigating the Maze of Senior Living Options for a Loved One

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. 



January is a month when senior care organizations typically receive record numbers of phone calls and questions from worried adult children. In many cases, it’s because they spent time visiting an elder during the holidays and they realize their senior loved one needs a little extra help.

But the sheer number of senior living options can be overwhelming for older adults and their children.

We thought it might help if we shared an overview of the different types of senior care that are available. Then we’ll explain how you can download our more comprehensive guide to choosing a senior living option for yourself or a loved one.

Navigating Senior Care Options

Senior housing and care options vary greatly. This variety allows older adults to find the level of care that best meets their unique needs. Some more active types of senior living, such as an independent living community, offer less focus on medical needs and more focus on socialization and life enrichment.

For residents who require assistance with more complex health conditions and greater medical needs, memory care, rehab care, and long-term care may be the best options. By contrast, those who just need a little in-home assistance might find home care to be a helpful short-term solution.

Let’s talk a little more about each one.

  • Independent Living: This senior living option is designed for active older adults. The focus is on promoting a maintenance-free lifestyle that gives seniors freedom to reconnect with old passions and explore new ones. Residents of these communities typically have a wide range of life enrichment activities to enjoy each day. Most independent living communities also offer wellness programs, such as yoga, light weight training, walking, and meditation. Some provide a la carte services like meals, laundry, concierge, and housekeeping to make life more convenient for residents.
  • Assisted Living: These care communities offer residents the independence they desire with the supportive services they need nearby. Most seniors who choose an assisted living community require assistance with one or two activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. Meals are typically served restaurant-style in a dining room. Housekeeping and laundry are usually provided.
  • Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center: These short-term care centers focus on providing older adults with therapy and skilled nursing services. Patients typically transfer to a rehab center after a hospital stay for an injury, illness, or surgery. The goal is to help the senior rehabilitate and safely return to whatever setting they call home.
  • Long-Term Care: A long-term care center, also referred to as a nursing home, is for older adults or those living with disabilities that require 24-hour nursing care. In addition to delivering skilled health care services, nursing homes also provide residents with meals, life enrichment activities, housekeeping, laundry, and assistance with the activities of daily living.
  • Memory Care: Specialty Alzheimer’s care is often called memory care. Many assisted living communities and nursing homes offer this type of care in a dedicated area of their community. Staff receives special training to allow them to understand how to support the unique needs of an adult living with memory loss. Life enrichment programs are designed to work around any physical and cognitive impairment the disease creates and to find ways to support success.
  • In-Home Care: Non-medical home care services, known as in-home care or private duty home care, help seniors to maintain their independence at home a little longer. Home care staff can come to the older adult’s home to provide assistance with meals, housekeeping, and laundry. They can also offer support with personal care needs such as grooming, bathing, and dressing.

Learn More About Senior Living Options

Ready to learn more?

Vitality has a helpful resource you can download at no cost. The Complete Guide to Choosing Between Senior Living Options takes a more in-depth look at each senior living option, as well as shares strategies for financing, tips for talking with seniors about moving, and much more!

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