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The Complete Guide to Healthy Senior Living in the Des Moines Metro Area accent-12

When you think of the phrase “healthy living,” do you think of running marathons, getting enough sleep, and eating plenty of vegetables? Now, what about when you think of “living well”? That changes the direction, allowing you to think about more than just moving your body and fueling it with nutritious foods.

When you adjust your perspective to think about overall well-being instead of just health, you are reminded of the value that friendships, spiritual connections, meaningful hobbies, and volunteerism bring to your life. After all, life is so much more than marathons and vegetables (though movement and healthy eating are certainly part of the well-being puzzle). It’s about connecting to others, doing what you love, and feeling valued and cared for.

Here at WesleyLife, we believe that well-being looks different for everyone based on their abilities, preferences, and passions. We believe that feeling great has more to do with a balanced lifestyle full of the things and people you love. Maybe you can relate, or maybe you are curious about what healthy living as you age can look like. Luckily, you can find some of the most cutting-edge community and adult living programming happening here in Iowa.

What does active senior living look like? It looks exciting.

Download a PDF version of this guide by filling out this form, or keep scrolling to read.

The Complete Guide to Healthy Senior Living in the Des Moines Metro Area cover

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senior woman gardening

What Is Healthy Living for Seniors?

Healthy senior living is about embracing a holistic approach to well-being. Well-being encompasses more than just caring for your body. It’s also about caring for your mind, spirit, and soul. In fact, well-being means being as attentive to your mental health and social connections as you are to your physical health.

Why Is Healthy Living Important?

Focusing on overall well-being is a shift in perspective for many of us, but it is well worth the change in view. Once you experience a lifestyle full of opportunities to enhance different types of wellness — physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual — you will enjoy finding new ways to include those areas in your daily life.

Without balance, your physical and mental health can suffer. The National Institute on Aging reports that social isolation and feelings of loneliness can cause serious health complications. Adults who feel lonely and isolated are more likely to experience rapid cognitive decline, heart disease, and depression.

When you focus on all aspects of your overall health, you can reduce your risk of mental and physical disease.

When Is Healthy Living Important?

Here’s the good news: It’s never too early to begin thinking about how to make the second half of your life the best half. Finding fulfillment and wellness as you age begins with finding ways to pursue your passions and stay connected with others, no matter your age or interests. In fact, thriving, purposeful, and healthy habits can lead to a longer, more fulfilled life.

This is your chance to start.

Do you feel it might be too late to pick up a new passion, hobby, or habit? It’s not! It’s never too late to focus on your health and well-being and find new ways to enjoy life.


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Explore Des Moines

Take advantage of fresh air, sunshine, and everything the four seasons have to offer here in Des Moines. Are you looking for a new trail or an opportunity to get out in nature? How about group exercise classes? Here are a few spots to try.

Walking and Hiking Trails

  • Brown’s Woods: This forest preserve in southwestern Des Moines has plenty of oak- and hickory-lined trails. Lace-up your shoes and take a hike (the autumn colors are stunning), or try your hand at geocaching.
  • Strasser Woods State Preserve: With 40 acres to explore, you’ll find yourself returning here time and time again. Foraging for nuts, fruits, and edible mushrooms is popular in this area.
  • Gray’s Lake Park: Relax watching the water, stroll on the well-maintained path, or rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.
  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: Enjoy looking at seasonal plants and flowers, take botanical classes, or even join a book club.
  • Raccoon River Park: Blue Heron Lake is a part of Raccoon River Park — the “crown jewel” of the West Des Moines Park system. Grab your tackle box to fish or take advantage of the 500-foot-long swimming beach.

Group Exercise and Natural Movement

  • Disc Golf: Have you tried disc golf? Des Moines has four courses for anyone looking to learn something new, get their steps in, and maybe meet a new friend.
  • Cycling: Des Moines is a bicyclist’s dream, with more than 60 miles of paved trails that connect to more than 550 miles throughout central Iowa. Try out any of the trails for exercise or just to get from here to there.
  • Yoga: From June through September, Yoga in the Park is a popular and free opportunity to connect with others.
  • Snowshoeing: Try this creative way to keep moving during the winter months. Rent snowshoes from the Jester Park Outdoor Recreation and Wellness Center and enjoy them just about anywhere in Polk County.
  • Swimming: Love to swim? The YMCA of Greater Des Moines has a Masters team, allowing you to find camaraderie while improving your swimming ability.


