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Deciding When It’s Time

Plan Ahead – it’s easier to make a decision when not in a crisis

Thinking ahead will allow you make your lifestyle adjustments comfortably. When it comes time to consider retirement living, consider all your options and make your choice while the choice is still yours to make.

Too many seniors wait until they experience difficulties with daily activities before they consider their retirement options. This can greatly reduce their choices. Although the average age of a retirement home resident is 85 years, it is wise to begin exploring retirement living options sooner, at least by age 75.

Ask yourself the following questions

  • Do I want easier access to social activities?
  • Do I want to live near others of my age?
  • Do I feel lonely or isolated living on my own?
  • Am I tired of making meals and doing housework?
  • Am I having difficulty maintaining my home?
  • Am I worried about being alone if I fall or become ill?

If you answered yes to any of these, it might be time to consider moving to a retirement home.

Like any important decision, it takes time, research and preparation to make the best choice. Start by learning some more about retirement living and how it differentiates from other senior housing options. Think about how you want to live your life and what kind of community you want to live it in. Learn more about life in a retirement community. Our frequently asked questions may address some of your questions and concerns.

Finding the right home for you

Use our Home Finder to find retirement homes near you. Call them up and ask them if they provide the services, amenities and activities you are looking for. When you arrange for a tour, bring along a friend or family member, ask lots of questions and stay for lunch or dinner. See if you can talk to some residents and staff. The manager may be able to arrange an overnight trial stay for you if you’d like.

It is best to start this process sooner rather than later. This ensures that you have the time to make the best possible decision about your future home.

Starting the discussion with your relative

If you feel that your relative is lonely or isolated, no longer able to maintain their home or not safe living on their own, you may need to initiate a discussion on their living options.  Making the choice to change your way of living takes considerable thought and planning and the subject should be brought up slowly with your relative, over time.

It is important to emphasize the positive aspects of retirement living such as no worrying over maintenance or meals, 24hr emergency assistance and great social and recreational programming. Learn more about retirement living.

If in discussion your relative reacts negatively, you may be able to point out how they seldom do what they used to do and like doing (such as playing bridge, going shopping, having friends over etc.). Impress upon them how much more enjoyable their life could be with the companionship available in a retirement community and lack of need to travel elsewhere for activities and social opportunities.

If your relative says, “I like things done my way. I’m the only one who knows what I like to eat (do, buy etc.)”, tell them they can still maintain a considerable level of autonomy while living in a retirement home. Retirement living is all about choice. Start by asking them some basic questions about what they would want and need. Use the home finder to find retirement homes in your area and start calling them and asking whether they provide the services, amenities or activities that are important to your relative.

Arrange for site visits of several different retirement homes. All will be happy to meet with you and your relative, serve lunch or dinner, introduce your relative to other residents, and can arrange for a trial overnight stay. This may allay many of the fears your relative has.