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What Questions Should You Ask on a Senior Living Tour?

When choosing a senior living community for yourself or a loved one, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with a myriad of options available, from accommodations to amenities and local area attractions. As you tour different senior living communities, it’s important to ask the right questions to help you keep track of the different communities you visit and to be able to decide what’s right for you.

In this article

When gathering your list of questions to ask when touring senior living facilities, here are some key areas to keep in mind:

Questions About Senior Living Community Lifestyle and Activities

What types of activities are offered, and how often? 

Ensure the community offers activities that match your interests, such as fitness classes, lectures, social events, field trips, crafts, and games.

Is there a focus on resident choice and personalization of activities? 

Having the power of choice with senior living activities helps residents to maintain a sense of independence and control while continuing to enjoy activities they’re used to as well as providing opportunities to try something new.

How does the community foster socialization among residents?

Inquire about the community’s commitment to social wellness. Review their events calendar for group activities like outings, movie nights, and book clubs.

Does the community offer transportation for outings, errands, or appointments?

Having transportation assistance available enables residents to maintain their independence, helping them to get to appointments and other outings while still living independently. This also gives peace of mind to residents and their loved ones by relieving the stress involved with driving.

Senior Living Tour Questions About Health and Wellness

What levels of care are provided?

Depending on you or your loved one’s needs, you may be looking for an independent living community, assisted living, or a memory care program. Ensure that the community can provide the appropriate level of care.

What are the staff qualifications and experience?

Having a staff that is not only compassionate but qualified for varying levels of medical and personal care is essential to maintaining safety and giving residents the best experience possible.

What is the staff-to-resident ratio?

Having a lower staff-to-resident ratio can ensure that everyone gets more attention.

How are medical emergencies handled?

It is always wise to know the process for a medical emergency before one may occur, including who is available to help, who will be contacted, and what are the next steps .

How does the community involve family members in the care and decision-making process?

Communities that are committed to inclusivity and resident wellbeing, ensure that families are engaged partners in their loved one’s care planning.

What senior fitness activities and resources are available?

Having a gym with senior fitness programs helps promote an active senior lifestyle and is great for physical and mental health. Ageility physical therapy services are available at many of our Five Star communities.

What are the dining options and can they accommodate special dietary needs?

Senior living dining options are meant to be both delicious and convenient. Many senior living communities offer customized meals for dietary needs and personal preferences.

Senior Living Safety and Security Questions

What security measures are in place?

Are there things like emergency call systems, security cameras, or other protective devices installed on the premises? Where, and what are the protocols for handling a safety concern?

How is the building maintained for safety?

What measures are in place for fire safety, slip-fall prevention, and other safety accommodations?

Questions About The General Senior Living Environment

Can you see a model resident apartment or room?

Getting to see an example can really help you accurately visualize what it will be like to live in the community and help reduce anticipatory anxiety for future residents and their loved ones.

What amenities are private and which are communal?

In independent living communities, apartments often have private kitchens and bathrooms, but there may also be communal amenities like dining halls, activity spaces, and lounges.

How is maintenance and housekeeping handled within the community?

The level of cleanliness, upkeep, and overall comfort residents can expect, directly impacts their quality of life and well-being.

How would you describe the overall atmosphere of the community? 

Each senior living community has a different atmosphere and amenities. Finding one that “feels right” is as important as the technical details on paper.

Is the community pet-friendly?

If you or your loved one already has a four-legged friend or are considering a companion, then finding a pet-friendly community is a must.

Are there opportunities for residents to personalize their living spaces? 

Personalization fosters a sense of comfort, familiarity, and ownership, which can go a long way in turning a house or apartment into a home.

What is your policy on visitors and overnight guests?

The flexibility for family and friends to visit means you can still host holidays or have sleepovers with the grandchildren.

Can residents bring their own cars?

Independent living is just that, independent. As such the expectation would be that cars, or golf carts, are allowed. Get clarity on the policy and be sure to ask about parking too.

Questions About Senior Living Finances and Contracts

Is there a trial period? 

Short term stays are often used as a trial run for families to see if a senior living community may be right for their loved one. Many Five Star Senior Living communities offer respite care or short term stays.

How much does senior living cost?

What is the monthly rent or fee structure? Understand the costs of senior living, including what other expenses may be included.

What utilities and services are included in the monthly fee? 

Are there any additional fees for meals, amenities, or care services?

What is the policy on refunds or transitioning to a higher level of senior care?

Understanding the levels of care and potential next steps for you or your loved one is invaluable knowledge for long term planning.

What forms of payment are accepted?

How you are going to pay for senior living is a valid question to ask upfront.