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Connect and Create in Des Moines

Sometimes all it takes to meet a new friend is to share an experience. Des Moines has many social programs, meaning you can find plenty of ways to connect with others. If you love to write, draw, sculpt, or craft — or if you just like to appreciate the creativity of others — you can find opportunities here in Des Moines as well.

Community Organizations

  • Des Moines Public Library: Libraries are an excellent place to immerse yourself in community life. The Des Moines Public Library features social and educational programming for all ages.
  • American Legion: Veterans should consider joining the American Legion. This community-service program has posts throughout Iowa, including the Des Moines area.
  • Des Moines Women’s Club: Women may enjoy participating in this local organization, which aims to preserve Hoyt Sherman Place and support arts and education throughout the city.

The Arts


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Reflect and Learn in Des Moines

Hundreds of denominational choices in the Des Moines area make it easy to find spiritual fellowship. Want to expand your knowledge? There are ample local opportunities to find a new class or hobby in Des Moines as well.

Spiritual Fellowship

Courses and Hobbies


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How Do Senior Living Communities Enhance Well-Being?

Senior living in Des Moines can give you ways to connect with others and meet personal well-being goals for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Communities make this balanced approach to well-being a part of daily life, giving older adults the opportunity to participate in a yoga class before volunteering at their favorite organization or catching up with neighbors over a glass of wine. In Des Moines, senior living communities provide opportunities and experiences that enhance wellness and help healthy older adults flourish.

In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle choices and — in some cases — providing clinical support, senior living communities offer an environment where older adults can flourish.

Senior living communities are nothing like you might expect if you haven't visited one in decades. Today’s communities are busy places where neighbors wave hello, grab a coffee, and go for a walk before breakfast. Communities also offer convenience, with all the resources and amenities you need right down the hall or across the street.

Opportunities to enhance well-being and enjoy life are available at every turn.


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The WesleyLife Approach to Well-Being

WesleyLife has been serving the Des Moines area for decades. We are more than 75 years old, but our story of serving adults throughout the city and beyond is just beginning. We are championing a revolution in the experience of aging. We create transformative experiences that enhance a sense of purpose and well-being in the lives of those we serve.

We provide opportunities for health and well-being for adults throughout the Des Moines area. Our expertise goes well beyond exceptional care and support. We create experiences that foster friendships, new learning, spiritual growth, and more.

Our approach is different from traditional senior living. We believe that everyone — no matter where they live or what challenges they face — deserves the chance to live a fulfilling and healthy life. Our commitment to serving adults in our communities and beyond ensures residents of Des Moines always have the support and resources they need to meet their well-being goals.

Our WellAhead program helps adults throughout Des Moines find new and exciting ways to pursue what we call the Core4. These are four habits based on research from Blue Zones, or areas of the world in which people live the healthiest and longest lives.

Move Naturally

Movement is already a part of your day, and you don’t need intense cardio classes to increase your well-being. Residents in Communities for Healthy Living find ways to move their bodies naturally throughout the day, making exercise more sustainable and enjoyable.

Communities make movement available every day, whether you are strolling on the walking paths, swimming laps in the pool, or taking a group exercise class in the fitness center.

Have the Right Outlook

Research tells us that having a reason to get up in the morning can help us live as many as seven years longer! Having a sense of purpose and looking forward to daily routines and special events can add years to your life.

Exceptional communities like ours know the importance of purpose-driven programming. You can find ways to volunteer within the community or spread your influence to your favorite organization in the city.

Eat Wisely

You are what you eat, meaning when you eat a diet full of nutritious and comforting foods, you will find yourself with more energy to do what you love.

You can find cooking demonstrations, classes, and even lectures about eating well in almost any adult living community. Don’t feel like cooking? Head to one of the campus dining options to enjoy a meal thoughtfully prepared by trained chefs.

Be Connected

Creating friendships and relationships with others can be the key to a long and healthy life. Find people who challenge, support, and grow with you.

It’s so much easier to meet new friends when you are sharing meals, attending the same programs, and living life together. Communities like ours are a hub for lifelong friendships between neighbors.

