Best Senior Living Communities

Find the ideal retirement home

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. You can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Senior living communities can be small or large, cost-effective or expensive, and vary based on amenities, level of care, and dining options that are available. Depending on the individual community, they are for adults aged 55 or 65 and older.

The search for the best senior living community for you or your loved one can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, particularly if you're looking in multiple locations. We looked at more than 10 such communities across the country, including independent living and assisted living options, and compared them based on cost, location, and services. Continue reading for our roundup of the best senior living communities.

Best Senior Living Communities of 2021

Best Overall : Masonic Village at Elizabethtown


Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Why We Chose It: When looking for a retirement community that has everything to offer and then some, Masonic Village fits the bill with its 1,400 acres of farmland, multiple dining options, numerous activity options, and much more.

What We Like
  • Over 30 different clubs and activities

  • All levels of care available, from skilled nursing to independent living

  • Seven restaurants

  • Situated on 1,400 acres of farmland

What We Don't Like
  • Entrance fee

  • Remote location, small town

  • Far from large hospitals

Masonic Village is located in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles south-east of the state capital of Harrisburg. The large campus is situated on 1,400 acres of beautiful farmland. It has all the services you may need, including a pharmacy, rehabilitation center, skilled nursing, in-home support, meals, and recreational activities.

Recreation options are endless, with more than 30 unique clubs and activities to keep you busy. You can spend your day in the art studio, at the fitness facility, at one of the three on-site pools, or in the non-denominational chapel. There's a shuttle to take you into town, although Elizabethtown in itself is quite small with less than 12,000 people. An Amtrak station is close by. The campus is fairly self-contained and there are many amenities such as a bank, convenience store, farmers market, computer lab, gift shops, hair salons, mail service, and libraries on campus. There are also seven restaurants and excellent culinary services.

Masonic Village has a monthly option and an entrance fee option, and monthly service rates are $1,919-$4,355, depending on your plan. There is everything from studio apartments to large townhomes and even stand-alone cottages.

Masonic Village reminds us of a fancy university campus, without the classes and exams. If you are looking to escape the pace of a big city and want to retire in beautiful Pennsylvania, then Masonic Village is a great choice.

Best for Cold Weather : The Clare


The Clare

The Clare

Why We Chose It: If you enjoy cold weather and big city living but want to live in an upscale independent living apartment, the Clare in Chicago is our top pick.

What We Like
  • Located in a busy city

  • Excellent dining choices

  • Large floor plans

  • Many extracurricular activities

What We Don't Like
  • High-rise building

  • Limited outdoor space

The Clare is located in downtown Chicago in the heart of the gold coast. It is steps away from shops, dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions, and it has a lot to offer. The Clare has spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Services include licensed nursing and care staff to help with daily tasks, medication management, health checks, spa services, and a robust activity program. The property also has assisted living apartments, memory care, and skilled nursing. This continuum of care is important for those who want access to a higher level of care in the future should their health decline.

The Clare has a well-equipped fitness center, indoor pool, fitness classes, multiple dining options, and many outdoor patios and terraces. Several apartments have views of the city and the luxury design and décor will make you feel like you’re in a high-end hotel. Reviews online state that the staff is attentive and well trained and the facility has earned multiple 5-star Medicare ratings. 

The Clare is close to hospitals, doctor's offices, and a major airport. If you or your loved one wants big city living with all the conveniences of an upscale facility, then the Clare is a great choice. Pricing information is not available online.

Best for Extracurricular Activities : Shell Point Retirement Community


Shell Point Retirement Community

Shell Point Retirement Community

Why We Chose It: Best for active seniors, Shell Point Retirement Community is located on 700 acres along Florida's Caloosahatchee River and offers many extracurricular activities to keep you busy.

What We Like
  • Six distinctive neighborhoods

  • Resort-style living

  • Located on the water in Florida

What We Don't Like
  • Large community

  • High entry fees

Shell Point Retirement Community is a large resort-style community located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is designed for active seniors who enjoy the outdoors and want all the amenities of a 5-star resort. There are six different neighborhoods and all levels of care are offered, from skilled nursing to independent living. The beautifully designed units, which range from apartments to single-family homes, provide all the services needed to continue to live full and productive lives. Services include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), medication, meals, housekeeping, and a variety of recreational, social, and spiritual programs. The community also has screening rooms, billiard rooms, activity and craft rooms, as well as sunrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Activities include boating, fishing, sailing, golf, tennis, fitness centers, outdoor pools, shuffleboard, and miles of walking trails. The variety of weekly class topics includes painting, ceramics, Pilates, yoga, gardening, and woodworking. Regardless of what you are interested in, there are many options to keep you busy.

Unlike some other retirement communities on our list, Shell Point has a high upfront entrance fee in addition to monthly maintenance fees. Those entrance fees range from $110,000 to over $700,000, but many are refundable based on the contract you sign with the community. Although it is one of the most expensive options on our list, the value is clear when it comes to what Shell Point has to offer.

Best for Warm Weather : Maravilla


Maravilla

Maravilla

Why We Chose It: If you’re looking for resort-style living in a warm and temperate climate, Maravilla in Santa Barbara, California, is a great option.

What We Like
  • Located in Santa Barbara, California

  • Gorgeous resort-style campus

  • Many levels of care

What We Don't Like
  • No skilled nursing facility

  • Not a very walkable area outside campus

  • Expensive

Maravilla, owned by SRG senior living, is an independent, assisted living, and memory care facility located in Santa Barbara, California. Its upscale amenities, excellent food, and beautiful grounds make you feel like you are at a luxury resort. You can choose from independent living condominiums or apartments, assisted living apartments, or a memory care unit. One-, two-, and three-bedroom residences are available.

Amenities include two restaurants, a clubhouse and lounge, a fully equipped fitness center, a heated pool, movie theatres, a library, a billiards room, and a salon. There are weekly activities you can take part in and many opportunities to meet others in the community, which can help promote brain health in older adults. Reviews online state that the staff is attentive and caring and the meals are excellent. All SRG communities are accredited by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), which isn’t required by federal or state guidelines but has high standards for accreditation.

Although SRG communities offer low upfront costs, you must pay a monthly residence fee, which is higher at Maravilla than other facilities in the area. This fee includes all amenities, two meals per day, utilities, housekeeping, on-call services, and transportation. Those who require a higher level of care will incur additional charges. Although some monthly fees are tax-deductible, the tax burden in California is higher than in other states. Overall, if you're looking for a beautiful place to live in a warm and temperate climate close to the beach, Maravilla is a great place to retire.

Best for Low Cost : Provident Crossings Retirement Community


Provident Crossing Retirement Community

Provident Crossing Retirement Community

Why We Chose It: We chose Provident Crossing as the best low-cost community because it is located in tax-friendly Texas and offers an affordable, all-inclusive monthly package option.

What We Like
  • All-inclusive

  • Low cost of living

  • Close to Austin, Texas

What We Don't Like
  • Fewer amenities than other communities

  • No assisted living

The Provident Crossing Retirement Community is located in Round Rock, Texas, one of the least expensive places to retire in the U.S. as listed by Kiplinger in 2019. The cost of living for retirees is 5.9% lower than the national average and Texas is a tax-friendly state for retirees. This suburb of Austin gives you all the amenities of a large city; there are many dining options in town and the local art and culture scene is growing in this suburb of Austin gives you all the amenities of a large city. Provident is an all-inclusive retirement community for individuals age 55 and older that offers studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include full kitchens in each apartment, a 150-seat theatre, a 24-hour fitness center, social activities, and a wellness program.

Prices range from around $3,000 to about $4,800 per month. The all-inclusive rent includes 24-hour professional staff; an emergency alert system; a dining program that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner; room service; weekly housekeeping; transportation; and valet. It is part of Resort Living Communities, which owns and manages communities all over the country. Reviews online state that the staff is friendly and accommodations are clean and well kept. We liked the company's travel incentive that allows you to stay at any of its sister properties free of charge.

Overall, if you’re looking for an inexpensive city to retire in and an all-inclusive living package, Provident Crossing is a great choice.

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a senior living community, it is important to consider things like location, floor plans available, amenities and services provided, and weather Many senior living communities also have multiple dining options, leisure activities, housekeeping services, and other amenities to allow you to live as independently as possible as you age.

Some communities have a continuum of care and offer independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and home health services. We liked that some communities have stand-alone homes, while others have a variety of floor plans to suit your needs and budget. Pricing varies greatly, plus some states are more tax-friendly to seniors than others. Many of the communities mentioned are luxury communities and are comparable in terms of amenities and floor plans. It is best to first decide where you’d like to live and then narrow your search from there.

Compare Providers

Best Senior Living Communities
Senior Living Community Why we chose it  Location
Masonic Village at Elizabethtown Best Overall Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 
The Clare  Best for Cold Weather  Chicago, Illinois 
Shell Point Retirement Community Best for Extracurricular Fort Myers, Florida 
Maravilla Best for Warm Weather  Santa Barbara, California
Provident Crossings Retirement Community Best for Low Cost  Round Rock, Texas 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Senior Living Community?

Senior living communities are designed for individuals over the ages of 55 or 65 and cater to those who want assistance with things such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities. These communities offer many living options such as independent living homes and assisted living apartments and encourage their residents to remain active in their senior years.

What Are the Costs Associated With a Senior Living Community?

Most senior living communities charge a monthly fee that includes rent, housekeeping, and occasionally meals and other services. Some upscale communities also charge an entrance fee that can range from $500 to over $700,000. You may have to pay additional fees each month for extra services such as personal care or additional meals.

Are There Extracurricular Activities Offered at a Senior Living Community?

One of the best things about a senior living community is the variety of extracurricular activities available. Many communities offer amenities that are covered in residents' monthly fees, such as a fitness facility, library, social events, movie showings, and community outings.

What Are the Benefits of a Senior Living Community?

Senior living communities offer you the luxury of living in an upscale community without the hassle of having to manage household tasks such as cleaning, meal preparation, and gardening. Many communities offer additional services such as help with ADLs, in-home therapy, and fitness training.

How We Chose the Best Senior Living Communities

We looked at over 10 senior living communities throughout the United States and compared them based on cost, location, and amenities provided. We excluded communities that do not have an independent living option or have limited reviews online. We looked for communities that offer a variety of different activities and have aesthetically pleasing grounds and living options. The best senior living communities offer a variety of floor plans, levels of care, and many different amenities to keep you busy.

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kiplinger. Texas in retirement: how all 50 states tax retirees.