Additional Tips

  • Be sure to keep organized notes of tours and follow up answers to questions for each community toured or visited in order to help avoid becoming overwhelmed when making a decision. Reviewing your notes will help to clarify your priorities and narrow down your options.
  • Talk to current residents and their families to gain their perspectives. First-hand accounts of their experiences with the community and staff can help you feel more confident in your final choice
  • Trust your gut feeling – is this a place where you or your loved one would feel happy and comfortable? All of the amenities in the world pale in comparison to your happiness or the happiness of someone you love.

Finding the right senior living community involves a lot of personal considerations. By asking these questions and doing your research, you can find a senior living community that meets your loved one’s needs and preferences and provides a safe and comfortable transition to a community that truly feels like home.

Schedule a Five Star Senior Living Tour at a Community Near You

At Five Star Senior Living, we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have in your senior living search process, and can even suggest some of our own! We want you to feel as informed and confident in your decision as possible, and pride ourselves on helping you feel empowered during the process of choosing a senior living community.

Find a Five Star Senior Living community near you to schedule a tour today.

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Does Independent Living Include Meals?

Seniors and their families choose independent living communities for their convenience – from eliminating the burden of home maintenance to having access to activities and amenities right outside your door, and dining is no different. While dining options at independent living communities differ from community to community, the bottom line is that yes, independent living typically includes the option for chef-prepared meals, eliminating the need to grocery shop, plan meals, cook, and clean up, so you can enjoy every day without wondering, “what should I make for dinner?”.

Independent living dining also makes it easy and convenient to dine with other residents, helping to strengthen new friendships and provide social time you can look forward to each day. Let’s take a closer look at what type of dining options are most commonly available at independent living communities.

Dining at Five Star Senior Living

Included Meals

Depending on the independent living community you choose, you may have various options for which meals are included. Most commonly, independent living community dining includes two meals a day, prepared by senior living community chefs trained at the nation’s top culinary institutes. Whatever your culinary preferences and dietary needs, there’s a Five Star independent living community to (quite literally) suit your tastes.

Independent Living Dining Options

When you think of senior living dining, you may not realize just how many options are available! All of our independent living communities feature a community dining room where you can enjoy our chef-prepared meals with other residents. Many of our communities provide restaurant-style, all-day dining, meaning you’re not bound to a set schedule and can eat whenever you’re hungry. Depending on the independent living community you choose, you may also have access to other dining options such as:

  • The ability to reserve a private dining room for mealtime with family and friends or personal celebrations
  • Cafes for a morning latte or afternoon tea with a friend or a good book
  • Bars and cocktail lounges with happy hours to socialize over food and drinks

Feel like ordering some takeout or cooking at home? Go right ahead. In addition to ‘dining out’ at various dining venues within the community, many of our independent living apartments, studios, and cottages include kitchens or kitchenettes in their floor plans, enabling you to ‘eat in’ or prepare your own meals if that’s something that brings you joy. Don’t feel like cooking, but don’t feel like leaving your apartment either? Order delivery. Local restaurants and food delivery services will deliver to our independent living communities just as they would any other home or apartment complex.

No matter where you choose to eat in the community, our approach to senior dining remains the same – restaurant-quality, chef-prepared meals designed to satisfy your cravings with made-to-order options that are nourishing, healthy, and delicious. Have dietary concerns, allergies, or need to be on a special diet? Not a problem. Our chefs will work with you to accommodate your needs. You always have a say in what goes on the menu, and all of our food is backed by our Fresh Food Pledge.

Find an Independent Living Community with Meals Near You

At Five Star, we recognize that dining and meal planning is just one factor to consider when choosing an independent living community. As you consider which senior living community is right for you, our experts are happy to help. Contact us today with questions or use our community finder to browse Five Star Senior Living communities by location, community type, or amenities. We’re excited to help you find the right community for you to help you feel most at home.

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Active Senior Living Communities Do Exist

At Five Star Senior Living we’re on a mission to dispel the myth that all senior living communities are like nursing homes. When we refer to our communities as ‘active senior living communities’, we mean it!

In this article:

Learn more about our active senior living communities and the activities, enrichment, and sense of kinship our residents enjoy at any one of 130+ locations around the country.

Experience Five Star Senior Living

At Five Star Senior Living, we truly live up to our name, providing a five-star experience for all of our residents, whether staying with us for a season or making us their permanent residence. We’re proud to offer active senior living communities in 28 states, providing the Five Star Experience for happy residents in over 130 locations.

From our award-winning senior health and wellness programs to restaurant-style dining, our values of putting people first drive everything we do. We take pride in creating a full-service environment that meets our residents where they are and encourages independence, while providing full support every step of the way.

Lifestyle360 Senior Health and Wellness

One of the ways we foster an active senior living community lifestyle is through our Lifestyle360 program, a holistic health and wellness program for seniors. We don’t just focus on physical fitness and mobility – our Lifestyle360 program encompasses all aspects of wellbeing:

Physical – Staying physically active promotes both outer and inner strength! Each of our communities offers unique physical activities, from walking groups, dance classes, aquatic therapy, and yoga, to weight training, bocce ball, and zumba.

Social – Making meaningful connections and building healthy relationships is important at any age. Our active senior living social activities include things like game nights, golf outings, museum and theater trips, live entertainment, wine tastings, and more.

Emotional – We understand that a big change like transitioning to an active senior living community can be stressful for residents and families, so we provide ample emotional support and self-care resources, including support groups, poetry and painting workshops, spa days, intergenerational enrichment programs, and more.

Intellectual – Scholastic, cultural, and creative activities stimulate the mind and help you stay engaged with the world around you. Activities include art classes, book clubs, trivia, birdwatching, language courses, technology classes, and more.

Spiritual – Our spiritual activities support each resident’s unique spiritual journey, helping to foster a sense of purpose and meaning. Choose from spiritual programs like Bible study, pet therapy, meditation, prayer groups, horticulture therapy, and more.

Ageility Senior Rehab & Fitness

Our active senior living communities are redefining fitness and rehab for older adults with our Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions program. Our state-of-the-art senior fitness and rehab clinics are located right within our communities, bringing an entire suite of services and equipment to both short- and long-term residents. Our active senior living communities boast Ageility programs like:

  • Group fitness classes and one-on-one personal training with trainers specializing in older adult fitness
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Memory care-focused fitness programs to foster strength and independence for residents living with Alzheimer’s and dementia

Learn more about how Ageility is changing the world of senior rehab and fitness.

Senior Living Activities

When we describe ourselves as active senior living communities, this doesn’t mean there’s pressure to participate in high-energy outings if you’re more comfortable staying home!

Whether you want to go out on the town and explore, or if you’d prefer to stay in and cozy up to a good book in the community library, we have senior living activities to suit every interest and meet residents where they are in terms of their level of mobility and social comfort.

Each of our active senior living communities offers its own unique suite of enriching activities, and we’re always adding new options catered to our residents’ interests. From local day trips to craft clubs, group exercise classes to quiet nature walks, there’s something for everyone at Five Star Senior Living.

Find an Active Senior Living Community Near You

At Five Star Senior Living, maintaining a vibrant, active life at every age is our priority. We’re so proud to offer our residents a lifestyle that blends comfort and support with purpose and enrichment, all in an environment designed with hospitality in mind. Are you looking to explore your options for active senior living? Find a community near you and contact us for a tour today!

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Senior Living Amenities to Look For

Are you considering a senior living community for yourself or a loved one? As you begin your search, benefits like maintenance-free living and the peace of mind that comes with things like access to medical care are clear, but with so many different senior living options to choose from, each with their own unique senior living amenities, it can be overwhelming trying to compare one community to the next.

In this article:

When it comes to choosing the right community, you’ll want to focus on the senior living amenities that matter most to you. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant local area to explore, sports and fitness opportunities for active older adults, or a more tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, we’ve gathered some of the many senior living amenities to consider while choosing where to call home.

Best Amenities in Senior Living

Ask senior living residents what their favorite amenities are and you’ll get a plethora of different responses! From enjoying restaurant-quality dining to strolling beautiful walking paths, getting pampered at an on-site beauty salon to enjoying group outings and activities, here are some of the most popular senior living amenities that help residents live life to the fullest.

Restaurant-Quality Senior Living Dining

Tired of cooking dinner every single night? Has takeout lost its appeal? If so, let senior living dining take the stress out of mealtime. Many senior living properties offer restaurant-style dining with all sorts of delicious and nutritious options to suit a full range of tastes and dietary needs. In fact, some rival five-star restaurants!

Custom senior dining options

Enjoy hot gourmet meals prepared just for you! At many senior living properties, chefs can adjust ingredients to accommodate allergies, dietary preferences, and restrictions. Whether you’re in the mood for hearty meat and potatoes, a vegetarian dish, or need something heart-healthy prepared with lower sodium, senior living dining staff are available to quite literally cater to the nutritional needs of seniors, both in terms of health and taste.

Senior Living Activities

One of the most rewarding benefits of being a senior living resident is being able to meet new friends and get involved in the community. Loneliness and isolation are increasingly common in older adult populations, particularly for seniors continuing to live at home on their own. Being a part of a senior living community affords opportunities(y) for residents to engage as much as they like to create a vibrant social life which is linked to increased overall wellness.

Programs like Five Star Senior Living’s Lifestyle 360 ensure that a range of activities and events will appeal to those with varied interests and with an emphasis on physical, spiritual and emotional wellness.

