Why a Smaller Senior Living Community is Beneficial

Posted on: March 28, 2022

Life in Otterbein’s small houses differs from most skilled nursing and long-term care settings. Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhoods are each made up of five small houses, with each small house featuring 12 private suites, home-cooked meals, and a consistent team of interdisciplinary staff to ensure all needs are met. 

A Small House Neighborhood Feels Like Family

Residents, referred to as elders, are offered skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care in small house neighborhoods — and they are encouraged to make their own decisions about personal care and daily schedules. 

You might have noticed one word consistently used to describe the Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhoods — and that’s “small.” Our small house neighborhoods have a close-knit feel, similar to a family. There are fewer elders, a core team of dedicated staff, and a smaller building to house everyone.

Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhood elder and staff member at the dining table.

Benefits of Living in a Smaller Senior Living Community

There are numerous benefits of living in a smaller senior living community.

1. The focus is on living life to the fullest.

Rather than focusing on medical care, the small house philosophy is centered on living each day to the fullest. Therapy and nursing services are provided as needed, but elders are encouraged to focus on what activities they prefer doing each day. There is one dining table for all to gather together for meals, and a living area and outdoor patio for recreation and relaxation.

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2. Visitors can be more involved in daily activities.

Visitors may take part in meals, meal preparation, and activities. Elders are even encouraged to host family celebrations in their small house community. Friends and family can also join their loved ones in living areas just as they would in their own home. A central hearth provides a sense of comfort and belonging to all.

3. Elders are encouraged to set their own schedules.

Elders are encouraged to make their own decisions about personal care and what their day will involve. They help plan menus and activities for their small house. There aren’t any set wake-up or bedtime routines — that’s a personal choice just as you would decide if living in your own home. 

Because fewer people live in this type of setting, a person-centered approach to care can be a top priority. This helps improve quality of life and instills a sense of purpose for our elders. In addition, each elder has a private suite with a bathroom, so it’s easy for them to stick to their own schedule.

Testimonial from Betty F., Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhood elder.

4. All areas of the small house belong to the elders.

In a larger senior living environment, you’ll likely have limited access to spaces throughout the community. Typically, kitchens and nurses’ stations alongside therapy rooms are off-limits. However, in a small house community, the space belongs to the elders and their guests.

You can think of the small house as a larger version of your own home, but with more bedrooms and larger living areas. Elders are free to move about as they please and enjoy the company of other elders and the team of caring staff.

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5. Relationships are nurtured in a family-like environment. 

The team of consistent and interdisciplinary staff is empowered to learn about each elder as an individual and provide personalized care. This helps to strengthen relationships between staff and elders. 

Likewise, due to the homelike atmosphere of family-style meals and shared living spaces, elders get to know each other better, forming a tight-knit community. This is contrasted with a typical nursing home environment, in which residents may feel isolated from their peers. Together, they can support and encourage one another, with life-enriching activities in a comfortable environment. 

Ready to Learn More about our Small House Neighborhoods? 

If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of living in a small community, click on the link below to discover additional details about Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhoods.

Learn More about Otterbein SeniorLife Neighborhoods