How to Choose a Retirement Home

by Junior Boomer on April 7, 2011

Choosing a retirement home for yourself or an elderly loved one is never an easy job. It can be mentally and emotionally draining to reach the decision that it’s time for yourself or a loved one to have to give up some of their independence. Actually choosing a place and having to pack up and move is a strain as well. But finding the right place, and knowing that you or your loved one will be better taken care of and safe is the best decision.

Options

There are many options for senior or retirement living. From retirement communities, to assisted living facilities, to full nursing homes, taking the time to visit each and think about which option is best short and long term is very important. If the senior in question is in good mental health, involve them in the decision and ask them what they prefer.

  • Retirement community – This type of facility is generally a closed or private community where all residents are age 55 or older. A retirement community can offer the peace and quiet that seniors desire, and the comfort of having many same aged seniors who might have similar interests nearby. Often there are activities organized by the community to keep neighbors active and involved.
  • Assisted Living Facilities - This type of living is still very independent but can have the benefits of the security of a close neighborhood and people watching out for one another.of the benefits of a nursing home. Seniors live independently in their own apartments but have 24 hour access to security, medical aid, and general support. Often times there are not full kitchens in these facilities, just some small appliances, because meals are served daily in a common room or area of the community. Assisted living allows seniors independence with the security of nearby support.
  • Nursing Home – A nursing home can provide a place to live and care for less independent or medically challenged seniors. In a Nursing Home, residents typically live in a room within a facility. There is 24 hour staffed medical care and other forms of assistance such people to clean the rooms and provide the meals. This is the least independent of the options.

Making a Choice

Consider the retirement living options available and visit many. Tour the facilities so you can make an informed choice about which option might be best. Watch for things while you tour, not just what they tell you, but what you see and the feeling you get. Notice things like if the residents appear to be active and happy. Are they sitting alone or are staff and or other residents interacting with them? Check for cleanliness of the facility and the overall condition.

Think about choosing a facility that is near relatives and friends so that people can visit often and check in on things. Also consider the cost and be sure that financially, you will be able to afford the facility you choose long term.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Mait Jüriado

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