For many seniors, their Christian faith is a major consideration when deciding where to live - especially during retirement years. Choosing a suitable facility that allows you to embrace your spirituality is no easy task. Following are 9 of the best Christian retirement communities, based on ratings, reviews, and resident feedback representing a broad geographical cross-section of the country.
Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina
The Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina actually comprise five separate facilities spread throughout the state. US News says the facility in Clinton, SC is worthy of a "Best" rating and Medicare gives the facility in Columbia its coveted 5-star "Much Above Average" rating. It is a Continuing Care Retirement Community in which residents can enjoy a vast range of services from completely independent patio homes to apartments, to assisted living apartments, where residents get help with some daily living tasks.
Features for residents include:
- Interior and exterior maintenance
- Fitness rooms, indoor pools,
- On-campus chapels
- Beauty shops
- Gardens, walking trails and more
In addition to the facilities in Columbia and Clinton, Presbyterian communities are also found in the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains and in the cities of Florence and Summerville. Each community has a web page and each page includes a collection of photos.
Penney Retirement Community
Florida's Penney Retirement Community is located in the tiny town of Penney Farms, founded by department store pioneer, J.C. Penney in 1926. Residents choose to live in one of two houses for assisted living, both of which provide apartments with a private bath and communal dining room. PRC, which has won the coveted Florida Governor's Gold Seal Award ever since its inception, offers a full menu of activities for seniors. In addition, the inclusive, Penney emphasizes a "rewire not retire" lifestyle based on volunteering and community involvement. Features include:
- A lovely 200-acre campus filled with giant live oaks, magnolias, and sabal palms
- A strong emphasis on conservation as residents are encouraged to be good stewards of nature by helping with community garden plots, recycling, and other activities
- Trails for walking, bicycling, and bird watching
- Penney Pavilion for Health Care nursing facility, which is recognized by US News as a 5-star "Best in the US" facility
- Rehabilitation center
- 24-hour nursing staff on-call
The combination of glowing on-site testimonials and a US News "Best" 5-star overall rating help make St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin one of the top-rated retirement facilities anywhere. St. Camillus, also known as San Camillo, takes its role in providing excellent senior Catholic care seriously. The setting is upscale, yet welcoming. Residents can choose from a variety of living options from one to two bedroom apartments, to assisted living options. There is even on-site hospice so that seniors don't have to be uprooted from facility to facility to address health concerns. Features include:
- Daily mass in a beautiful stained glass chapel.
- Country store, complete with groceries and on-site hair salons
- Gourmet meals in the large windowed dining room and adjacent terrace
- Nearby Milwaukee County Zoo and Wisconsin Avenue Park
The facility's more than 280 luxury apartments, which vary in floor plan and size, can be customized to each resident's individual taste with the help of San Camillo's on site Design Center.
Wesley Glen Retirement Community
US News rated Methodist Church supported Wesley Glen Retirement Community a "Best" 5-star facility overall. Other commendations include "Best Retirement Community" by CEO Magazine and a perfect State of Ohio Health Survey for Skilled Nursing Care.
Located just north of Columbus, Ohio, the Wesley Glen Retirement Community has 152 independent apartments and 16 patio homes. Residents can choose from a variety of floor plans that include either one or two bedroom options. There are also options for assisted living, long term care and hospice care.
In addition, residents enjoy a variety of features including:
- A LEED certified wellness center
- Exterior maintenance
- Biweekly housekeeping
- Utilities, including telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access
- All campus activities
Wesley Glen's media page features several videos that highlight the facilities.
