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Live in community with fellow believers
Finding a retirement community where your faith is respected or valued can add a deeper layer of joy to your choice in senior living. Below, find a full list of retirement communities that are explicitly faith based. Faith-based is a generalized category, of course, and we offer more dedicated lists on our site:
List of faith-based retirement homes
Why a faith-based retirement home?
Here’s a look at advantages and what to expect in a faith-based retirement community:
- Weekly and daily religious observance is encouraged. If it’s your custom to pray before meals or to eat kosher daily, you may find such practices poorly understand in secular retirement homes. Unfortunately, in some environments, these practices might even be discouraged or disrespected. In any case, faith-based retirement homes encourage daily observance, and you are sure to find a group of friends who observe in much the same way as you do.
- Celebration of religious events. Celebration of specific holidays in a faith-based community will follow from the religions observed there. This is suitably comforting, of course, for those who celebrate Hannukah or Christmas. It’s nice to openly celebrate these times with friends your age in the community you have chosen. Celebration of many religious holidays can get “watered down” by some secular retirement homes. Those who feel that festivals have a specific meaning will find their beliefs honoured in a faith-based community. For Christians, for example, it can be deeply important that Jesus’ birth is observed at Christmastime or that the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated at Easter Time. In a faith-based retirement home, activities may be scheduled around church or synagogue time, so you won’t miss out. It’s nice to feel that respect for faith observances. In a secular community, for example, you may find things scheduled for Sunday morning without respect for the fact that this is a special time for you.
- Inclusion of or proximity to worship places. Many faith-based retirement homes may have a multi-purpose chapel where a variety of faith services can be held. Some communities are built close to affiliated churches or synagogues.
- Care staff may also share in your faith. In a faith-based community, there is the possibility of deeper compassion apparent in care, for sharing faith with fellow residents and with caregivers, including doctors and nurses on staff, all likely to share in the same faith as you, here.
- Opportunities to make new friends from your faith background.
- Prices and fees may be lower, especially if the community is non-profit.
One senior in a faith-based community
Ruth makes her home at one Christian retirement community in Toronto. She puts it simply: “My faith is very important to me, especially after I have had some health crises. And it’s very important to me that I am in a place where faith is important. We have a chapel here, a Bible study group, and it’s important that I can share my faith with others and have others share their faith – as well as their struggles.”
Cautions against focusing too much on faith
- Get the care you need. Many non-religious retirement homes offer exceptional care, of course. It should be every family’s top priority to get the proper care your loved one needs.
- Balance and understand your priorities. There are other typical priorities in the retirement home search such as proximity to family, cost, and level of care available. For example, some senior couples may want to move together under the same roof, in a continuing care community. The full continuum of care required by these couples may not be available in all faith based retirement communities. How do you measure these priorities against each other?
- Know what you’re getting into. Simply because a home is faith-based does not guarantee that it will be free of problems. Faith-based homes are not immune to personal conflict, maintenance problems and worse. This is a sad fact, but those narrowly focused on finding a community in their faith should bear this in mind.
Questions to ask faith-based communities
How well-qualified is care staff? Acquiring the proper care is the most important consideration in looking at a retirement home.
Are people encouraged or expected to participate in religious observances? Some people may be rightly cautious about communities where religious observation is assertively pushed by staff or others.
What are the true values that are apparent in the community?
Is there acceptance for people of other religious backgrounds, including those who are non-churched?
Are multiple faiths respected by the community (some communities above list both Jewish and Christian as an affiliation)?