So, you’ve decided to explore a move to a retirement residence for yourself or someone in your family. In Ontario, there are lots of retirement residences to choose from, and it can sometimes be hard to know how they’re different from one another at first glance.
After you do your initial research, you’ll want to come up with a short list of places that seem like they might be a good fit. The next step is to pay those places a visit to get a feel for them. After all, there’s only so much you can tell about a retirement residence from its website or from talking to its sales and marketing staff on the phone. It’s important to go into any tour knowing what to look for and what questions to ask.
What to look for and questions to ask when touring retirement residences
1. Location and accessibility
Begin by assessing the location of the retirement residence. Is it conveniently situated close to healthcare facilities, shopping centres, and recreational areas? Accessibility is crucial, especially if you or your family member has specific mobility needs. Evaluate whether the area has good public transportation options and accessible routes for pedestrians.
2. Facilities and amenities
The facilities and amenities offered by a retirement residence play a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for its residents. During your tour, consider the following:
- Living spaces: Are the rooms or apartments spacious, well-lit, and designed to cater to various mobility levels?
- Dining options: Is there one or more dining venues that offer a variety of nutritious meals? Can dietary restrictions be accommodated?
- Recreational activities: Does the retirement residence offer a diverse range of activities, such as fitness classes, art workshops, and cultural events?
- Outdoor spaces: Are there gardens, patios, or walking paths where residents can enjoy fresh air and connect with nature?
3. Healthcare services
The availability of healthcare services is of utmost importance, particularly as one ages. Inquire about the following:
- Medical assistance: Are trained medical professionals available on-site or on-call? How is medical care coordinated in case of emergencies?
- Medication management: How does the retirement residence handle medication distribution and management for residents who require it?
- Health monitoring: Is there a system in place to monitor residents’ health and well-being? How often are health assessments conducted?
4. Staff and caregivers
The attitude and expertise of the staff can greatly influence the overall experience of residents. When touring, pay attention to:
- Staff-to-resident ratio: Is there an adequate number of caregivers to provide personalized attention and care?
- Training and qualifications: What qualifications and training do the caregivers and staff possess? Are they experienced in geriatric care?
- Cultural sensitivity: Does the staff show sensitivity and respect towards residents’ diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences?
5. Social and emotional support
A vibrant social environment is essential for a fulfilling retirement experience. Ask about:
- Community engagement: How does the retirement residence encourage social interactions among residents? Are there organized outings and gatherings?
- Support groups: Are there support groups or counseling services available for residents dealing with emotional or psychological challenges?
- Family involvement: How does the retirement residence facilitate family visits and engagement in the lives of the residents?
6. Financial transparency
Before making any decisions, ensure that you fully understand the financial aspect of residing in the retirement residence. Inquire about:
- Cost structure: What are the various costs associated with living in the retirement residence? Are there different pricing tiers based on room types or services?
- Fee increases: How often do fees typically increase, and by what percentage? Are there any hidden or unexpected costs?
- Financial assistance: Does the retirement residence accept government funding or offer any financial assistance programs for those with limited resources?
7. Reviews and recommendations
Do your due diligence by seeking reviews and recommendations from current residents and their families. Their insights can provide invaluable perspectives on daily life in the retirement residence.
8. Future care considerations
While considering a retirement residence, it’s wise to contemplate potential future needs. Ask about the residence’s policy on transitioning residents to more intensive care if health conditions change.
By asking the right questions when you visit retirement residences, you stand a better chance of finding a place that’s a good fit – one that fosters well-being, happiness, and a strong sense of community.
See for yourself
Contact one of our communities near you. We’d be happy to show you around. Download our Family Decision Toolkit for tips on making the best senior living decision.