Sunnybrook Estates is a non-denominational Christian community in Madison, Mississippi which is nationally ranked as one of the best retirement towns in America. Sunnybrook is unusual in the sense that it is "rental only." This means there is no long-term lease and no required buy-in. More importantly, this facility is only for those able to live independently. Dependent nursing care is not available. Simply put, this means when residents are no longer independent, they have to move. Monthly rent includes all of the following:
- Housekeeping and linen service
- Utilities (except telephone)
- Free laundry facilities
- 24-hour staffing
- Scheduled transportation to appointments and shopping
- Computer center
- Activity room, library, beauty shop, movie theater, exercise room
- Private dining room to host special guests
Good Samaritan Society - Prairie Creek
The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society - Prairie Creek retirement community in Sioux Falls, SD offers exceptional and varied housing options for seniors. Of particular note, the Good Samaritan Society, through its Vivo: Innovation for Well Being initiative, is a leader in the movement to recognize the special needs and lifestyle demands of aging baby boomers - especially with regard to well-being, independence, and health.
Facilities include 44 twin homes, a 70-unit apartment lodge, and assisted living and affordable housing facilities. Amenities at Prairie Creek include:
- A full-sized theater room
- Guest apartments
- Swimming pool and Jacuzzi, library, and a variety of other services on the grounds.
It is worth noting that Good Samaritan Society is actually a multi-facility provider of senior care. In this case, the parent organization, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, is the largest not-for-profit provider of senior care and services in the United States.
Holly Creek Retirement Community
Denver, Colorado is home to Holly Creek Retirement Community. Sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church, this facility has awards galore, including a "Best" 5-star rating by US News and an identical 5-star rating by Medicare. The spacious cottages at the facility average an astonishing 2400 square feet and feature open living spaces, walk-in closets, fireplaces, large basements and garages.
Amenities at Holly Creek include:
- A 35-seat large screen theater
- A radio station
- Art gallery
- Spa/beauty salon
- Three restaurants
- Technology center, library, and gift shop
- On-site fitness center with a certified instructor for group fitness classes
- Customized exercise, strength, and balance programs
- Walking groups
- Tai Chi
- Swimming classes.
The photo gallery features numerous pictures of residents, activities, and the facilities of Holly Creek.
Advertising a "maintenance free" lifestyle, The Terraces, located in Phoenix, Arizona is especially renowned for its robust array of activities and programs catering to active seniors. In addition, this community proudly promotes the varied interests and backgrounds of residents. Medicare gave The Terraces its top 5-star "Well Above Average" rating and the facility has 5-year accreditation accredited by CARF International. There are a wide variety of residence options that include full kitchens, walk-in closets, and outdoor living spaces. Residents enjoy the following amenities:
- A unique MyChoice dining program so residents can control how and when they use their monthly dining credits
- Housekeeping and linen services
- Utilities except telephone and Internet
- Fitness center with a swimming pool
- Library, technology center, and lounges
- Beauty salon and barbershop and convenience store.
In addition, the campus has its own postal and banking centers, a number of walking paths, and a game room. The photo gallery contains several slideshows that provide an extensive visual preview of the entire facility.
St. Paul's Towers
Oakland, California is home to St. Paul's Towers, a member of the 50-year-old Episcopal Senior Communities. Like most continuous care communities, St. Paul's provides life-long accommodations in facilities ranging from two-bedroom apartment homes through skilled nursing care.
Comfortable bay area weather provides the backdrop for a full calendar of cultural events, nearby shopping and world-class restaurants. Rounding out "things to do" are several museums, theater, and the fact that San Francisco is a short ride away. Features include:
- On site an open dining room with flexible dining options is available
- Rooftop garden and garden terrace
- Fitness facility with breathtaking panoramic bay area views
- Spacious libraries, a computer center, art studios, and various program rooms
- Scheduled transportation for appointments and outings
Choosing Your Next Home
Aside from location, choosing a Christian retirement community involves finding a setting in which you feel personally and spiritually comfortable. An onsite visit or tour is the best way to get a feel for those elements. Beyond that, it is important to match your level of independence and interests with the community you choose. Some communities are best enjoyed by active, on the go, seniors. Others are more laid back. Take your time, ask plenty of questions, and when you have made your choice, relax and let your retirement years become the blessing they were always meant to be.