Here are some of the activities you may want to look for as you consider a Five Star Senior Living Community:

  • Senior fitness group exercise classes, including indoor and outdoor low-impact options
  • One-on-one senior personal training sessions
  • An accessible swimming pool for classes or recreation
  • Dancing classes and social dances
  • Outings to shop or simply sightsee in the local area
  • Group vacations or trips to further away destinations
  • Exploring hobbies like cooking, gardening, crafting, or birdwatching
  • Game Night and groups including card games, billiards, bingo and board games
  • Movie nights at an on-site theater
  • Holiday parties and celebrations
  • Music – including community singing groups or musical ensembles, community pianos, performances by visiting musicians, and music therapists (therapy).
  • Special events welcoming families and friends
  • Companion animal visits and wildlife enrichment activities
  • Bible Study or other religious worship

And so much more.

Senior Living Concierge Services

Being able to take a morning swim or settle in for an evening book club meeting with friends may be just what you’re looking for when choosing a senior living community, but beyond leisure activities, it’s important to consider the practicalities of daily living. While moving to a senior living community eliminates much of the maintenance of owning and maintaining a home, there may be certain daily activities that residents require assistance with while continuing to live more independently. Being able to maintain as much independence as possible is important for residents, and a senior living concierge helps make that possible.

What is a senior living concierge?

A senior living concierge provides day-to-day assistance to make life easier for senior living residents while supporting their independence.

Senior living concierge services at a Five Star Senior Living Community may include:

  • Transportation services
  • Help with errands like dry cleaning
  • Coordinating pet care
  • Appointment-setting and reservations
  • Administrative and logistical tasks like receiving packages, mail, helping with moving, etc.
  • Greeting/receiving guests

Senior Living with a Swimming Pool

Do you love the water? Consider a senior living community with a pool and dive right in! Beyond being a fun activity that provides a relaxing, resort-like feel, swimming is an excellent, low-impact way for seniors to maintain cardiovascular health while supporting joint health and building strength.

Whether relaxing on a pool float in a warm-weather community’s outdoor pool or swimming laps in a year-round indoor pool, you can choose from an assortment of senior aquatic activities that are just right for you. Many senior living communities with swimming pools offer group swimming or water aerobics classes for fitness and fun. You can also take one-on-one swimming lessons, or simply use the pool for recreation and relaxation.

Senior Living Amenities at Five Star Senior Living

As you consider what options and amenities are most important to you in your senior living search, we welcome you to contact the Five Star Senior Living team to help you find the perfect senior living community for you. Whether you’re looking for a bustling social calendar or a tranquil retreat, our senior living amenities make it easy to find the perfect fit. Learn more about the Five Star Lifestyle.

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What is the Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans?

When it comes to financing senior care, older adults are often unaware of how many financial options there are that can help. From life-settlement funds to bridge loans, there are a variety of programs designed to make it easier to finance senior care. One benefit that is often overlooked was created for veterans and their surviving spouses. It is the Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit and is commonly referred to as the Aid and Attendance for Veterans Benefit.

What is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit?

This benefit, managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides financial support to veterans to assist with the costs of long-term care. The purpose of this program is to ensure that veterans who served our nation receive the care they need.

Aid and Attendance support is available only to veterans and surviving spouses who meet eligibility requirements. In general, the veteran needs to have served at least 90 days of active-duty service with at least one day during a recognized period of war.

Because Aid & Attendance (A&A) is based on your income, medical expenses and assets, if you meet the military requirement, it is no longer a Yes or No benefit – it is If and When. Learn more about applying for this benefit below.

How much does the VA pay for Aid and Attendance?

The 2024 Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit rates are:

  • A Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,300 per month
  • A Married Veteran may qualify for as much as $2,727 per month
  • Surviving Spouses may qualify for as much as $1,478 per month
  • A Well Veteran with Ill Spouse may qualify for up to $1,806 per month

These amounts have historically increased by the same cost of living adjustments as social security.

Commonly Asked Questions about Aid and Attendance

Q: Is this benefit different from a monthly military pension for veterans?

A: Yes. This benefit is separate from and in addition to a monthly pension from a branch of the Military. This pension is from the VA and can be granted in addition to a Military pension. You cannot receive disability compensation or Death and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension with Aid and Attendance at the same time. If you qualify for both disability compensation or DIC and you also qualify for the Pension with Aid and Attendance, you can choose whichever is most advantageous for you. Surprisingly, the lower paying benefit is occasionally the better financial choice.

Q: How does a veteran or surviving spouse apply for this benefit? Can you apply in person?

