5 Questions to Start Planning for a Retirement Home

When you’ve decided you or your loved one will need a retirement home, selecting the right one can feel like a never- ending and confusing task. Care facilities are a sensitive topic for many and planning for it is a task not often looked at beyond the financial. With so many options, it is essential to research homes to ensure the stay is enjoyable and stress-free. This list highlights 5 questions you should ask yourself or your loved before making the move.

1. What level of care is needed?

What many may not realize is that all retirement homes offer different levels of care and service. It shouldn’t be expected that the home you’re looking at will provide all necessary physical, medical, and emotional support. While looking, it is good to keep in mind that an individual may grow out of the level of service a facility provides. If more intense care will be needed in the future and the home is not prepared to offer it, you may need to look into others.

2. How reputable is the home?

When looking at homes, it is important to gauge all opinions and reviews. This can include looking online and reading what others have to say. If there are a lot of negative comments, it may be best to avoid the home. Asking past or present residents for their opinion of the home can also give you a good idea of what it’s like. Going prepared to visits with a set list of specific questions to ask residents can assist with getting honest answers. It is better to ask questions such as: “How is the food? What is your favorite activity the home offers?” as opposed to “Do you like the place?”

3. What can you afford?

Be realistic with what you can spend on care. If not, there is a chance that you’ll struggle to keep up with payments and may eventually need to switch homes. Note there are typically costs associated with breaking a contract and moving out so it’s best to think ahead. To know what you can afford, you’ll need to know the average cost of a month’s care subtracted from how much you can spend a month. Knowing how much is in a Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), or if there is a monthly income still coming in can help narrow down the choice.

4. What facilities/ activities are available?

Does the residence feel empty? Do the residents look happy? If the home encourages interaction and has a lot of activities available, it can vastly improve a stay. If you or your loved one enjoy a specific activity such as reading or sewing, it is good to ask if the home caters to it. Small things such as a reading room or a sewing club can make all the difference in their level of happiness.

5. How does the home handle injury?

When you visit the home, it is important to observe the working staff. Do they look stressed or overworked? Do you see workers frequently? How do they respond to residents? All of these are key indicators of how well you or your loved one will be looked after. If the facility is short on staff, there may not be immediate care or help which can cause a minor health issue to turn into a serious condition. A stressed staff can lead to unhappy residents that avoid interacting with them and one another.

Kelly Young is a writer born and raised in Toronto. Proud of her simple and cozy life, a perfect evening for Kelly would be to snuggle up in bed with her cat and a well-written historic memoir.