As of 2019, the United States was home to approximately 167 million Christian adults. This includes members of Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Lutheran churches. No matter which form of Christianity you practice, the concept of community is one of the religion’s most important principles. Church members are supposed to care for one another and work together to help those in need, creating powerful bonds that can have positive effects on your mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that religion helps people form social connections, makes it easier to cope with difficult situations and gives people a sense of belonging. This is why some senior living communities are now offering care options specifically for Christian seniors.

These options include nursing homes, adult day care, assisted living, memory care and independent living communities. In many respects, Christian senior living communities offer the same level of care as communities that aren’t designed for people of a specific faith. The main difference is that Christian senior living communities have a slate of services designed for people who value their religious beliefs and want as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate their faith. These services include pastoral care, Christian educational programming and on-site worship opportunities.

Christian senior living is becoming more popular, but it can still be difficult to find a community that fits your faith and care needs. This guide describes the most common standard senior living options and compares them to Christian senior living, highlighting the unique services and amenities available in faith-based communities. It also includes a list of resources that can help you pay for Christian senior care or reduce your other expenses, so you’ll have enough funds to pay for care on your own.

What Is Christian Living, and How Does It Differ From Regular Senior Care?

Christian senior living is a term that encompasses several types of communities for older adults. Since it’s such a broad term, it doesn’t have one standard meaning that applies to every community. Some places accept members of all faiths, while others are specifically for residents who practice a particular faith. Before you start exploring Christian senior living communities in your area, take a few minutes to learn about what’s offered in standard senior living communities and how that differs from what’s available in a Christian senior living community.

What Is Offered in Standard Senior Living Communities

Depending on which type of community you select, you may have access to daily meals, housekeeping services, social events, transportation and assistance with grooming, bathing and other activities of daily living. If you have extensive health care needs, you may benefit from choosing a community that has physical therapists, physicians, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and other health care professionals available to address your health concerns.

The table below lists some of the most common types of senior care and explains the standard services and amenities available for each one. It also explains how to determine if each type of senior care is a good fit for your needs.

Type of Senior Living

Standard Services and Amenities

Who Is a Good Fit?

Independent Living

  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • On-site dining
  • Social events
  • Daily activities
  • Apartments or condos with full kitchens

Independent living is ideal for active seniors who don't need help with activities of daily living.

Assisted Living

  • Optional assistance with basic activities of daily living
  • Laundry services
  • Housekeeping services
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Recreational activities
  • Social events
  • Meals and snacks
  • Help with medication management

Assisted living is for seniors who need a little assistance with medication management and/or activities of daily living. Some assisted living communities offer multiple levels of care, making it easy to get additional services when needed.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

  • Multiple levels of care on a single campus
  • Dining services
  • Recreational activities
  • Social events
  • Skilled nursing care for residents who need it

CCRCs allow residents to move along a continuum of care, ranging from independent living to the skilled nursing home level of care. This eliminates the need to move to a different community every time their needs change. This type of senior living is well-suited to older adults who want to be able to access several types of care in one place.

Adult Day Care

  • Social activities
  • Recreational activities
  • Personal care
  • Medical care
  • Supervision
  • Health services
  • Transportation

Adult day care may be a good fit if you only need care during the day and plan to return home each evening. This type of care is ideal for seniors who live with family caregivers who can't be around 24/7. There are different types of models: medical and social. Medical models may offer medical services/support, while social models do not.

Memory Care

  • Locked exits, disguised doors and other security features
  • Social activities
  • Programs tailored to those with cognitive loss 
  • Art and music therapy
  • Assistance with activities of daily living

Memory care may be a good fit for your needs if you have some type of dementia and need ongoing support and structure. These communities typically have extra security features to prevent residents from getting lost or wandering.

Nursing Home Care

  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication management
  • Personal care
  • Medical care
  • Dietary services

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock nursing care to residents with a wide range of needs. This type of care may be a good fit for your needs if you have a chronic health condition that requires regular monitoring and affects your ability to live independently.

Services and Amenities Provided in Christian Senior Living Communities

Christian senior living communities typically offer several services and amenities to ensure residents have plenty of opportunities to practice their faith. This is what differentiates them from standard senior living communities. The services and amenities available will depend on which type of community you select and which form of Christianity you practice.

For example, a community operated by a Catholic organization may have a reading room with copies of apostolic letters issued by Pope Francis, while one designed for members of the Methodist faith may have a study group dedicated to learning more about the foundational documents of the Primitive Methodist or United Methodist denominations.