A: Veterans or a surviving spouse can apply through their regional Veterans Affairs office. However, it is a complicated and time-consuming process and, similar to filing your taxes, you might want to work with a professional with expertise in the Pension with Aid and Attendance benefit. At Five Star Senior Living, we partner with Elder Resource Benefits Consulting to help our residents and future residents with consultation and guidance regarding the VA Aid & Attendance benefit.

To learn more about this benefit and to book your appointment for your free benefit analysis we invite you to contact Elder Resource Benefits Consulting at 833-822-9273 or 508-485-0039 or go to and select the Book Now option on the home page.

Please have the following information ready before you call:

  • Monthly gross income from all sources
  • Estimated other annual income—interest, dividends, IRA contributions, capital gains, etc.
  • Monthly health and/or long-term care insurance premiums
  • Monthly projected residency fee
  • Understanding of applicant’s assets, including IRAs
  • The Veteran’s period of war

Five Star Affordability: Download our Cost of Senior Living Guide

We understand that senior living financing options can be confusing, so we created a resource to help. Download our FREE “Your Complete Guide to the Cost of Senior Living” eBook to get the answers you need. Learn about typical cost ranges, services offered and financing options, from Aid and Attendance to using bridge loans. We’ve also included how to contact a senior living counselor who can help answer any further questions.

Find out if there’s a Five Star Senior Living community near you or contact us to learn more.

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How Senior Living Communities Can Help Kinless Seniors Thrive

Nearly one million older Americans are considered kinless, meaning they lack a spouse, partner, children, or siblings. Some seniors may wonder who will care for them as they age in the absence of a family support structure. Kinless seniors often have to explore alternative solutions to ensure their well-being as they age.

In this article:

According to The New York Times, several demographic factors have increased the number of kinless seniors, particularly baby boomers including: lower marriage rates, higher divorce rates, and less children.

The good news is that senior living communities such as Five Star Senior Living, a division of AlerisLife, offer a viable solution. Some of the benefits that kinless seniors may expect at a senior living community include participating in social activities, joining support groups, getting involved in volunteer work, and having the dedicated support of skilled team members.

AlerisLife chief wellness officer Melinda Skirvin, RN, BSN, MHA says it’s important to advocate for each resident. “It’s our job to fight when they can’t and be their family when they don’t have a family there,” she said.

Who Will Care for Kinless Seniors?

Senior living communities like Five Star that feature independent living, assisted living, and memory care lines of service can provide you with a supportive environment that lets you thrive.

  • Built-In Community: Senior living communities create a sense of belonging and community. You can build meaningful relationships with fellow residents to create a supportive social network and make new friends.
  • Transportation Support: If you are unable to drive, senior living communities typically offer transportation services, ensuring residents can access essential services and activities.
  • Nutritious Meals: Senior living communities can provide restaurant-style dining with nutritious and delicious meals, removing the burden of cooking and grocery shopping for kinless seniors.
  • Safety: Communities prioritize safety with features like emergency response systems, security, and on-site staff who are trained to assist in case of emergencies.
  • Health and Medication Support: Assisted living communities within senior living communities offer personalized health and medication support, ensuring residents receive the care they need.

Advantages of Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are great if you seek an active and maintenance-free lifestyle. Some benefits include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Building maintenance
  • Lawncare
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Fitness and wellness programs
  • Access to on-site dining options
  • Supportive staff and emergency response systems

Advantages of Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities provide an extra level of care beyond what an independent senior living community provides and can support for you if you require assistance with activities of daily living. Key benefits include:

  • Personalized care plans
  • Assistance with daily tasks
  • Medication management
  • 24/7 access to skilled team members
  • Engaging activities and events

Tour a Five Star Senior Living Community

At Five Star, no one is alone. If you, or a kinless senior you know, are seeking a supportive and enriching living environment , consider exploring the options available at Five Star Senior Living communities. We are dedicated to supporting kinless seniors as they thrive and become a part of our family. Find a local Five Star Senior Living community near you and discover more choice and more comfort.

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How to Stay Active – 7 Tips for Seniors

Maintaining an active lifestyle is important at any age, but it can be especially important for older adults and seniors in retirement to help boost health and wellbeing. Staying active has scores of health benefits, from strengthening bone health and improving blood pressure to lowering the risk of diabetes and supporting neurocognitive function.
It’s vital to keep moving as you age, and it’s not uncommon for older adults to lose their strength and balance which unfortunately can result in falls. In fact, 1 in 4 older adults report falling every year. For some seniors, healing from an injury can take longer. A sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise and active movement can lead to more frequent falls, injuries, and pains.

But don’t think you have to hit the gym weights everyday. While focused physical exercise is a great way to stay active, it’s not the only way to have an active senior lifestyle. Many senior living communities offer fun activities throughout the week that are catered to your abilities to keep you living your best life.

