Searching for a seniors’ residence: 10 questions to ask yourself
Searching for a seniors’ residence is an important step in one’s life. This decision deserves attention in order to make the right choice. It is therefore important to first determine your needs, or those of your elderly loved one, and to gather as much useful information as possible. To help you see clearly in this panoply of available information, we summarize here the 10 essential questions to ask yourself in a search for a retirement home. These questions will help you plan your visits and make an informed decision to find the best seniors’ residence. That is to say, the one that will be best suited to your situation.
1. What are my needs now and in the future?
The first priority, through all these questions to ask yourself, is to know how to identify your needs. Whether it is for you or for an elderly loved one such as a parent, it is essential to understand the person’s needs. In the best of worlds, a search for a retirement home can be planned years in advance. This makes it easier to think about your own expectations. However, we know that each situation is unique. The decision to choose a specific seniors’ residence over another should ideally take into account the needs of today as well as those of the next few years.
We know that this step, although a priority, requires a lot of time and reflection. You should know that it is possible to obtain advice to guide you through this important stage of life. At Visavie, we have experienced counsellors who can provide you with valuable recommendations for a smooth transition to a seniors’ residence that will suit your needs. Also, whenever possible, do not hesitate to ask for advice from family, friends and other relatives.
2. What type of housing is best for me?
You’ve probably heard the different acronyms: RPA, RI or CHSLD? They all refer to different types of housing for retired people. In fact, there are several! The choice to opt for one or the other of these categories of housing for seniors must take into account the level of autonomy mainly. The search for the best seniors’ residence therefore involves determining which type of accommodation will best suit my situation.
Here are the most common examples of the different types of seniors’ residences offered in Quebec
- autonomous residences ;
- semi-autonomous residences
- non-autonomous residences such as private CHSLDs
- specialized residences for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders
- retirement condos;
- and the list could go on.
With so many choices, don’t hesitate to ask for advice. Our specialists at Visavie are available to answer your questions and help you find a retirement residence that will suit your needs.
3. Searching for a seniors’ residence: what care and services are most important to me?
From one seniors’ residence to another, the level of care offered and the various services can vary greatly. This is what sets them apart. It is therefore important to go back to the list of your own needs and make sure that the residence you choose will meet them in the right way.
Here is a short list summarizing some of the services that may be a priority for you or the senior you are caring for:
- nursing care;
- on-site physician visits
- meal services;
- hygiene assistance;
- housekeeping services;
- mobility assistance ;
Find out about the different services in each residence and take the time to go and see for yourself when possible. A visit to the premises will give you a good idea of the quality of these services.
4. Do the amenities included in the rent meet my expectations?
Even if the personal services and care offered are very important, you should not neglect the other amenities available. They undoubtedly represent a factor that has a strong influence on the overall quality of life of a senior in a residence.
We are referring here to aspects such as:
- cable ;
- or telephony.
It is also possible to wonder if heating and electricity are included in the rent for example. Or are furniture and appliances provided?
These are legitimate questions to ask when looking for the ideal living environment for a senior. They should be asked.
5. Does the residence offer a sufficient amount of activities and recreation?
A healthy mind in a healthy body! The importance of the activities and recreation offered in a seniors’ residence should not be forgotten indeed! For some, it will even be an essential question that will influence ttheir decision while searching for a seniors’ residence. These leisure activities also allow for a well-balanced social life.
There are a multitude of different activities possible such as access to :
- a pool (indoor or outdoor) ;
- a spa ;
- a workout room/gym;
- group classes;
- a room to meet with friends, talk and play cards;
- an outdoor terrace;
- some small restaurants or cafes;
- a pharmacy;
- a hairdressing salon ;
- and much more!
6. Have I calculated my budget correctly?
Let’s face it: the financial question must also be taken into account when choosing a seniors’ residence. Depending on the type of residence, the services offered, the size of the apartment and the region, the amount of rent can vary. It is therefore important, if possible, to establish a budget searching for a seniors’ residence.
Be aware that there are some government programs and subsidies available. Don’t hesitate to ask around to see if you qualify.
For more information on the cost of living in a retirement home, we invite you to read this article from Visavie. You will learn more about the factors that influence the price of rent and the importance of planning this transition.
7. Is the location of the residence right for me?
When choosing a retirement residence, location is undoubtedly an essential criterion. There are several aspects to consider in order to make an informed decision in this regard.
First of all, it is important to choose the area in which you wish to establish your new home for the next few years. Do you want to stay in the same area? Are you considering moving to another city to be closer to family?
Is it an area well served by public transportation? Do you plan to keep your car?
What activities or attractions are nearby?
In your search for a seniors’ residence, you should also pay attention to the proximity of services. Is there a grocery store on the street nearby? Or a pharmacy nearby? Will your medical appointments be easily accessible? These are questions to ask yourself in order to make the best decision for the location of your next living environment.
In short, the location of your chosen residence should of course be determined by its practicality. But it should also be selected according to your lifestyle so that you can enjoy a life that will be to your liking in your new home.
8. Do the safety features meet my expectations?
Choosing to live in a seniors’ residence, for yourself or for an elderly loved one, also means choosing an environment that you want to be safe. When our health becomes more precarious and we want to avoid accidents, a seniors’ residence provides a better sense of protection.
To ensure the safety of the premises, several aspects are considered by the various senior citizen facilities. Among these features, we often find :
- the presence of a supervisor available, day and night (24/7) ;
- the ability to call for immediate help at any time (fixed or mobile help call system);
- A surveillance camera system for the common areas and outside the residence;
- Secure access to the building;
- Apartments equipped with sprinklers in case of fire and a good evacuation plan in this regard;
- and more, depending on the location and the needs of the residents.
9. Is my pet welcome?
If you have a pet, you’ll agree with us that it is a member of the family. In your search for a retirement residence, it is important to find a place that will accept your dog, cat or feathered pet for example. We bet that Pitou will love his new home and will be honoured to accompany you in this new adventure!
Please note that some senior residences welcome pets while others prefer to refuse them. Therefore, depending on whether or not you have a pet, it is recommended that you find out before signing the lease. This will avoid unpleasant surprises!
10. Residence life: am I well prepared?
Here we are with the last of the 10 questions to ask yourself when looking for a residence for seniors. Am I well prepared for life in a residence? This is a very fundamental question that must be answered before going any further. This decision requires a thought process that will of course be different for everyone. The important thing is to make sure you are well prepared for this important step.
Perhaps you have already considered other options? Could in-home help be a solution for you? There are a variety of home care services available depending on your needs. Depending on each person’s unique situation, there is no single best decision between home care or living in a residence. To help guide you through the process, our Visavie counsellors can help you! Do not hesitate to contact them.
Through this preparation, it is also possible to ask your family and friends for advice. They know you well and will help you identify what is best for you!
In short, the priority in this search for the ideal residence is to find maximum well-being and comfort in your new living environment. After all, your quality of life depends on it. Take the time to visit the seniors’ residences you find in your search and make sure you get a good impression of the environment and the staff there. We really hope that these ten questions will help you find the senior residence that will best suit your needs and personality. We wish you much happiness in your new living environment!