The Truth about COVID-19 in Senior Living Compared to Home

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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. 



At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, news on the struggles of nursing homes to contain the spread was hard to miss. But there are two facts that you may not realize. One, that senior living communities are actually nothing like nursing homes.  And two, according to research conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, a majority of senior living communities in the United States had no cases of COVID-19 in 2020 at all. In fact, that research found that residents in some senior living settings were not at any higher risk of death from COVID-19 than those living in private homes. Here’s why.

Choosing the right senior living community


How Senior Living Differs from Nursing Homes

While there are several  ways in which senior living communities differ from nursing homes; three of the most distinct include:

  • Care Nursing homes are for those with medical conditions requiring round-the-clock or specialized care like wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections, and/or catheters, as well as monitoring of vital signs and medical equipment. On the other hand, senior living communities offer different types of care. For example, assisted living regulations require that residents are medically stable, memory care is specifically for those with dementia, and in independent living, no onsite medical care is available.
  • Accommodations – Because of the type of care provided, nursing homes are primarily a medical setting. So, the environment feels more like a hospital with residents typically living in smaller rooms, often with a roommate, which makes social distancing extremely difficult. In senior living, communities feature a range of accommodations which may include private apartments or even free-standing cottages which offer ample room to limit exposure. 
  • Lifestyle – Unlike nursing homes, senior living communities also focus on lifestyle and wellness with a range of conveniences, amenities, and enrichment opportunities available. Even during COVID-19, families can have peace of mind that their loved ones aren’t alone as communities make use of beautiful outdoor spaces, abundant technology options, and the creativity of team members to keep their residents engaged and connected.

Senior Living Compared to Home During COVID-19

Of course, we know it’s one thing to compare the risk of exposure in group settings like senior living communities versus nursing homes. But you likely can’t imagine there would even be a comparison between senior living and home – surely the latter would always be the safest place from COVID-19, right? Not necessarily. 

Based on the NORC research we highlighted earlier, not only did 64 percent of U.S. senior living communities collectively have no COVID-19 cases in 2020, of those that did have cases: 67 percent of independent living, 64 percent of assisted living, and 61 percent of memory care communities saw no COVID-19 deaths.

What’s more, the average mortality rate for residents of independent living communities was statistically the same as the mortality rate of the 75-and-over population in corresponding counties in the research, meaning these residents were at no higher risk of death from COVID-19 than those living in private homes.

We think this news is a testament to the rigorous protocols senior living communities like ours have put in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic such as: 

  • Strictly following the most up-to-date local, state, and federal guidelines for cleaning, PPE, and social distancing.
  • Making sure residents have everything they need under one roof so they don’t have to come in contact with risky, public touchpoints.
  • Limiting access to visitors and performing safety checks for everyone who does enter the community.
  • Having associates in place who are experienced with outbreaks and also providing ongoing training as new information becomes available on COVID-19.

Not to mention the fact that senior living residents were among the first to be vaccinated and that we made the vaccine rollout as easy and convenient as possible. At Vitality Living communities, vaccinations were offered in three separate rounds, and nearly all residents received the vaccine. It all speaks to the notion that versus home, senior living communities may actually have a better ability to limit exposure to COVID-19.

Visit Vitality Senior Living to learn more, and be sure to download the informative Vitality Living guide Choosing The Right Senior Living Community.


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