Choosing a Retirement Home #sandgen

Having worked in a retirement/nursing home for 4 years in my early 20’s I know how difficult choosing the right retirement home is for a family. Finding the perfect fit isn’t easy!  Retirement homes vary in looks, the budget, the amenities, programs and so many other factors how can you possibly decide?

My advice would be to visit the facility, bring along a note pad and get a feel for the place. Take notes while you’re there so that you’ll be able to recall how you felt in the moment. Pay attention to the mix of staff and residents, how they interact and what the vibe is. This interaction can reflect the vibe of the place and lend some insight on how it would be to reside there day-to-day.

While touring be sure to speak with the residents and get their perspective, ask questions which will gain insight on areas which are important to you. Don’t be shy, the staff are used to this behavior while on tours. While on the tour check places like the kitchen, bathing room, laundry and keep an eye out for cleanliness in these back areas.

There are many different retirement living options available these days, ask yourself if this is facility is the right type for you or your loved one.

Here are some questions you may want to ask while touring retirement facilities:

Community Services:

  • How close is the nearest hospital, medical clinic, dentist office?
  • Are there churches, parks, shops and seniors’ centres nearby?
  • How accessible is public transportation?
  • Is there an accessible transit service?

Financial Matters:

  • What is the daily/monthly rate?
  • Are there charges for additional services you may want or need?
  • Is phone or cable service part of your package?
  • Is there a resident petty cash account with separate accounting?
  • What type of notice period is required should you need, or decide to move?
  • How often are rates for accommodation and/or services increased?
  • What is the average annual rate of increase over the last few years?

Admission Policies:

  • Are wheelchairs and walkers accepted?
  • What about scooters?
  • Are any forms of oxygen therapy allowed?
  • Is a health assessment required?
  • What happens if your health deteriorates?

There is support available for you during this decision-making process, Comfort Life has been helping families find retirement communities since 2002. Their website, has everything you could possibly need to assist you, from retirement home locator, financial planning tools to advice guides you’ll find the support you need. Powering the most comprehensive directory of retirement communities in Canada, Comfort Life enables families to research and compare profiles to find the best choice for their loved ones.


I’m a Sandwich Generation Brand Ambassador for Comfort Life. Comfort life is Canada’s trusted resource for retirement living and care.  Follow the conversation on Twitter with the #sandgen hastag and don’t forget to LIKE Comfort Life on Facebook

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8 Responses

  1. Thanks Julie for this incredibly informative post on choosing a retirement home. There are some points I never thought of that you mention, such as the petty cash account.

  2. I dread having to one day look for a home for my parents/parents-in-law. So many horror stories out there. Good tips to keep in mind, and questions to ask. Watching parents age is so tough.

  3. Hey!!!

    Although it can be quite sad to realize that your children are not going to be able to fully take care of you when you get old, living in a retirement home can also be a very practical choice. If you and your family has made the decision for you to move into a retirement or senior assisted living community, it is best to know what your options are.
    The tips you mentioned here are awesome.
    Thank you so much for great sharing.

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