5 Things To Consider When Choosing a Retirement Home

Making the decision to move from your home of many years into a retirement community isn’t easy.

There are many factors that come into play before, during and after you make the decision to move -- including the strong emotions generated by the transition to a retirement residence.

One of the most important parts of this journey is the decision to choose a retirement home that is best for you.

Here are some important things to consider when choosing a retirement home to make the right decision and the entire process better.

Don’t Make The Decision Alone

The person who is making the move should not be the only one involved in the decision. It’s important to get multiple opinions from family and friends, just as it is important to look at multiple retirement home options before you make a decision. Family members will have a great deal of interest in making sure the retirement community you choose is right for you, and will have valuable input and feedback on available options.

The truth is that it can be a lot of work finding a retirement home. By involving loved ones and friends the process becomes much easier, and you get more insight and perspective that will lead to a better decision. For families, having multiple people involved can also lower the emotional impact of the move as well.

Create a Long-List and Short-List of What You Want and Need in a Home

There are several options for retirement homes these days. Not only for considerations like suite size, but also amenities, services and programming and of course location. Unlike retirement homes from decades ago, contemporary retirement living communities have a lot to offer, with a range of services and activities designed by dedicated staff with your quality of life in mind. The price ranges for homes can vary too.

To make sure you find a home that is the right fit for you, writing down your needs and desired services or features is a must. Create a long-list of things that would be nice, and a shorter list of absolute must-haves. This goes beyond whether you want a bachelor, one bedroom or two bedroom suite to include features such as hair salon and theatre, weekly housekeeping and the quality of of food services.

Doing this on a blank piece of paper, with a column for each, is a good start and can make you think of more things than if you weren’t writing them down. You should also write a small list of negative factors. Creating these lists will make searching for retirement homes much easier and quicker.

Don’t Make Location Your No. 1 Priority

Often, those looking for a retirement home will make location their top concern. This is understandable given the desire to be close to family members and friends. But restricting your options to a certain geographic area or range from your siblings, children or grandchildren can greatly limit the variety of homes you can consider.

There has never been such variety in retirement home living as there is today. When moving into a retirement residence, you want the best quality of life possible -- doing the things you want to do in a comfortable environment. By sticking to just one area, you may be left only with a handful of options, and they may not have the services, programs and amenities that suit your lifestyle.

And remember, your family and friends are not going to be able to visit every day. Set more realistic expectations and allow yourself more options and you will be able to find the best of all worlds and the perfect place for you.

Make an In-Person Visit to Every Retirement Home You Consider

It can be difficult to find the time to visit every retirement home you are considering, but making an in-person visit is an absolute must if you want to find the right community for you -- and to get more insight beyond looking at a website or brochures.

A good retirement residence will make it very easy for you to book a tour. For example, you can book your tour of Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence in just a few clicks!  When on your visit, make sure to go beyond the staff member giving you the tour and talk to residents for their perspective.  Once you have a short list of potential residences consider booking a trial stay.

A professional and well-run retirement community will offer a two week stay called a trial stay.  This is especially important to ease the concerns you may have about moving to a retirement residence in a city different from where you live now.  You'll find the in-person visit and optional trial stay will go a long way to making you feel more confident in your decision.

Take Your Time With the Decision

Rushing the decision on a retirement home should be avoided if possible. While unfortunately health situations can arise that require a prompt transition to a retirement residence, taking your time to think through your options before landing on a final decision will be highly beneficial.

This is true for several reasons. Evaluating several retirement homes in a short amount of time can be overwhelming, and you or your loved ones can lose track of what the top priorities are. You’re looking for the best home for you, not the first available room. Taking your time also gives you time for second thoughts about a retirement community that may have made an amazing first impression, but perhaps didn’t measure up on your trial stay or when compared to other homes. And not rushing through things also gives you more time to emotionally process the change, making the move much easier for you and your family.