New Tool Measures Life Satisfaction in Congregate Settings

A measurement tool could help providers of long-term services and supports determine whether their new residents are thriving or whether they need more help in transitioning to a congregate living setting. The tool was tested in 2010 by researchers at the International Longevity Center (ILC) in cooperation with Atria Senior Living, a provider of retirement and assisted living communities in 27 states.

Twenty-eight residents of an Atria community in New York participated in the study by answering 6 sets of questions designed to gauge their overall satisfaction with life, and to ascertain whether they:

  • Viewed their life conditions as positive or negative
  • Were mastering their new environment
  • Had a sense of purpose in life and were developing positive relationships.
Residents answered researcher questions on 2 occasions, 5 months apart.


According to “Life Satisfaction and Objective Well Being in Transitioning into Senior Living Communities,” researchers found that the 6 tools they used to measure life satisfaction among residents were valid. In addition, they found that study participants exhibited significant improvements on 4 of the 6 measures between their first and second interviews. Finally, researchers concluded that more congregate settings should regularly measure life satisfaction among residents.

“Greater longevity is routinely accompanied by a high risk of encountering various kinds of loss, each with potentially dire psychological consequences,” concludes the report. “It is imperative that psychological well-being be monitored regularly so that, where necessary, either preemptive or corrective interventions can be introduced.”