Here are seven great tips that will inspire you to maintain a healthy and active senior lifestyle:

7 Ways to Maintain an Active Senior Lifestyle


Exercise classes/groups

What better way to lead an active retirement than to break a sweat? Many senior-living communities offer a plethora of exercise and fitness classes like tai chi, weight training, and walking groups. At Five Star, we partner with Ageility, an AlerisLife operating division that focuses on rehab and fitness classes for older adults. Classes and groups are often on a set schedule. Communities make signing up a breeze so you can get to work and even meet some new friends.


Put that green thumb to work by digging into the joys of gardening. Spending time tending to homegrown fruits and vegetables is a perfect way to not only get you off the couch, but also outside. Gardening is also easy to weave into any routine, as plants usually only need to be tended to once in the morning and once in the evening. Many senior living communities offer garden clubs or resident gardens where you can get started. Zucchini, lettuce, and tomatoes are a few great options for beginning gardeners. Herbs like chives, oregano, parsley are also great options and can be grown inside with ease!


As one of the best exercises out there, swimming is an excellent exercise for active older adults. The resistance of the water makes you use your whole body, keeps your heart rate up, and helps build endurance. There are a lot of Five Star communities that have swimming pools inside the community grounds, but if there isn’t one, be sure to ask your community’s team members if there are recreation centers nearby that you could use.

Senior Clubs

Staying active in retirement isn’t all about weight lifting and cardio. Senior living communities like Five Star have many activities including clubs, which are a great way to have fun both on and off your feet. Channel your inner thespian with theater groups or lead great discussions at book clubs. There’s also social clubs like men or women’s clubs, tea time, and game clubs. Each community offers different activities, but you’re guaranteed to find a club that you’ll look forward to attending.

Classes for older adults

If you love to learn, signing up for a class offered at your senior living community is a great way to stay active. Classes can range from poetry writing and charcoal sketching to learning a new language and dancing. With set times each week, classes can be a great workout for your mind, body, and soul. Check out your community’s monthly activities calendar to see what classes are available or ask your Lifestyle 360 director for more information.

Playing video games

You read that right. Believe it or not, with systems like the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo Switch, you can go bowling with a friend, compete in olympic style games, and dance to music all at your own pace. Many communities come equipped with gaming systems that are easy to use and make for hours of fun. The best part is you can set your own schedule because staying active with video games is as easy as pressing on the power button.

Getting a pet

It would be hard to list all the benefits of having a pet, but let’s just say there’s quite a few! Having a pet keeps you active as you nurture and care for your four-legged friend. Most Five Star communities are pet friendly so you can enjoy your pet, as well as your friend’s pets. Having a pet like a dog can give you a great reason to get up and go for a refreshing walk in the morning to start your day.

Join Other Active Seniors at Five Star

When it comes to active senior living, Five Star communities have you covered. Every Five Star community has a Lifestyle360 director and a robust activities calendar that offers new and regular programs, events, and activities each month. Be sure to check out your community’s calendar or join the resident council to voice your thoughts on what the calendar should include.

Take Steps Toward an Active Retirement Today

AlerisLife and Five Star communities believe a person’s quality of life is ageless. At Five Star communities, we offer a wide range of senior living options built with a high level of service and sense of community. Contact us to find a senior living community near you.

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How to Know if it’s Time to Move to a Retirement Community

Retirement is your reward after a lifetime of hard work and planning. It’s your time to have fun and pursue your passions both familiar and new, like writing that novel or spending an entire day as a couch potato watching movies. No matter what it is, you’ve earned it.

Some older adults always knew downsizing would be part of their retirement plan. For others, it took retiring to realize they would like a change of pace. Whether moving to a retirement community is a new idea or it’s always been part of your plans, it can be tricky to know what time is the right time to make such a major life decision. Let’s take a look at retirement living and how to decide when might be the right time to consider moving to a retirement community.

What is a retirement community?

The term retirement community is a broad one, but generally refers to senior living neighborhoods or housing complexes designed for older adults.

Retirement communities give older adults the option to spend their time doing what they love without the stress of the day-to-day chores, home maintenance or driving. There’s a wide range of communities to choose from, from 55+ communities and independent living to assisted living or memory care. No matter what kind of lifestyle you want, there’s a place just for you.

Signs it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community

Only you will know when it’s the right time to move to a retirement community, but there are some tell-tale signs to know when you might want to make the move.

You want to enjoy stress-free living

You’ve spent your life working, keeping your home clean and cooking meals. Now it’s time to reward yourself with the freedom to do what you love and have a retirement community handle the rest. Retirement communities offer in-house dining with customizable menus, housekeeping options and more to make sure nothing gets in the way of what makes you happy. Even planning what to do with your free time is easier with scheduled events, classes and entertainment.

