Most seniors want to age in place in their homes for as long as possible. However, at some point, either they or a concerned family member may decide it's no longer feasible for them to live on their own. When it comes time to look for senior care, most aging adults and their families want to find a facility that is affordable, conveniently situated, and effectively supports their needs. For a growing number of older adults, this includes seeking a center that incorporates faith-based care.
Like those in other faith communities, Quakers, too, want to find a center that aligns with their religious beliefs. Fortunately, there are a number of Quaker senior care and assisted living communities throughout the country. But you may be wondering: How do I find them? How much do they cost? And, where can I get resource information? For answers to these and other questions, read on!
What Is Quaker Senior Living?
Quakers are members of a group with Christian roots that began in England in the 1650s. While some consider themselves Christian, others don't. They're formally referred to as either the Society of Friends or the Religious Society of Friends and number around 210,000 worldwide.1 Central to their faith is their belief that all people have a direct access to God without intermediaries. While anyone can worship on their own, the act of meeting together as a community is a critical component.2 Quakers have a deep concern for the spiritual aspect of each person and their senior care reflects that by instilling the pillars of their beliefs. This includes the Quaker value of compassion, which is intertwined with the care each resident receives in a Quaker senior care facility.
Did You Know: The name “Quakers” was originally considered a derisive nickname for this group who believed in the biblical passage that people should “tremble at the Word of the Lord.” They later embraced the term and have served a crucial role in the abolitionist and women's rights movements.3
How Is Quaker Assisted Living Different From Non-Faith Based Communities?
As with traditional senior care facilities, those catering to Quakers offer many of the same services and amenities, such as full meal plans, housekeeping and laundry service, fitness classes, and social activities. The key difference, though, is that the mission of Quaker senior care facilities is based on their faith's values, principles, and traditions. This means their offerings may include silent worship on Sundays and daily meditation. For those who live in a Quaker retirement community and don't have many medical restrictions, the Quaker value of giving back to the community is instilled through volunteer work like tutoring or taking part in faith-based activities. Because tolerance is part of the Quaker approach to life, Quakers are willing to learn from all other faiths and churches. It's not surprising, then, that their senior care facilities welcome other denominations. Some larger facilities even have an on-site nondenominational chapel for its residents.
Who Operates Quaker Senior Living Communities?
Quaker senior care facilities are usually run by nonprofit organizations with a board of directors. In keeping with their religion, the board's members take into account Quaker values such as simplicity and seeking peace with one another as part of their decision-making process.
Did You Know: While the numbers of Quaker members have been decreasing in Europe and the U.S., the movement has steadily grown in Africa, particularly in Kenya. It's estimated that nearly a third of all Quakers live in the East African country.4
How Much Does Quaker Senior Living Cost?
Generally speaking, there's little difference between traditional assisted living facility costs and their faith-based counterparts. As with the former, costs will primarily depend on the type of facility, location, and level of care. For instance, a Quaker-assisted living facility that offers specialized memory care may cost more than one that doesn't provide this service.
To give you a general sense of what to expect when pricing for senior living housing, the national monthly median cost can range from $1,690 for adult day care to $4,500 for an assisted living facility. If you want to stay in a private room in a nursing home, you can expect to pay an upward of $9,000.5 There are a few options you can consider to help cover costs, including personal savings, government funds, such as Social Security benefits, long-term care insurance, and veterans benefits, if you're a former military member. Medicare may pay for certain Medicare-covered health services for residents, although it won't pay for facility costs. Medicaid may also be a consideration, but eligibility requirements vary, depending on what state you live in. Check your state's Medicaid regulations for more information. Another option is to ask if the facility that you or your loved one is interested in provides financial aid assistance.
Did You Know: Famous celebs who are Quakers by ancestry or who currently practice include actor Judi Dench and musicians Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, and Dave Matthews.6
Tips for Finding Quaker Senior Living Communities
Finding and choosing the right Quaker senior living community for you or your family member may seem overwhelming at first. But with a little patience and some research (plus a few tips from us!), you're sure to find the best one for your needs. Start by reaching out to your inner circle of family, friends, and neighbors who share your beliefs. As the aging population continues to grow, more families may be either in the process of — or have recently undergone — their own facility search and could possibly shed some insight. They may even be able to provide some recommendations. You could also contact your local church office and/or nearby churches for any resources they may offer. You can also contact senior living communities in your area to see if they offer Quaker-specific services.
If you're computer savvy, you can Google “Quaker senior living community” in your city in your browser for a list of search results. If possible, ask to schedule a walking tour of those centers you're interested in. If you live in the New York or Philadelphia geographic regions, Quaker Aging Resources provides community resource information for local residents. Friends Services for the Aging is another information and referral service. Although headquartered in Pennsylvania, FSA is the umbrella for Friends senior service organizations in many areas nationwide.
Where Can I Find Quaker Retirement Communities?
Now that we've given you a few tips to get started, we want to help you even further by including a few Quaker senior living communities across the country. As previously mentioned, Quaker senior living facilities are welcoming to all. So whether you ascribe to the faith or not, you're bound to find a community that's rich in history and committed to treating each individual with value and respect. While there might not be a Quaker senior community listed in your city below, this list can give you an idea of what to expect at these facilities.
- Easthampton and Northampton, Massachusetts
Situated in western Massachusetts, Lathrop offers independent residential living in both Easthampton and Northampton regions. Residents have their choice between Northampton's proximity to its lively downtown or Easthampton's small-town feel.
- Kennett Square, Pennsylvania (headquarters)
Although the corporate office is based in Pennsylvania, Kendal operates facilities in nine states (including PA): CA, IL, MA, MD, NH, NY, PA, OH, and VA. The not-for-profit organization is made up of communities, programs, and services that advocate and empower aging adults.
- Medford, New Jersey
The Medford Leas independent living and continuing care community is home to approximately 600 residents living in almost 400 homes of varying sizes and designs. The campuses are nestled inside the Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve and feature over 90 activities and committees, events, and interest groups.
- Newberg, Oregon
Since opening their doors in 1961, Friendsview has offered residents a place to “learn and grow while living your values.” Located across the street from George Fox University, the Quaker senior living facility offers a vibrant retirement community, healthy dining, cultural programs, and lifelong learning opportunities at the university.
- Richmond, Indiana
Established as a not-for-profit in 1958, Friends Fellowship Community is a multi-faceted continuing care retirement community offering independent, assisted living, nursing care, and memory care services.
- Sandy Spring, Maryland
Located on 62 acres of gently rolling hills with nature trails, Friendshouse offers assisted living and skilled nursing and rehabilitation, in addition to residential living accommodations.
- Stanton, California
In 2014, after 50 years of service, Quaker Gardens changed their name to Rowntree Garden; along with their new name was a renewed commitment to providing a continuum of care. Their offerings include independent living, physical therapy, short- and long-term skilled nursing service and memory care.