Choosing a Retirement Residence

By Kevin McKay

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Realtors say location is everything, but when it comes to senior housing, location is just one of the many factors to consider when deciding to transition to a retirement residence. A careful and honest assessment of wants and needs, as well as thorough planning can help minimize the risks of making mistakes. Some people prefer to age in place at home, but for those considering a move, here are some questions to ask prior to selecting a new residence:

Financial Resources: How much money do you have in your savings? What is your income from pensions and other sources? Are you still working or retired? Can you expect to receive some income from the sale of your home or other assets? You need to know your bottom line. Determine affordability now and in the future, so your income provides you with a roof over your head for years to come. Lower income seniors may be eligible for some types of subsidized housing.

Health: What are your health concerns or issues? Is there a hospital nearby? Is your new home located close to your doctor or a health clinic? Is help available to you at your new place? The many types of senior housing come with various levels of care, so this becomes an important consideration when moving.

Lifestyle: Chances are your move will involve a degree of downsizing. Are you prepared to give up some of the material things and activities you currently enjoy? Will you still be able to tend a garden? Perhaps you are used to hosting family dinners and parties - will you still be able to in your new home? Are you prepared to accept the fact that some things in your life will change?

Meals: Do you enjoy cooking or are you tired of preparing meals for only one or two people? Would you like some assistance with meal preparation or would you prefer to have all your meals prepared for you? Meal management at different residences can range from no assistance, whatsoever, to providing all your meals.

Community: Moving means adjustments. What other factors are important to you? Are there shops and a grocery store nearby? Is there a seniors’ recreation centre and a library in the area? What about parks and green spaces? Are you near the ocean, a river or lake? What sort of view will you enjoy? Is the location secure? Is public transportation convenient? Do you have family or friends located nearby or in the same building?

Once you have determined what is most important to you, make the choice that will make you as comfortable and pleased with your decision as possible.




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