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Buddhism is one of the most common religions in Asia. Over the past few decades, Buddhism has seen a substantial rise in western countries — including the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, there are more than 4 million practicing Buddhists in the United States alone. Surprisingly, the largest demographic of Buddhists lies within the baby boomer generation (roughly 30 percent), which means that many American Buddhists are either approaching retirement or already well into their retirement years.1 As a result, an increasing number of Buddhists in the United States are searching for retirement communities and senior care centers that cater to their religious convictions.

While options for Buddhist senior living are more limited than other religions, there are some retirement communities and senior care options for Buddhists in the United States. Below, we’ll cover the best options available to Buddhist seniors looking for a faith-based assisted living community or senior care center, what these facilities offer, and additional resources.

What Is Buddhist Senior Living?

Buddhist senior living applies the principles of Buddhism to care at different types of facilities (including memory care, assisted living, and nursing homes). Since Buddhism encompasses many different schools of thought and disciplines, this means that Buddhist senior communities and care centers often make use of practices that are most common among all followers of the religion. For example, facilities may offer classes for meditation, yoga, and spiritual mindfulness.

Did You Know: In many cases, Buddhist senior care does not differ much from the services you would receive in a standard assisted living or memory care facility, though the care is always centered on Buddhist values.

These types of practices are often referred to as contemplative care. With contemplative care, caregivers teach their aging patients to turn toward their sickness and aging, not away from it. This type of care falls hand in hand with the cycle of rebirth that is taught in many Buddhist communities.

What Services Do Buddhist Senior Living Facilities Offer?

Buddhist senior care is a little different in the approach it takes to helping seniors cope with illness, aging, and death. Buddhist senior communities may incorporate mindfulness programs to specifically help patients cope with the difficulties of aging. This is partly because these types of practices (yoga, meditation, self-reflection, etc.) have been shown to lower stress and ease chronic pain.2

Did You Know: Buddhist senior care facilities often combine the tools of both Eastern and Western traditions to provide a more holistic approach to elder care.

In some facilities, mindfulness teaching is offered to senior caregivers and family members. Being more mindful can help ease caregiver burnout and stress, especially for those who care for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This way, both the patients and their caregivers can experience less stress when the patient’s mental or physical health begins to decline.

For those seniors who don’t need much medical care, there are even Zen Buddhist retirement communities popping up across the country. These Buddhist retirement communities are for older adults who simply want to live in a community with others who practice Buddhism. They cater to the teachings of Buddha and provide amenities like meditation, yoga, and classes for studying Buddhist texts.

Who Operates Buddhist Retirement Communities?

In many cases, the principles of Buddhism are incorporated as a program in facilities that have no direct association with the religion itself. That said, as this type of care becomes more popular, there are various groups opening Buddhist homes across the country. Buddhist homes provide seniors with an alternative to other facilities by offering personalized care that focuses on the mind and body. These types of facilities are often run by charities or non-profit groups.

How Much Does Buddhist Senior Living Cost?

Since the rise of Buddhist senior care facilities is rather new, there isn’t much research around costs. As with other retirement communities that are not as medically focused as others, much of the cost is out of pocket. Medicare and most private insurance plans do not pay for these communities or their care. As a result, Buddhist facilities may cost more than Catholic and Jewish senior care facilities, which often emphasize traditional medical treatment in tandem with religious services.

Did You Know: At Buddhist senior living facilities, you can often apply for direct financial aid if you don’t have the funds to pay for your care.

That said, there are Buddhist senior living communities that offer the same kind of care as most other senior care facilities. Their prices are on par with most other facilities. The median cost of assisted living care is around $4,500 per month in the U.S. When looking for a facility that incorporates Buddhist practices, it’s best to ask if religious services are part of the regular program that is offered.

Where Can I Find a Buddhist Retirement Community?

As we’ve mentioned, Buddhist senior living communities are fairly limited. If you practice Buddhism, it may be in the comfort of your own home. Consequently, you may not have a temple or community with whom you can congregate and ask for help. For this reason, it is important to reach out to Buddhist organizations or temples in your area to find potential leads on Buddhist senior living in your area. You can check out the following links for more help finding the right Buddhist senior care for you.

  • Areas Agencies on Aging: AAA is a non-profit agency that helps seniors locate the best senior care facilities in their area, including those that cater to specific religious convictions.
  • Enso Village: Enso Village is an upcoming Buddhist senior care community located in Healdsburg, California (officially opens in 2023).
  • Saraha: This Buddhist organization is located in Eugene, Oregon, with its own senior care facility.
  • The Buddhist Home: This organization specifically helps raise money to facilitate elder care communities centered on Tibetan Buddhist values.
  • Barre Center for Buddhist Studies: This is a great resource for learning more about Buddhist services, programs, and facilities across the country.
  • The Buddhist Centre: This organization offers elder care services under the umbrella of the Triratna Buddhist Centres located throughout the state of Florida.
  • Elder Ashram: Elder Ashram is an open-minded, nature-based senior care facility with roots in Buddhist values. The primary facility is located in Oakland, California.
  • Tara Home: This facility offers hospice care for Buddhist seniors nearing the end of their life (located in Soquel, California).
Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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  1. Pew Research Center. (2022). Religious Landscape Study – Buddhists.

  2. Mayo Clinic. (2022). Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity.