Choosing the Right Senior Housing for You

By Barbara Risto

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Deciding on the type of housing and care you require can be an exciting but overwhelming challenge. To help you make the best choice for your situation, below is a list of questions and tips to help guide you through the decision-making process.

Define Your Situation:

Begin the process of determining what type of housing and care you require by seriously thinking about your personal situation. Be realistic in defining your housing needs and desires. Take a moment to consider the following items:

Housing Requirements:

Are you a social person?

Do you prefer living in a private or community setting?

Do you prefer a large or small living space?

Do you require any special housing arrangements due to physical or mental limitations?

Is there a particular community, neighbourhood or type of neighbourhood you would like to live in?


Care Requirements:

What type of care or assistance do you need? How often do you need it?

Do you have health problems, any physical or mental disabilities? What are they and how will they impact your health care in the future?

Would you like to age in place or are you comfortable with moving if required?


Financial Requirements:

Do you have the financial resources in place to accommodate your current or future housing & care requirements?

Have you spoken with or do you need to speak with a financial advisor?

Can you afford a private care facility? Do you need financial assistance?

How much money can you afford to invest in housing and personal care? For how long?

Be open and honest with yourself about what your basic needs and desires are. Write a list or description of the type of accommodation and services you are looking for. Prioritize your needs and outline what you are willing to compromise and what you must have in your new housing residence. Compare your needs with the housing categories in this guide. Then flip to the appropriate section of the guide to begin comparing and researching your housing options.


Research & Compare Your Options:

Most seniors housing residences offer the same basic accommodations and services. However, each facility is unique in the combination, quality and cost of services it provides. The best way to choose the option that is right for you is to start calling and visiting prospective residences. If you require subsidized housing or care you will need to contact your local VIHA Community Case Manager for more information.

Below is a checklist of questions to ask while touring each facility. It is recommended that you take a fresh sheet of paper for each facility you visit and jot down notes during your tour:


Cost & Monthly Charges

What are the monthly charges?

How much is the security deposit?

What damages am I responsible for?

What other expenses am I responsible for?

What supplies am I responsible to purchase and pay for?


Living space, Accommodation & Location

Can I easily move and find my way around the suites and building?

Do I have access to a kitchen facility? What are the common areas?

What are the restrictions on smoking and pets?

Do I need to supply my own furnishings, window coverings, shower curtains and linens?

What kind of storage and parking space is available? Does this cost extra?

Can I have overnight guests?

Is the neighborhood or community suitable? Is the building quiet?


Dining & Hospitality Services

What is the meal plan? When are meals served? Are menus posted?

Can I have a meal plan tailored to my diet needs?

Can I have guests to dinner? Is there an extra cost?

What hospitality and care services are included in the monthly rent? What services are extra?

Is there an activity program and / or exercise program in place? What does it include?


Residents Rights & Responsibilities

What level of care do you provide? What happens if I need more care?

What are the suggestion, complaint or grievance procedures?

How are family concerns addressed?


Safety & Emergency Services

Are there smoke, fire alarm and sprinkler systems?

Is there an emergency response system? How does it work?

What are the emergency escape routes and procedures?

What level of security is in place? What staff is regularly onsite? What is their level of training?


Moving to Your New Home

Once you've had the opportunity to tour a variety of housing residences, compare your notes with your list of personal housing and care needs. Choose the best option for your situation. You may need to enlist your friends or family to help you make the best choice. Some communities have private consultants who can assist in matching you with the residence that best fits your personality and needs. Once you have made your decision you can begin the moving process.

Contact your housing residence of choice and inform them of your decision. You will likely be asked to return to the residence to finalize your arrangements and fill out the necessary paperwork.

Confirm the day and time you can move into your new home, with the facility operator.

Give notice to your current landlord. Contact your gas, hydro, cable, phone, insurance and other service providers to let them know that there will be a change or cancellation of service.

Determine how much of the moving process you can manage and whether or not you will need extra help. Begin downsizing your belongings to fit your new space.

Notify your post office, family, friends, doctor, dentist, bank, medical insurance, credit card company and car insurance provider, (etc) of your change of address.

Be sure to book movers in advance, to help you transport your furnishings to your new residence.

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Showing 1 to 1 of 1 comments.

Can I download this questionaire so that my wife, and our relations can, realistically, answer? This would help us.

Posted by Wayne I. King | June 9, 2015 Report Violation

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