What Makes Senior Living Communities Different from Nursing Homes

what makes senior living different from nursing homes

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. 



Senior living communities and nursing homes are the same things right? Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth though it surprises many people. Here’s how they differ from the type of care to the setting to the lifestyle.

What You Should Know About Nursing Homes

A nursing home is a specific setting for what’s considered the highest level of care outside of a hospital. 

Features of nursing homes include:

  • Care – Nursing homes provide round-the-clock and/or specialized care like treating wounds, intravenous (IV) therapy, injections and catheter care as well as medical management of chronic conditions (often multiple conditions). 
  • Accommodations – Nursing homes are primarily a medical setting and as such, feel more like hospitals. Accommodations are typically small rooms that are often shared, and privacy is limited.
  • Lifestyle – While there are some activity programs and recreation options due to the higher level of care offered, there’s more of a clinical focus in nursing homes.

How Senior Living Communities Differ

Senior living, on the other hand, offers a range of care options. Some senior living communities offer one type of care, while other communities offer multiple levels of care on one campus. The care options in senior living include:

Independent Living

This option is focused on lifestyle, and it is ideal for seniors who can live independently. In our senior living communities that feature independent living, residents enjoy a more active, social, and engaging way of life free of the hassles of chores and home upkeep. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Accommodations such as an apartment, townhome, or cottage
  • Dining venues that include a bistro, pub, and restaurant
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and spa
  • Dog park and walking trails
  • Concierge services
  • Transportation
  • Variety of social opportunities, activities, and clubs
  • Community spaces like a library, pub, and movie theater

Assisted Living

This option features many of the same amenities as in independent living. However- in assisted living, onsite care and assistance with daily tasks like bathing, dressing, and medication management as needed. In our senior living communities with assisted living, you can expect just the right amount of personalized support to help residents remain as independent as possible. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Comfortable, spacious apartments in a range of floor plans
  • Care staff onsite 24/7
  • Restaurant-style dining
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Beauty/barbershop
  • Exercise programs
  • Transportation
  • Variety of social opportunities and activities

Memory Care

This option is for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia exclusively. Our memory care program features a neighborhood setting that offers 24-hour, specialized care and support based on each resident’s needs and abilities with a program that encourages independence, engagement, and success. 

Services and amenities typically include:

  • Comfortable private or companion apartments
  • Low staff-to-resident ratio
  • Assistance with personal care and medication management
  • Secure environment and emergency call systems
  • Exercise programs and time in nature
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Cognitive health programs and creative outlets
  • Social and enrichment activities

For more information on the different senior living community choices, download our Senior Living Options guide today! Or contact us today to schedule a tour.


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