The stigma of nursing homes (and senior living facilities, more generally) is gradually ebbing away. People are no longer satisfied with moving into a community that provides only the basic level of care.

Today, in order for senior housing communities to remain competitive in a growing market, they must develop new, creative offerings to attract seniors who are determined to remain active and socially engaged as they age.

Senior housing providers are now competing to offer the best possible aging experience to community residents. They are designing unique communities meant to foster a sense of belonging and companionship. This means filling their activities schedules with engaging programs that appeal to a range of interests.

Let’s explore the fun side of senior living, including cultural and lifestyle affinity communities, and lifelong learning programs for senior wellness.

Cultural Affinity Senior Living Communities

Culture based affinity retirement is a senior living style that caters to specific lifestyle preferences of residents. For Chinese affinity living communities, this could mean hiring caregivers who are fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese. It could involve incorporating Chinese holiday celebrations into the community activities schedule. Indian affinity living communities often feature authentic Indian cuisine, morning yoga sessions and evening gatherings for residents to drink chai and converse with one another.

Japanese affinity living communities often provide care by Japanese-speaking caregivers based on Nikkei traditions, with an emphasis on Japanese and Asian cuisine. Many seniors are hoping to make the most of their retirement years in a welcoming community of peers. For them, cultural affinity housing is a wonderful way to foster a community of love and support.

Lifestyle Affinity Senior Living Communities

Everyone deserves to find a home where they will be respected and appreciated as they age, surrounded by a supportive community of peers. LGBT seniors, war veterans and religious individuals can all find a community to support their lifestyle preferences with lifestyle affinity senior living communities.

Faith based affinity living, for example, is a niche housing model that allows seniors to retire in comfort without having to leave their culture behind. By providing a harmonious balance of healthcare needs and religion, seniors will find that the transition from independent to assisted living is a smooth and fulfilling one.

Events at faith based affinity living communities may include daily mass for Catholics, kosher dining for Jewish residents or Shambhala teachings for Buddhists. These unique housing options offer welcoming, inclusive and vibrant spaces for aging well and connecting with others who share similar interests.

Lifelong Learning Programs at Senior Living Facilities

Lifelong learning practices have been proven time and time again to improve our mental and physical health as we age. In response, senior living communities are refocusing to highlight their full continuum of care, which goes beyond basic needs such as medical care to offer an improved living experience to community residents. It’s not uncommon for these communities to offer art and music classes, guest lecture series, resident-run newspapers and book clubs, and transportation to local museums.

Additionally, many colleges and universities are now offering free or reduced price entry to classes and campus events for retired seniors hoping to engage in lifelong learning practices. In response, “University-based retirement communities” or UBRC’s are popping up all over the country, located close to prestigious institutions where seniors can continue to engage their lifelong love of learning.

Residents can expect to find helpful services at these communities such as on-site health care, aging-in-place options, fitness programs, and planned group activities for campus productions, art gallery viewings and special programming. UBRC’s offer retirees a safe and secure setting where they can engage with others looking to expand their education, cultural exposure and social interaction during the golden years.

There are over 100 UBRC’s in the country right now, with many more on the way. Discover some of the top communities and what they offer residents.

What type of affinity living style are you most interested in? Would you consider an independent living model that also provides access to senior living amenities such as socialization opportunities, medical care and transportation? Share your thoughts below!

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