Residents of a nursing home 60 years ago wouldn’t associate the word “lifestyle” with their surroundings. Today, some senior living communities resemble resorts in their appearance, location, service, social atmosphere, and amenities.

What are some of the lifestyle elements senior adults should look for when choosing where and how they want to live after leaving their homes?


A number of senior living communities today are equipped to support many health issues. Medical supervision and care extends from independent living to assisted living and skilled nursing and includes care for residents requiring memory support. Some senior care organizations, like Bethesda, offer all these levels of care choices in their communities.

However, some senior communities are also taking a step forward and offering a more holistic approach, which includes providing a sense of emotional well-being, the ability to be active and join in social activities and have interpersonal relationships with other people. Jennifer Popp, Administrator for Bethesda Southgate, a skilled nursing home community in South St. Louis County, says, “Our skilled nursing community is very much about living because it is home for our residents, so we are committed to offering a lot of other resources in addition to quality medical care.”

Jen encourages family members and seniors to tour at least four or five different senior communities. “Each one will have a different feel and culture,” she says. “What is right and feels like home for one person may not be the right fit for another.”


There are plenty of opportunities at Bethesda for residents to bond, share experiences, and revel in the moment through participating in activities, including:

  • Crafts
  • Exercise classes
  • Games
  • Music sessions
  • Movie nights
  • Painting classes
  • Celebrations
  • Trips to local sites and attractions
  • Day-trip tours
  • Shopping trips
  • Special events

When Robyn Duffey, Bethesda Director of Sales for Senior Living, talks about independent living in one of Bethesda’s communities, she often uses the word “opportunity.”

“Along with opportunities to actively explore and enjoy life with others, the community offers numerous services and resources for senior adults,” she says.

Bethesda offers all of the activities listed above, and other amenities at various sites in the Bethesda system, which include:

  • Gardens and walking paths
  • Outdoor pool and patio
  • Lounges
  • Private dining
  • Libraries
  • Guest suites
  • Theater and multipurpose rooms

These amenities provide the opportunity to make connections. “Residents not only acquire new friends, they often reconnect with former neighbors or colleagues they didn’t realize already lived there,” Robyn says.


You can have amazing amenities, beautiful surroundings, and state-of-the-art health care, but what really differentiates one senior community from another is the people living and working in it.

This includes independent living resident Jim Thielker, and his wife, Judy, who live at Bethesda Terrace. When they moved in, Judy made it her mission to memorize the first name of everyone she met, and Jim employed his musical talents by purchasing an electric keyboard and rolling it into the activity center to play hymns, show tunes, and Big Band songs.

It also includes staff members like Allison Givens, a Social Worker with Bethesda Hospice Care, who realized how much one of her residents missed the Greek food that her mother used to prepare and arranged for a Greek restaurant to deliver some food at no charge to the community. “I knew what a treat it would be for her, how much she would enjoy it, and what wonderful memories this meal would create,” Allison says.

The most important and invaluable difference that separates one senior living community from another are the connections that form between everyone there.

Contact us today to schedule a tour of any of our beautiful senior living communities across the St. Louis area.