Senior Center

Faith-Based Community Living

By Jan Bolder - February 12, 2014

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As seniors age, it’s important to keep them close to their foundational ideals. And for many, this can include religion. Finding a faith-based center in which seniors can live keeps them empowered as they maintain a spiritual connection.

For seniors who retire and are looking to move into a retirement community, it’s important to find a place that accommodates their beliefs and ideals as much as possible. Seniors with deep religious attachments may wish to find a retirement community that caters specifically to the religion they’ve been raised on, and there are plenty of options in the United States.


Seniors can ask at their local church if there are retirement centers associated with the community, as churches frequently have ties to retirement homes. This enables the senior to stay as connected as possible to the church they belong to, still maintaining a lifestyle their used to as well as their spiritual ties.


Along with following the same technique as Catholics, Jewish seniors can ask their rabbi at the temple or synagogue at which they worship. And with Jews comprising about 1.7% of the American population, seniors have a variety of options, too. One of the benefits of finding a Jewish-specific retirement community is seniors will be able to observe holy days, eat kosher, and share experiences, with one of them being the Holocaust. Jewish retirement communities frequently employ staff skilled at sensitively broaching the subject so seniors are able to talk, but without feeling pushed to do so.


There aren’t many Muslims in the United States (approx. 0.5-0.6%), which means that retirement community options are few and far between. But one thing that has kept it small is the matter of how Muslim families care for each other. While it’s becoming more and more typical for Western/Catholic families to help seniors find a nursing home or other retirement community option, Muslim families tend to live together in multigenerational units. It’s far from uncommon to find one house occupied with three generations, with some even containing four. Muslims look after each other into old age, which can make it difficult for family-less Muslims to find faith-based retirement communities.

General Faith

Some seniors may choose to not go with a retirement center that specifically caters to any one religion, and instead choose one that welcomes all faiths equally. In this regard, seniors may have the opportunity to mingle with other seniors who are broad-minded and interested in learning about each other’s faiths. They can also find staff employed who are well-versed in handling the tenets of various religions, such as dietary restrictions, various holy days and prayer times, and attire. While a senior may sacrifice having an atmosphere that entirely caters to their religion, it may be easier to find a center closer to their home that still respects their beliefs.