For many people, religion is a lifelong commitment that doesn’t retire. Seniors wishing to surround themselves with fellow faith-minded individuals can do so at a variety of retirement communities, and by doing so, they can keep active in both body and spirit.

Who Is the Community For?

Religious retirement communities are faith-based, usually-nonprofit organizations open to everyone. Since federal housing rules prohibit housing communities from discriminating against religion, most religious retirement communities are made up of members from varying beliefs.

However, some communities offer faith-specific amenities, services and on-site clergy, making the communities a more comfortable fit for practicing members of a particular faith.

Each community will vary on services offered, from amenities to continuing care. Many include assisted living, nursing and memory care.

How’s the Food?

Your loved one may have diet restrictions depending on their faith. Religious retirement communities should cater to these needs. For example:

  • Some Jewish communities may serve only Kosher meals, while restricting consumption of non-Kosher foods, such as pork, to designated areas or within one’s apartment or home.

  • Hindu retirement homes will have Indian cuisine, including vegetarian menus, and may require meat dishes to be prepared in an entirely separate kitchen to avoid contamination.

  • Catholic retirement communities might limit the serving of alcohol or meat during Lent.

Religious Services

Aside from dietary and holiday observations, religious communities may offer other kinds of religious services. Christian communities may have Sunday services, community prayer or communion; they may invite guest preachers and speakers, or engage in guided prayer. Daily rosaries and prayer sessions may also be offered. Jewish communities may observe Shabbat (the sabbath), refraining from work-related activities.

On-site religious leaders, like rabbis and priests, should also be available. Nondenominational facilities may offer a mix of religious staff, while other communities might only offer one or two types.

Places of Worship

A faith-based community will offer at least one place of worship on its grounds. This may include:

  • Temples

  • Chapels

  • Churches

  • Statues of holy figures

  • Prayer rooms


Depending on the type of community, its location and its mission, activities will vary. Some faith-based communities may offer many volunteer activities in the local community, like reading to children. There may also be a religious school and other religious facilities.

Not all activities will be religion oriented. Many activities such as shopping and antiquing, boating, choir, gardening, field trips, golf, athletics and swimming are common.