One Is Not Like the Other: Retirement Communities versus Assisted Living

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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. 



You’re a vibrant, healthy, and active adult, so why on earth would you consider a retirement community? There are a number of reasons. To start, much like you, they don’t buy into the label that retirement means slowing down; quite the opposite. In fact, you may be surprised at all the lifestyle offers to help you get more out of life. Not to mention how different it is from assisted living. Yes, there’s more than one type of retirement living! Let’s compare retirement communities versus assisted living.

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The Realities of Retirement Communities

Retirement communities today feature a lifestyle for those who are ready to say goodbye to their honey-do list- and instead, spend their time enjoying favorite interests, hobbies and passions while also exploring new opportunities.

What They Offer

  • A maintenance-free lifestyle with convenient amenities – Services such as housekeeping, maintenance, meals, and transportation are included in your monthly rent freeing up your time to enjoy amenities like dining venues that include: a bistro, pub and restaurant, concierge services, pool, library, dog park, and walking trails on beautiful grounds.
  • You can live in style – From suites or villas to the floorplan of your choice; it’s all about what fits you best. Our communities feature upscale finishes, premium flooring, high ceilings, ample storage, and large windows to let in plenty of light, plus a location in the center of it all near services, shopping, recreation, and entertainment.
  • A focus on wellbeing – You’ll stay energized and active with health and wellbeing services, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga, and tai chi classes, and even onsite spa and salon experiences. Not to mention our communities also feature a delicious, yet well-balanced diet with chef-created meals that use fresh, locally-grown ingredients.
  • Connection and fulfillment – You’ll enjoy an ever-changing monthly calendar filled with social activities, outings, classes, and clubs as well as opportunities to serve, teach or share your experiences with others. Plus, we offer formal services, meditation, and time in nature to keep you connected to your spiritual side as well.

What They Offer

Retirement communities typically don’t offer onsite medical care. If you need daily assistance with things like medication, bathing, dressing, or eating, have cognitive challenges, and/or chronic health conditions that require ongoing care, this may not be the best fit. However, you still have the option to use third-party home health services for your needs in these communities.

Understanding Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living in an entirely different type of retirement living. While it features many of the same amenities and lifestyle benefits as you’ll find in retirement communities, these communities also have onsite care and assistance with daily tasks.

What They Offer

  • Supportive care – You’ll have personalized help with daily activities including bathing, dressing, personal care, and medication assistance, in addition to onsite medical care should you need it for added peace of mind.
  • A warm, homelike environment – Our communities feature a range of floor plans for you to choose for your apartment. The entire setting is not only warm and comfortable but designed to be easy-to-navigate for those with limited mobility, making it perhaps even more safe and secure than home.  
  • A range of services and amenities – Much like retirement communities, assisted living also provides housekeeping, maintenance, meals, transportation, and health and wellbeing services as well as amenities such as state-of-the-art fitness, onsite spa and salon, and multiple dining venues.
  • An active, social lifestyle – Enjoy daily opportunities to connect and engage with a full calendar of events, classes, activities, and outings.

What to Think About

Although you’ll have support with daily activities and onsite medical care, assisted living communities typically don’t provide round-the-clock care such as IV therapy, injections, catheter care, wound treatment, and/or specialized care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. However, keep in mind that many communities do offer multiple levels of care on the same campus.

Check out our Active Adult Decision Guide to learn more. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!


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