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How to Choose

Retirement homes come in many shapes and sizes, from a small home with ten residents to a large home with more than two hundred. They can be operated independently or part of a larger chain, provide services in a certain language or culture, or have specialized programs. Just like any other home, you want to find a retirement home where you are comfortable and satisfied.  Luckily ORCA has over 600 member homes for you to choose from.

Unlike other seniors housing options, retirement homes offer significant flexibility. Some retirement homes offer packages to cover all your accommodation, meals and care, while others allow you to purchase only the services and care you need. If you prefer a luxury setting and full service options, you can find that. If you’d be more comfortable in a more affordable, cozy setting, that’s also available. Wherever you go, you should feel welcome and like a valued member of the community.

There are number of questions you should consider upon looking for a retirement home that will suit your needs and wants.


  • Are you looking for a studio, one or two bedroom unit?
  • Do you want a balcony or other outdoor space?
  • Do you want a kitchenette?
  • How much storage space do you need?
  • Do you prefer a bathtub or walk-in shower?
  • Are there other suite features which are important to you?


  • Where do you want to live?
  • Do you want to live in a residential area or a more urban locale?
  • How close do you want to be to family and friends?
  • Do you want to be on a bus route?
  • Do you want to be part of a particular cultural or language community?


  • How frequently do you want housekeeping services?
  • Do you want to do all your own laundry?
  • Do you want an emergency response system in place?
  • What kind of care services do you require?
  • Do you need any kind of assistance with the activities of daily life (e.g. grooming, bathing, dressing)?
  • Are you able to visit your own doctor or do you need an in-home physician?
  • Are you looking for staff and/or services in a particular language?
  • Finances: Do you want an all-inclusive option?


  • Do you want cooking facilities available for your use?
  • Do you want one, two, or all three meals each day?
  • What kind of food do you like to eat?
  • Do you have certain dietary restrictions?
  • Do you want a rotating menu or full service options?
  • Do you like to eat at the same time each day or would you prefer to have meals when you feel like it?
  • Do you want to be able to drink alcohol with your meal?


  • Do you want outdoor space?
  • Do you want an exercise space or program?
  • Will you use libraries, lounges or other activity rooms?
  • Do you want transportation for your appointments?
  • Do you need a parking space?


  • What kind of group activities are you looking for?
  • Do you want to go on planned group excursions?
  • Do you have any particular hobbies?
  • How active are you?

When You're Ready

When you feel ready, book a tour at each residence you are interested in and stay for a complimentary meal. Speak to the staff and residents and ask as many questions as you need of your tour guide.

There may be a waiting list for the home, so make sure you start this process well in advance. Get started now with ORCA’s Find a Home Tool.