WesleyLife Services

We serve adults throughout the area, whether they live at home in Des Moines or in one of our exceptional Communities for Healthy Living.

When it comes to senior living, we offer:

  • Independent Living, which is all about choices — of floor plans, delicious menu items, and even the services that will make your life enriching and enjoyable. Senior independent living in Des Moines is about joy, freedom, and new experiences in an all-inclusive and maintenance-free environment.
  • Assisted Living, which offers all the amenities and services of being on an all-inclusive campus, but with the support you need to feel your best.
  • Memory Support, which offers compassionate care in a comfortable setting specifically for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
  • Long-Term Care, which gives residents skilled care in a community where connections matter the most.
  • Short-Term Rehabilitation, which provides the therapy and support residents who have recently been hospitalized need to recover before confidently returning home.

Our services aren’t just for those who live in our communities. Because we believe the pursuit of well-being can begin at any time, we also provide support to those in the greater Des Moines community:

  • Home Care brings healthcare and related services right into your home, allowing you to stay where you feel most comfortable and get the support you need to feel your best.
  • Meals on Wheels ensures a hot lunch is delivered right to your door by our team of volunteers each weekday.
  • Adult Day through WesleyLife ensures individuals who need support and engagement during the day receive it in a safe and friendly environment.


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About Our Des Moines Metro Communities

Curious about what life can be like in a WesleyLife community? We welcome you to visit any of our senior living communities in the greater Des Moines area for a personalized tour.

Brio of Johnston

Just 20 minutes from Des Moines, Brio fits right into the neighborhood atmosphere. With beautiful grounds and friendly neighbors, you have everything you need to enjoy an amazing day.

Our Amenities

  • State-of-the-art wellness center
  • Credentialed fitness professionals
  • Library
  • Walking trails
  • Pet recreation area
  • Chapel
  • Salon
  • General store
  • Onsite banking
  • And more!

Our Lifestyle Options

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Support
  • Long-Term Care
  • Short-Term Rehabilitation


It’s no wonder West Des Moines has been on more than one “best-places-to-live” list. The perfect mix between the bustle of the city and the peace of nature makes West Des Moines the perfect spot for Edgewater. Here, residents are close to shopping, numerous dining options, and live entertainment.

Our Amenities

  • Concierge services
  • Beauty and barber shop
  • Spa services
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Event center
  • Art studio
  • Indoor saltwater pool
  • General store
  • And more!

Our Lifestyle Options

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Support
  • Long-Term Care
  • Short-Term Rehabilitation

Wesley on Grand

Located right in the heart of Des Moines, this vibrant community feels like a retreat from the city, complete with beautiful gardens and walking paths. Residents enjoy a neighborhood with plenty of things to do, see, and explore.

Our Amenities

  • Outdoor patio
  • Gardens
  • Dining venues and catering
  • Fitness center
  • Access to the Furbush Walking Trail
  • Professional salon
  • Theater
  • Computer lab
  • And more!

Our Lifestyle Options

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Support
  • Long-Term Care
  • Short-Term Rehabilitation

The Village

At The Village, you’ll enjoy a thriving community spread across a beautiful 37-acre campus. Plus, you can experience all the best parts of living near a college, from free classes to musical performances to tennis courts.

Our Amenities

  • Relationship with Simpson College
  • Walking paths
  • Flower and vegetable gardens
  • Meditation garden
  • Solarium and chapel
  • Dining options
  • Woodworking shop
  • Professional salon
  • Outpatient therapy services
  • And more!

Our Lifestyle Options

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Support
  • Long-Term Care
  • Short-Term Rehabilitation


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Senior Living in Des Moines: What’s Next?

Senior living in Des Moines is full of variety and excitement. This area is the perfect place to experiment with a whole new view of healthy aging as you make balanced well-being a part of your plans. Spending time exploring the outdoors, moving your body, socializing with others, feeding your creativity, nourishing your soul, and learning new things are all vital parts of investing in your health and happiness.

WesleyLife can help you prioritize your well-being and transform the aging experience. Ready to connect to new opportunities available with WesleyLife? We would love to be a part of your well-being team.

Download a PDF version of this guide by filling out this form!

The Complete Guide to Healthy Senior Living in the Des Moines Metro Area cover