If you choose a Christian senior living community, you may have access to some of the following services and amenities:

  • Religious texts: Some communities have Bibles and copies of other religious texts available to help residents study the principles of their faith and learn how to apply them in everyday life.
  • Worship services: You may be able to find a senior living community that offers on-site worship services, such as mass for Catholic residents or harvest services for those who adhere to the Lutheran faith. Some communities even have on-site chapels, which helps residents feel even more connected to their religious beliefs and other members of their faith community.
  • Chaplaincy services: Some communities have full-time chaplains, while others have a chaplain who comes in a few days each week to address the spiritual needs of each resident. Chaplains may provide Christian counseling, conduct worship services, offer communion and plan programs to help residents learn more about their faith.
  • Holiday events: Easter and Christmas are two of the most important days of the year for people who practice some type of Christianity. Christian senior living communities typically have special events on and leading up to these holidays, giving residents the opportunity to celebrate the birth and resurrection of Christ. These events may include special meals, additional worship services and special events for residents and their family members.
  • Sunday School: Attending Sunday School has several benefits for older adults, including increased social interaction, a greater sense of belonging and the opportunity to learn more about Scripture and how to apply it in all aspects of daily life. Some Christian senior living communities offer Sunday School classes to help residents take advantage of these benefits. Attending Sunday School also allows residents to encourage each other and look out for each other’s interests, which can lead to improved quality of life.
  • Bible study: Bible study complements Sunday School and other religious services by giving group members the chance to ask questions in a less formal setting. Seniors who attend Bible study may also have access to multiple group leaders, allowing them to learn from people with different experiences and points of view. Some Christian senior living communities have Bible study groups to help residents learn more about the Word of God and benefit from the wisdom of other Christians.
  • Communion: Several Christian denominations incorporate communion into their worship services. Communion is especially important to members of the Catholic faith, as it’s one of the seven sacraments. Some Christian senior living communities offer communion regularly, giving residents the opportunity to feed their souls and strengthen their connection to Christ.
  • Music programs: Music plays an important role in the Christian faith. Singing and playing instruments allows participants to share Christ’s love with others. Music is also used to express a sense of wonder and help people focus more on God. To help residents enjoy the many benefits of performing and listening to worship music, some communities have choral groups, bell choirs and other faith-based musical activities.

What to Expect From Christian Senior Living

Standard Services and Amenities 

What you can expect from Christian senior living depends on which faith you practice and which type of community you select. As you can see from the table above, some communities offer more support than others. For example, assisted living communities and nursing homes offer ongoing supervision and help with activities of daily living. Independent living communities offer fewer services because their residents are active and are able to seek out these services independently.

No matter which type of community you choose, you’ll find many of the same services offered by standard senior living communities, including the following:

  • Comfortable living quarters
  • Access to social events
  • Planned recreational activities
  • Opportunities to form new friendships
  • Assistance from trained staff members (assisted living, memory care, nursing home)

Focus on Christian Activities  

Christian senior living communities go a step further by making sure residents have ample opportunities to practice their faith. If you’re Catholic, you may be able to attend mass without leaving your community, receive communion from a visiting priest/Eucharistic Minister or attend lectures on issues of interest to members of the Catholic faith. Residents who belong to Protestant denominations may have the opportunity to join Bible study groups or attend Sunday School classes to learn more about their religious principles. Some communities also offer the following:

  • Music programs
  • Christian counseling
  • Access to religious texts
  • On-site worship services
  • Special events on religious holidays

How Much Does Christian Senior Living Cost?

If you think Christian senior living is right for you, the good news is that communities with religious affiliations don’t usually cost more than standard senior living communities. Your monthly costs will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Location of the community (e.g. urban vs. rural)
  • Type of care provided
  • Apartment size (e.g. studio vs. one-bedroom)
  • Availability of private vs. semiprivate rooms
  • Amenities offered
  • Availability of specialty care (e.g. memory care)
  • Proximity to public transportation, restaurants and other local features

As an example, imagine you’re looking for an assisted living community in New York City. You don’t need 24/7 medical care, but you do need a little help with activities of daily living. You also want to live somewhere close to a shopping center and a movie theater. The cost of living in New York City is much higher than the national average, so you’d expect to pay more for assisted living there than you would in Topeka, Kansas, or Albuquerque, New Mexico. You’d also pay a little more for the convenience of living near some of the world’s best restaurants and having access to Broadway shows, excellent medical facilities and a robust public transportation system.The table below shows the median monthly cost of five types of senior living. With the exception of the data for independent living, all cost information comes from Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, which reports average care costs at the city, state and national levels. Prices vary throughout each state, so you may pay significantly more or significantly less depending on where you live. For example, Philadelphia has median monthly costs of $5,685 for assisted living, but Scranton — a small city 125 miles away — has median monthly costs of just $2,875.

