You have made the decision that you would like to live in a retirement community, but you don’t know where to begin. Here are some of the things you should consider as you begin your search:
LOCATION – do you want to live in your existing neighbourhood, or perhaps you would like to relocate to be closer to family?
LIFESTYLE – once you have identified the area, you should identify the type of community you want or need. Is it an Independent living environment, or do you require assisted living with healthcare services? If you or a family member are living with dementia, will you require a specialized environment for the future?
HEALTHCARE SERVICES – does the community encourage ageing in place? Does the community offer independent living, assisted living, and secure suites for those requiring a more protected environment. Ageing in place means that while initially you may come into a community and live entirely independently, as you age, your healthcare requirements may change, and can the Community deliver these services to you as you need them? Is the care provided throughout the building, so you don’t have to move suites to an assisted living floor, in order to receive our nursing and Personal Support Worker (PSW) care? No one wants to move multiple times!
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES – an active community provides many opportunities for socialization, physical fitness, mental fitness, art, music and culture. Connecting with people and staying active has been shown to increase longevity. Review the Community’s monthly activity calendar.
FOOD – meals and snacks are an important part of one’s daily life. Is the Chef a Red Seal certified chef? What are your options for meals? Does the community offer an extensive menu with many choices?
AMENITIES – does the community have a fitness centre, pool, theatre, fine dining, pub, library, gardening opportunities and outdoor spaces?
SUITE AMENITIES – what are your options in terms of square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, balconies, kitchenettes, housekeeping?
BUDGET – have a good understanding of your finances and what you can afford on a monthly basis. Most communities will be quoting you a monthly rental rate, which may include food, activities, accommodation, and light housekeeping. Your utilities are generally included. What about parking and storage? Understand what you are receiving for your fee.
TOUR – Once you have completed your preliminary research, now is the time to visit 2 or 3 different communities. When you arrive, how are you greeted? Are the employees friendly to you? Do you like the look and feel of the community? Take a tour, eat a meal, and consider a trial stay for a week or two, in order to have the full experience.