There is much to consider when choosing a retirement community for yourself or a loved one. At Seasons, our team members want to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible, so we’ve compiled a list of things to ask and consider when deciding how to choose a retirement home for yourself or your loved one.
If it’s important to you to be close to family and friends, how long is the distance from the residence to where they live? If you no longer drive, it’s best to consider how far the community is from other amenities such as shopping, libraries, parks, places of worship, hospitals and medical facilities, public transit, and other conveniences.
If ageing in place gives you peace of mind, it’s valuable to know what services you would likely use and which ones are available to you, should you need them in the future. For example, when choosing a retirement home, you might ask what will happen if your health, or the health of your loved one, changes. Will you have to move again?
You will need to ask questions about the different levels of care offered, what is included, and the cost. For example, in Alberta, certain levels of care are accessed through Alberta Health Services (AHS). What medical and support services are available?
Digging deeper into the above, what medical and support services are provided? Even if they aren’t vital to you today, it’s good to know what is available to prepare for when you may need them. Be sure to ask about medication administration services, pharmacy services, monitoring of vitals, and access to doctors and other medical professionals.
At Seasons, we know dining is very important to our residents! Be sure to ask about lifestyle service specifics, such as the number of meals served per day, the availability of snacks and refreshments, housekeeping services, personal laundry, and transportation.
Most communities offer various living arrangements in multiple sizes, layouts, and locations, from apartments with full kitchens to suites with kitchenettes. First, consider what kind of floor plan would make you happiest, then ask to see a similar suite. Picture your possessions there. Can the staff provide a floor plan with measurements so you know what furniture to bring?
When deciding how to choose a retirement home, there are also safety features to think about, such as fire alarms, sprinklers, and call bells. Your new home should feel safe and secure. Many suites have an option for individually controlled heating and air conditioning, a kitchen or kitchenette, a private bathroom, storage, and the choice between one or multiple rooms. Will cable TV, phone, and internet access be included? If not, how much will it be?
As you view the amenities and suite options, do you feel comfortable with what they offer? Your suite is undoubtedly important, but you should consider the entire retirement community and all of its spaces as a part of your new home. Regarding those shared spaces, think about what you like to do and what you expect from this new chapter in your life. For example, there is likely a common dining area, but is there a spot you could reserve for larger family gatherings?
Other common areas might include:
When deciding how to choose a senior living community, people often select retirement residences based on the sense of community, camaraderie and the many opportunities for having fun! Ask what activities are available and if you’re able to provide input. Do you love to volunteer? Ask about the opportunities to give back and get involved. Some communities also offer transportation for shopping, events and excursions, so be sure to inquire about these options.
Seasons is now using an integrated communication platform designed for senior living, connecting staff, residents, and their families called Cubigo. Cubigo digitizes services like dining and menu selection, transportation, communication, and group activities. Users are invited to sign up directly and can choose which notifications they would like to receive.
How much does it cost?
Last but not least, it’s time to talk about the cost. You’ll need to know the monthly rate you’ll be expected to pay, how payments are made, what’s included in the price, what services could require an additional cost, and if a deposit is required to secure your place. When will the rate increase, and how will you be kept informed?
While it may seem like a lot to ask, when deciding how to choose a retirement community, these considerations will help you make the most informed decision possible for yourself or a loved one. When you have time on your side, you can tour your local residences and find the one that suits your personal needs and desires.