What is a Resident-Driven Community?

Posted on: June 16, 2022

This blog was originally published in 2021. It was updated in June 2022.

At Otterbein Granville, we believe community is much more than geographic proximity. A true community is about relationships, and one of the remarks we hear most frequently from visitors is that ours is a very welcoming community. 

Otterbein Granville: Resident-Driven Values

As an Otterbein community, one of our topmost values is this: “To enhance the quality of life and vitality of those we serve, and to foster a sense of community.”

Otterbein Granville takes great pride in being a resident-driven community. There are four major principles that help us maintain this aspect of our community. 


Resident input has been a part of our DNA since our founding in 2005. According to our bylaws, two Otterbein Granville residents are selected annually to serve on our Board of Directors with full voice and vote, and thus quite literally have a say in the governance of our community.

Members of our Board are charged with assuring that the organization is living into its mission to serve all residents with dignity, respect, and compassion. This board of local civic leaders takes their duty seriously, and it is one of many responsibilities which differentiate nonprofits like Otterbein from private, for-profit organizations. The primary duty of for-profit organizations is to the owners and shareholders, who normally are invested in the business of senior living to earn a profit.

In addition to the two resident Board members, the democratically elected President of the Otterbein Granville Resident Association (or OGRA for short) also has a voice in community affairs. The OGRA President attends the Board meetings; this practice provides input, transparency, and accountability within the organization, and between the administration and the residents.

Related: The Best Life Lesson? Keep Learning at Otterbein Granville >>


A cornerstone of our resident-led community, OGRA is the forum whereby independence and self-sufficiency areOtterbein Granville resident taking photos with her dog nurtured. Membership is automatic for all residents, and it is the vehicle used to build common bonds among and between members.

OGRA’s role is to encourage, facilitate, and fund resident activities, programs, and events. Members determine virtually all communal aspects of life here at OtterbeinGranville, including social, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual activities, by forming committees that represent various interests and affinity groups. Freedom of choice for residents is highly valued. We have a list right now of over 30 committees, and residents can sign up to participate in anything from Art to Zen, or nothing at all.

Are you an introvert who gains energy through solitude? Nearly half of our 94-acre campus is purposefully undeveloped to provide a chance for residents to spend time in nature, and numerous trails offer options. Take a walk in the woods or head to our pond that supports fishing. There is even a Native American burial mound on-site!

In addition, we believe our independent residents deserve to be treated with the presumption of competence, intelligence, awareness, and the right to be involved in decisions regarding their care. Residents have both voice and choice regarding their own health care matters.

Related: Get Motivated! How to Stay Active at Any Age >>


Quality of life considers not just the physical environment, but also the social atmosphere. Residents here truly like one another and enjoy spending time together, whether sharing a meal, attending cultural events, or absorbing companionable silence in the library. We foster an open, affirming atmosphere featuring mutual respect, dignity, caring, and trust for all.

As a non-profit organization, we find employees who are following their vocational interests (whether as nurses, aides, housekeepers, dining staff, and more) due to a desire to nurture others. Our residents are protected from neglect, exclusion, discrimination, and physical or psychological abuse. We value our diversity and find that learning others’ points of view strengthens and enriches our community.

Related: Enjoy All Your Favorite Things About Home at Otterbein Granville — Plus Extra Perks >>


Our inclusive, welcoming life plan community appeals to individuals who will both benefit from and contribute to the overall life of the community. Our human need to be connected to other people of all ages is valued, and it’s encouraged through committees, mutual assistance, and teamwork. Community engagement is a way of life for residents and employees alike. Everyone has a role to play here! 

Otterbein Granville residents talking and laughingEsprit de corps develops through working and playing together, both on- and off-campus. We seek to enhance the quality of life of those most active individuals as well as to carefully preserve the quality of life for those who are most frail. We believe that the later stages of life still hold opportunities for growth and development. Through a shared community life, residents are encouraged to invest their time, talents, and resources for the benefit of all.

Research shows that older adults often suffer from isolation and loneliness, but residents of life plan communities tend to have better overall health and wellness than others. Does living in a resident-driven community offer advantages to our residents? Yes! Our experience supports the conclusion that aging well is an achievable goal for those whose day-to-day activities are grounded in core values and principles, including Voice, Choice, Caring, and Sharing.

Related: Hidden Joys of Life at Otterbein Granville >>

How Can Independent Living Benefit You? 

If you think you’re too young for independent living, think again! Start living a vibrant retirement life at Otterbein Granville and take advantage of all benefits of a resident-driven community. Learn more about our community and see what we have to offer. 

Learn More About Otterbein Granville