Your friends and family have moved or passed away

Social circles can shrink for older adults due to reasons outside their control like family moving to a new area or friends passing away. If you find yourself wanting to move closer to family or forge new bonds with friends, it might be time to move to a retirement community. Retirement communities bring older adults together to enjoy each other’s company with a wide range of amenities to let you live life to the fullest.

Transportation has become a problem

If driving at night has become difficult or the thought of getting in the car to go to the grocery store is stressful, a retirement community might be right for you. Retirement communities are strategically located close to shops, services and other amenities for convenience. Plus, there are all kinds of transportation options available at retirement communities like buses, excursion vans and scheduled trips that bring you where you want to go. Moving to a retirement community also doesn’t mean you have to give up your car—plenty of retirement communities have parking lots or parking garages nearby.

You want to build strength after an injury

Building your strength back up after an injury, surgery or illness can be tough, but retirement communities can make it easier. Most retirement communities have a rehab and fitness partner who can help you in recovery. Five Star Senior Living communities partner with Ageility, a personalized rehab, fitness and wellness provider for older adults. You can try out a retirement community with a short-term stay and you may find you’d like to stay even longer.

Access to personal or nursing care is important Many retirement communities offer close and easy access to the care you need. Maybe you need some extra support throughout the day through personal care or you need daily nursing care. No matter your needs, you can find a community that will support you.

Find a retirement community near you

Remember that the right time to move to a retirement community is when you’re ready and moving to a community has never been more exciting, due to the abundance of options and amenities that are available. When you decide it’s time to consider moving to a retirement community, Five Star can help you find the right retirement community to enjoy this new stage of life exactly the way you want.

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Coping with the Loss of a Spouse – 3 Ways Seniors Can Find Healing

Losing your life partner is heartbreaking. All those memories you made together—the sparks flying on your first date, wedding bells chiming as you both said “I do,” your children laughing as you chase them around the house…they aren’t as vibrant without your spouse there to share them with. As an older adult, coping with the grief of the death of a spouse can be even more difficult due to the decades you may have spent together. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can start to sink in—especially if you live alone—making it harder to find purpose and joy in the day to day.

The road to healing after the loss of a spouse is different for everyone, but nearly all are paved with the power of genuine human connections. Whether it’s attending a grief support group, leaning on family and friends or simply reaching out to your neighbor for help, a community of support is crucial to making it through the hard days, and celebrating the good ones. Engaging in activities where you can pursue your passions and find companionship can also bring newfound comfort, meaning and vibrancy to your life.

Grief never really goes away, but it doesn’t have to define your later years after the loss of a spouse. Here are three powerful ways to cope with the pain of losing a loved one and find healing so you can create new, joyful memories and live life to your fullest.

1. After the death of a spouse, take it one day at a time

Herculean task. Overwhelming feelings of sadness, shock and even guilt make it hard to get out of bed, let alone go about your “normal” day. The reality is life goes on even in our grief. Giving yourself time and space to mourn the loss of your spouse is crucial to the healing process. Still, there comes a time when each day—and your overall wellbeing—becomes what you make it.

Eating nutritious food, staying active and keeping busy with work or hobbies are some of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy routine. A routine can provide that reason to get out of bed each day, take care of yourself and move forward amidst your grief. Some days will feel like breakthroughs. Some will feel like steps back. Each is a part of the journey of healing and should be celebrated.

2. Find activities that provide meaning and purpose

Many of us find meaning and purpose in the life we share with a partner. Perhaps it’s in helping raise grandchildren, supporting charities you both cared about or catching the sunset every evening from your favorite park bench. After the loss of your spouse, though, these activities can feel empty and you may even feel guilty for continuing them without your loved one by your side. That’s why finding a healthy outlet for meaning and purpose is so important to the healing process. It could be reconnecting with one of your passions or discovering new ones that allow you to explore what brings you joy even without your partner there to share it with.

A great way to find activities that can provide that sense of purpose is by considering the Five Dimensions of Wellness that make up a healthy, fulfilling life. Here are a few ideas of activities for each dimension of wellness that can help you find an outlet for healing and meaning.

Five Dimensions of Wellness Activities
Physical Tai chi, walking club, pickleball
Intellectual Book clubs, trivia nights, lifelong learning programs
Social Volunteering, poker club, concert outings
Emotional Gardening, painting, creative writing
Spiritual Church services, journaling, meditation

3. Build a support system

Coping with the loss of a spouse can feel like something you should go through alone and not burden others with. It takes courage and vulnerability to ask for help when the grief and loneliness becomes overwhelming. Finding and building a support system of people—whether it be family, friends, or a grief support group—allows for a setting where you can feel more comfortable expressing your grief, lightening its heavy load.

