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What Are Faith-Based Retirement Communities?

a church near a senior living community near chicago

For many of us, faith is an important part of our lives and our identities. It’s only natural, then, to want to live in a retirement community that’s equipped to meet our spiritual needs. If this is true for you, faith-based retirement communities can be the answer.

What Are Faith-Based Senior Living Communities?

There are many different types of retirement living communities. When you come across one that identifies itself as a “faith-based” community, that means it has some association with a certain religion.

That association can be current, meaning they are still affiliated with a religious organization. But it might also mean that they were founded by a religious organization and while still honoring those founding principles, they now operate as an independent entity.

More often than not, faith-based retirement communities are also run as not-for-profits. As part of their mission, they offer religious and spiritual services for the personal enrichment of residents. The services are, of course, strictly voluntary.


Related: Why Continuum of Care Is Important When Choosing a Retirement Community


What Are the Benefits of Faith-Based Communities?

If you are a religious or spiritual person, the primary benefit of living in a senior living community with religious roots is that you can easily maintain your current religious practices, particularly if you choose a community that identifies with your religion.

It’s easy to maintain your faith life with offerings such as:

  • On-site services
  • Pastoral care
  • Spiritual activities
  • Religious studies

Of course, you’re also free to continue attending a community church if you prefer. For example, at the Presbyterian Homes faith-based retirement communities in the Chicago area, many choose to attend church within the surrounding communities in addition to enjoying the on-site spiritual services.

Another benefit of faith-based communities is that they are typically not-for-profit as well. Because they are not beholden to shareholders, not-for-profit communities focus on residents and their mission of providing active lifestyles and compassionate care, not on making a profit.

According to recent data, not-for-profit Life Plan Communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities), “are currently faring better than their for-profit counterparts” when it comes to occupancy rates, a strong indicator of financial stability. For some not-for-profits, like Presbyterian Homes in the Chicagoland area, residents have the additional security of knowing that if they ever outlive their assets, the organization’s Geneva Foundation is available to offer financial support.


Related: What Is a Life Plan Community?


Are These Faith-Based Communities Limited to Certain Religious Beliefs?

If you are not a member of the religion that the community is associated with, this in no way prevents you from joining the community. By the nature of their beliefs, faith-based retirement communities are open and welcoming. Residents of all faiths are free to move in if they wish to live there.

It’s also not necessary to be a spiritual or religious person in order to move in. Life Plan Communities offer a wealth of services and amenities, and spiritual wellness services are simply a piece of the puzzle. You are welcome to partake in them if you wish, but if you would prefer not to, there are plenty of other enriching programs for you to enjoy.

There is one thing to keep in mind for people who do practice a certain faith—if it’s important to you to be able to have certain religious services on-site, you may want to consider a community with links to your faith or one that offers what you want.

For example, there are Catholic communities that offer daily mass and Jewish communities that serve only Kosher meals. If these services are important to you, it’s worthwhile to seek out communities that offer them.

Faith-Based Retirement Communities in Chicago, Illinois 

Presbyterian Homes is an independent, not-for-profit, and faith-based family of communities in the Chicago area. We accept people of all faiths and beliefs as we embody our Christian heritage by serving one another with compassion, dignity, and respect.

Our CHOICES program is an eclectic, multi-faceted program that encompasses a wide range of lifestyle options and activities available to residents. As part of the CHOICES program, spiritual offerings include:

  • Clergy-led services, as well as nondenominational programs
  • Weekly religious services on campus
  • Experienced chaplain for spiritual counseling
  • Spiritually uplifting activities
  • Faith-based programs including Bible study

If a faith-based community sounds right for you, you are welcome to schedule a tour of one of our communities. You can also learn more about the cost and benefits of each community by downloading a free guide, accessible by clicking the button below.