When people reach the age of retirement, many seek a satisfying combination of independence (freedom from human restriction) and dependence on God (love). Independent living in a Christian Science home offers the right mix. It is similar to other forms of assisted living, such as apartment-style senior communities or housing co-ops. These are sometimes called “active adult communities,” “retirement homes,” or “55+ communities.” Unlike these, a Christian Science residential care facility also offers meals and transportation, housekeeping, and supervised religious services and spiritual guidance.

Christian Science assisted living residential care facility is a small home or cottage with roommates and is overseen by a Christian Science nurse who provides care in accordance with the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy. The nurses are trained to assist people with bathing, dressing, washing laundry, helping with eating and moving around the home, and assisting with daily living tasks. They are never involved with administering medication, restraining an individual, or providing physical therapy or surgical treatment.

The residential care facilities are inspected by the Care Quality Commission, the body that regulates health and social care in England and Wales. They are classified as a Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institution (RNHCI). Medicare, the nation’s most popular health insurance program, has covered Christian Science nursing services at The Leaves since its inception. In order for Medicare to cover an individual’s expenses at the home, they must sign an election form and need a level of care that is covered by Medicare. The leaves’ Utilization Review Committee will periodically review each patient’s needs to make sure they are receiving a level of care that is appropriate for their condition.

In addition to the nursing services provided by The Leaves, there are other Christian Science residential care facilities that offer help with daily living and prayerful guidance. They are known as Sheltered Care. These include Arden Wood, which was founded in 1930 and is a home for those needing light assistance or gentle reminders around the clock.

Each of the homes are owned by a charitable organization. The board members who run the organizations are volunteers, and they rely on donations to meet the cost of care. They have not sought a profit or to be a tax-exempt entity.

Historically, a number of people who wanted to live independently but needed nursing care chose to use the Christian Science Visiting Nurse Service for London (domiciliary care). The home and domiciliary service were jointly regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Both services were inspected and found to be caring for people in a way that was consistent with the teachings of the Christian Science Church. People were given information about what the CS nurses could and could not provide before they started using Charton Manor or the CS Visiting Nurse Service for London (domiciliary services). Both providers were also registered managers, a title that indicates their legal responsibility to meet the standards set out in the Care Act 2008. They were both Christian Scientists.