There is much to consider when deciding on senior living options. For those looking for care centered on their Lutheran beliefs, faith-based senior care is available. While the level of care needed and cost are obvious factors, religion also plays a role for many older adults who want to remain spiritually connected to the Lutheran faith and community as they age. Luckily, there are religion-based senior living options for nearly all faiths that provide community and a place to worship. In most cases, you do not need to be a practicing member of the Lutheran community to receive care.
In this guide we'll go through what Lutheran senior care is, what makes it different from other senior living centers, who operates these facilities, how much it costs, and how to find a local one in your area.
What Is Lutheran Senior Care?
When people talk about Lutheran senior care, they are referring to communities and facilities affiliated with the Lutheran Church. Lutheranism, a branch of Christianity, is a way of life for many who practice this faith. For that reason, Lutheran senior care centers help older adults uphold a lifestyle that honors this by incorporating Lutheran values into their programs, environment, activities, and mission.
Did You Know: About 3.5 percent of Americans are Lutherans. The U.S. alone accounts for one-eighth of the world's Lutheran population.1
These places provide seniors with day-to-day interactions and a community that nurtures not just their physical and emotional health, but also their spiritual well-being. People of all faiths and beliefs are welcome at facilities affiliated with the Lutheran faith.
How Is Lutheran-Based Senior Living Different Than Non-Religious Care?
Since taking care of individuals’ spiritual needs is at the core of Lutheran-based senior care, many facilities have a full- or part-time chaplain available to hold weekly worship services. The chaplains also assist with prayer groups, Bible classes, and administering communion. Some facilities even have chapels on their campuses for residents who can't make it to regular services. Other spiritual amenities offered at some facilities include:
- Ecumenical devotions and prayer
- Singing of hymns and other musical performances
- Private pastoral care visits
- Faith-based support for caregivers
Since people of all faiths are welcome at Lutheran-based senior care facilities, there is also an effort to provide services for other denominations. For example, Catholic Mass is often offered as well. Many facilities encourage patients to voice their spiritual needs so they can be accommodated, especially if they are not able to get out on their own.
Did You Know: Religion is an important part of many seniors' lives. 48 percent of older adults ages 65-plus attend religious services at least once a week.2
Who Operates Lutheran-Based Senior Care Centers?
Lutheran nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other care centers are usually run by nonprofit organizations. These organizations are often faith-based Lutheran ministries. They take all profit the facility makes and use it for further care for patients. At these facilities, the board of directors consist of health care providers and clergy members who can assure that the mission of the Lutheran church is achieved through caregiving.
How Much Does Lutheran Senior Housing Cost?
When it comes to senior care, religious affiliation doesn't affect the cost. The amount you pay for senior housing usually depends on the type of care and room. More specialized care, including memory care, will cost more because it requires more caregiving.
Insurance may also help with the costs of Lutheran senior housing. Skilled nursing and rehabilitation are covered under Medicare, but assisted living is not typically covered. You may also be able to use Medicaid under state regulations, so check to see if it will provide for some of the cost.
You can look up the typical cost of senior care for your city or state to understand how much Lutheran senior living will cost. The pricing will most likely be the same, as senior care that includes religious services doesn't have a major impact on the cost.
Tips for Finding Lutheran Senior Living
If you're searching for Lutheran assisted living, nursing homes, day care, respite care, or other facilities near you, there are ways to find high-quality care that fits your needs. One resource is Lutheran Services in America (LSA). LSA is a not-for-profit organization that provides health and human services to seniors, children, immigrants, refugees, and the homeless. It is made up of over 300 Lutheran social ministry organizations that serve millions of people. We'd recommend calling LSA to learn if they offer any housing or care resources in your area.
You can also do an online search for local Lutheran senior communities to find the one nearest you. For instance, if you're looking for assisted living in Florida, go to a search engine and type “Lutheran assisted living in Florida.” The search results will lead you to local Lutheran senior communities.
Some local senior living centers may also provide religious services, even if they're not considered a Lutheran community, so call them to ask what services they offer. If you'd like a better idea of what the facilities look like and offer, you can visit the community's websites to view photos and testimonials from residents. Once you find some facilities, you can schedule an in-person tour to see if it's the right fit for you.
Where Can I Find Lutheran Senior Living?
We used the tips above to find some local Lutheran senior living communities across the country. Although this is only a small selection of Lutheran senior communities in the U.S., it can help you get a better sense of what to expect at these facilities. All Lutheran senior communities offer care rooted in Lutheran values, though some facilities offer different levels of care. You can use this list to begin your search for the facility that best suits your needs or the needs of a loved one.
- Lutheran Jamestown: Founded in 1886 in Jamestown, New York, Lutheran Jamestown serves both seniors and youth with special needs. Their mission is to offer care that supports the journey of life with compassion, dignity, and respect.
- National Lutheran Communities and Services: NLCS has a long history and started as a small cottage for seniors in Washington, D.C. in 1890. With communities located in both Maryland and Virginia, the organization is dedicated to providing seniors with wonderful choices for retirement living.
- Lutheran Senior Life: This organization offers senior care in its communities throughout western Pennsylvania. Their mission is to continually transform and elevate health, wellness, and social services for seniors.
- Lutheran Home: Since 1892, Lutheran Home has provided person-centered care in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Their mission is to empower people to live vibrant, grace-filled lives every day.
- Liberty Lutheran: Liberty Lutheran offers senior care that honors older adults' choices and well-being. Based in Ambler, Pennsylvania, they aim to faithfully serve individuals and families who are facing life-changing situations.
- Bethel Lutheran Home: Bethel Lutheran is an award-winning facility that offers a quiet residential community in Selma, California. Their goal is to promote the highest quality of life possible for seniors at reasonable prices they can afford.