Skip to content

Finding Eco-Friendly Senior Living Communities

Green living for the golden years

If you’re looking to spend the golden years in a senior living community, there are several factors you’ll be taking into account before choosing which community or retirement home to live in. They include budget, location, number of staff, and requirements pertaining to your own needs. But this article isn’t going to cover those.

Instead, we’re going to specifically guide you towards choosing a retirement home/community that is environmentally friendly. If you’re reading this article, it’s presumably something you already want and care about. If not, stick around. You may be surprised.

Senior living communities are growing at an exceptional rate. Public demand has caused many of them to turn green. After all, this is the flower child generation we’re talking about. What you do need to keep in mind is that terms like “eco-friendly” are often used without evidence to back them up. This is what you need to look out for to make sure no one pulls the wool over your eyes.

There are two criteria you can look out for:

• LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, a widely recognized program awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council

• Government-issued energy star ratings

But the truth is, any community making an effort for the environment is worth looking at. You also need to keep in mind that your community – especially if it’s meant to be affordable – may not have the money required to make the changes required to obtain the above certification. (If they seem prosperous though, and if they’re charging you a lot, they should have it.)

Either way, there are certain specific initiatives you should look out for if you really want to live green.

• Do they have a community garden, and do they grow native plants?
• Is their food organic and sourced locally?
• Are their building materials produced locally and/or have they been recycled?
• How do they integrate water conservation with the building/community? For example:

  • What is their storm water management system?
  • Have they implemented water-efficient landscaping?
  • Have they utilized dual-flush toilets and sink faucet aerators?
  • How is the water used in the facilities re-used elsewhere?

• Do they have public transport options, and have they increased community walkability?
• What steps have they taken to achieve high standards of indoor air quality?
• How exactly do they use renewable energy sources?
• How do they encourage low carbon emissions in the neighborhood?
• Are their housekeeping products environmentally friendly?
• What percentage of their total waste is sent to the landfill?
• Do they use geothermal energy for heating and cooling?
• Do they support recycling programs and policies?
• Do they use energy-efficient lighting?
• Do they educate residents and visitors on green living?

If you find a senior living community that gives you satisfactory answers regarding most of the above criteria, you can be assured that it’s the right community for you. Let’s not forget the benefits that you, as a senior citizen, will receive from eco-friendly living. They include:

• Cleaner air to breathe in (an eco-friendly community will do its best to keep carbon emissions to a minimum).
• A healthier diet from organic, locally harvested, seasonal produce
• Spaces to walk around and sit outdoors
• The mental boost that you get from looking at trees and gardens and flowers.

A simple Google search will help you create the initial shortlist. After that, you can conduct a series of phone interviews with the facilities you’ve shortlisted. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three (taking factors like budget into account), you’ll be well on your way to helping the earth – as well as yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *