Considering Moving to a Retirement Home?

seniors' home

Retirement Home


You could start in an apartment-type unit that includes a kitchen and bath; then if needed, move to an area of the home that houses medical staff and equipment.

By: Natasha Morgan

If you’re considering a retirement home for yourself or your parents, there is a certain amount of homework you need to do before making a decision.

Start looking before you actually need to move to a retirement home.

Many homes have a waiting list and you want to go to your first choice. Most places allow you to remain at the top of the list if you’re not quite ready for the move.

Choose a location near places you love to visit.

You’ll want to be in a place that can be reached by public transit so you can maintain your independence. Taking a bus to visit family and friends gets you more invitations as they don’t have the bother of picking you up each time. Shopping and visits to the library won’t wear you out if you have a short trip.

Visit several homes.

Go back to ones that interested you before you choose. Visit at different times of the day to see how activities are conducted. If you’ve started early enough, you can visit in different seasons to get a full understanding of life in that particular home.

Think about the future.

You might be healthy and active right now but a few years down the road, your health may not be as good. Some homes have different levels of care. You could start in an apartment-type unit that includes a kitchen and bath; then later, if need be, move to an area of the home that houses medical staff and equipment.

Visit the recreational facilities.

A home that offers exercise and social programs will keep your body and mind active. Match your interests with those offered at the home.

What and when do you like to eat.

When it comes to restaurants, you’ll find that the menus can vary between gourmet meals to basic home cooking. Ask to see menus and look for for quality and variety. Check out meal times. If you’re living in your own unit and like to cook, you may visit the restaurant only occasionally. Many homes allow you to bring guests for dinner at a small cost.

Clean living.

When visiting a prospective home, check for cleanliness. Look at stairwells, corners of the kitchen and cafeteria. Poke around places such as closets, toilets and bathrooms. Walk around the grounds to see what is there and how well everything is maintained.

Qualified staff.

Ask who is on duty 24/7 and how to access them in case of an emergency. Do they check on you regularly and are they familiar your medical needs? Ask to see the credentials of medical staff.

What about laundry and other housekeeping items?

Once again, it will depend on the type of unit you will occupy. Most homes will provided regular laundry and cleaning service.

Ask questions. Lots of them.

Prepare a list of questions ahead of time and on your visit, ask the staff . Request references from professional organizations, families of residents and anyone connected to the home.

Trust your instincts.

What feeling do you get as you enter the building? Is the staff friendly and caring? Do residents appear well looked after and content? Talk to them and find out what they like about the place and how they like living there. Are they happy with the staff? As you can see, there is a great deal to think about before you or your parents make that all important move. It’s better to be prepared than to make a hasty decision.

Photo: Paul

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