Type of Care

National Median

Adult Day Care

$1,690

Independent Living

$2,925

Assisted Living

$4,500

In-Home Care

$5,148

Memory Care

$5,625

Nursing Home Care

$7,908

Tips for Finding a Christian Senior Living Community

Tips for Finding a Christian Senior Living Community

Now that you’re ready to start looking for a Christian senior living community, it’s important to search for a community that provides the level of care you need and gives residents opportunities to engage in faith-based activities. Instead of randomly picking a community from a phone directory or search engine, follow the tips below to put together a list of options that meet your needs for personal care, social interaction and religious activities. 

  • Ask your priest or pastor for a referral to a senior living community that offers services to Christians in your area. Members of the clergy often visit seniors or provide services at senior living communities with religious affiliations, so they’re well-positioned to recommend local options.
  • Contact your health care provider and ask for a referral to a senior living community that provides the type of care you need. If your doctor doesn’t have any Christian senior living communities in mind, contact a hospital social worker or patient advocate. These health care professionals spend a lot of time finding high-quality care options for seniors, so they may be able to refer you to a community in your current city or state.
  • Next time you go to the doctor, ask the nurse or medical assistant if they know of any senior living communities that specialize in helping residents stay connected to their Christian faith. You may get the chance to talk to someone who used to work for a senior living community or knows a lot about the senior living communities in the region.
  • Contact a local church and ask to speak to the person responsible for helping parishioners access the services they need to nourish their spirits and heal their bodies. If you can’t speak with a priest or pastor, a community coordinator or church deacon may be able to advise you.
  • Attend health fairs and other events sponsored by local health care organizations. Many senior living communities set up booths at these events, giving you an opportunity to discuss your needs with a community representative and determine if one Christian senior living community might be a better fit than others.

Compile a list of Christian senior living communities in your state. Then contact each one and ask questions about the services and amenities provided. If possible, talk with staff members who provide religious services and organize faith-based activities to get an idea of what you can expect at each community. The checklist below contains helpful questions to guide these conversations.

State-Specific Lifeline Program Information

The Lifeline program offers free or discounted phones to eligible consumers. Seniors in Alabama may qualify for a free mobile phone or landline via this program. You can learn more about the Lifeline program in Alabamaby visiting the state’s Public Service Commission.

Financial Resources for Christian Senior Living

Resource

Website

Contact

Service Description

Christian Assistance Network

(724) 992-3193

The Christian Assistance Network provides crisis assistance to older adults, people with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. Depending on your needs, CAN may be able to offer rent assistance, transportation, food or clothing, leaving more funds available for your Christian senior living expenses.

Catholic Charities

Use the agency locator to find assistance in your area.

Catholic Charities provides long-term assistance to vulnerable members of society. Your local Catholic Charities organization may offer grants, food baskets or other forms of assistance to make it easier to afford Christian senior living.

Social Security

(800) 772-1213

The Social Security program offers monthly cash benefits to qualifying seniors. If you're eligible, you'll be able to use your benefits to pay for rent, personal care and other Christian senior living services.

Supplemental Security Income

(800) 772-1213

SSI provides cash benefits to applicants with limited income and financial resources. If you qualify, you can use your benefits to cover some of the costs of Christian senior living, such as monthly rent or services provided by a medical professional.

Medicaid

Contact your state Medicaid agency.

Medicaid covers a variety of health care services for seniors with limited income and financial resources. Many state Medicaid agencies offer waiver programs that cover assisted living and other types of senior living, making senior care more affordable.

National Church Residences

Use the state locator to find a residence in your area.

National Church Residences offers affordable housing for seniors with a wide range of care needs. Available living options include assisted living, independent living, memory care and skilled nursing care.

Medicare

(800) 633-4227

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for older adults and younger adults with disabilities. Although it doesn't cover nursing home care, it may cover some of the health-related expenses you incur at your senior living community.