It’s important when building a support system to find people you trust that can also speak to your experience, particularly for older adults. Tom, 90, found that support and companionship when he met Mary Lee after he moved into Calusa Harbour, a senior living community in Fort Myers, FL. Both had lost spouses and Tom was still in mourning. Mary Lee and others offered support and helped Tom find renewed purpose, joy and love—culminating in marrying Mary Lee and starting a whole new chapter of life. “Life isn’t over after you lose someone,” says Mary Lee. “You can live and love.”

Finding healing, purpose and support after the loss of a spouse at Five Star

At Five Star, a community of care and support is always there for life’s hardest moments. In our communities, neighbors become more than friends; they become family who know your pain on a deep level and can provide a shoulder to lean on when the burden of grief gets too heavy. Our innovative LifeStyle360 wellness program that incorporates the Five Dimensions of Wellness also offers a wide range of engaging activities to help you explore what gives you meaning and purpose. Contact us to learn more about how life at Five Star can help you through the healing process and provide a new home full of hope, joy and belonging at a Five Star community near you.

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4 Huge Benefits of Selling Your Home to Pay for Senior Living

Home is where the heart is, and that makes the decision to sell your home not just a difficult—but also emotional—one. Homes are full of memories of laughing children, Thanksgiving dinners, late nights chatting on the porch…the list goes on. Yet, there comes a time when home is quieter and lonelier than before, particularly for older adults. Many seniors live by themselves after the loss of a loved one. Aging in place can also become expensive with upkeep costs for maintenance, taxes and utilities, not to mention the cost to renovate so your home is safe for your changing needs. After a while, what was once a place of joy can start to feel like a burden.

This is when selling your home to pay for senior living could help you combat loneliness and give you the freedom to live life to the fullest. Losing what’s familiar is never easy, but moving into a senior living community doesn’t mean you have to give up your hard-earned independence. In fact, it opens a whole world of stress-free living full of joy, purpose and companionship. And that’s just one of the huge advantages of selling your home to pay for senior living. Here are a few other big ways you can benefit from selling your home and moving to a senior living community.

Hot housing market = more money in your pocket for an active senior lifestyle

It’s no secret that the housing market is booming. According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices are up 15.8% on average year-over-year across the country as the demand for new homes continues to far outpace supply. Still, you might be wondering, should I hang onto my home as prices rise, or have they peaked? The important thing to remember is that it’s impossible to predict the top of the real estate market and playing the waiting game could backfire. With home prices already at record highs, selling now means you’ll likely come out ahead with a hefty sum that will make senior living far more affordable.

Lock in equity now to pay for future senior living needs

The future is hard to predict, especially when it comes to your home’s value and your health. Delaying a decision to sell leaves open the risk of both taking a turn for the worse. However, if you do your homework now, you can determine based on your current home value whether it can pay for some or all the costs of senior living. Consider the money like stock. Unless you’re selling, the increase in market value isn’t money in the bank. Only if you sell can you plan on how to leverage those dollars.

No more mortgage bills and home maintenance

You’ve worked hard to reach your retirement years and finally relax. There’s just one problem. Your home won’t let you. Cleaning, cooking, running errands…keeping up with it all your at-home to-do lists can feel like its own 9-5. If you don’t own your home outright, there’s also a pesky mortgage payment that keeps chipping away at your savings for that cruise you always dreamed of. By selling your home, you can knock out your to-do lists and mortgage payments all at once and never have to worry about them again. That means more time—and money—for doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Experience stress-free senior living

As attached as we get to the space we live in, it’s easy to forget that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. It’s the comfort of being part of a close-knit community, the joy of waking up with a sense of purpose each morning and the peace in knowing you’re right where you’re supposed to be. That’s why so many seniors refer to their senior living communities as “neighborhoods” where they’ve found their “home sweet home.” Without the burden of owning a home weighing them down, residents enjoy the freedom to live life on their own terms and explore an exciting new chapter full of rediscovered passions and companionship. The best part? The money you make selling your home doesn’t just cover your rent in a senior living community. It also includes other big home expenses like meals, housekeeping and utilities. It’s like having all the comforts of home—plus a whole lot more—without all the hassle.

Five Star Senior Living — welcome home

Everyone deserves a home where they feel cared for and treated like family. That sentiment is at the core of Five Star’s mission to help every senior find their new “home sweet home” in communities across 27 states. With living options that include independent living, assisted living and memory care, Five Star is able to deliver award-winning hospitality, innovative programming and signature health services that meet your specific needs and preferences. To learn more about how selling your current home can help cover the cost of senior living at Five Star, call one of our senior care experts at (757) 797-6866 or complete the form below.

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