As we get older, most of us will consider downsizing or even some form of assisted living to help with our daily tasks; when the time comes, it is a good idea to start considering various senior living facilities. This is not an easy decision as most seniors who have a home may not want to downsize or leave their homes. It is understandable to be resistant to leaving home, whether considering assisted living, retirement living, or a form of independent living.
According to Statistics Canada and the 2016 Census, approximately 25% of Canadian households are led by people over the age of 65. Roughly 75% of these households are homeowners, and 25% are renters. The largest proportion of these older adult-led households are couples without children. In 2016, approximately 2.2 million Canadians lived in multigenerational housing. When searching for senior living, there are some things to consider. You want to ensure the housing meets your needs physically and mentally, feels like home, and is the right choice financially. Here are five signs that a senior living facility is a right choice for you.
Types of Senior Living Communities
There is a variety of senior living facilities and options to consider. Initially, age-restricted communities are usually apartment buildings, condo communities, or townhomes for adults, either 55 and older or 65 and older. Age-restricted communities are excellent options if you want in a community with other adults your age. Independent living or retirement living for seniors is designed to enable healthy, independent older adults to enjoy a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational, and social activities with other the same age.
Retirement communities or continuing care retirement communities are residential communities that provide seniors with a full spectrum of lifestyle and health care options. There is usually an age limit, and seniors who move to a continuing care retirement community want the option of transitioning to other care when needed. Assisted living facilities provide a special combination of residential housing and supportive health care services to adults. Typically, when you choose assisted living, you require assistance with some or all of the daily life tasks.
Five Signs Your Choice of Senior Living is the Right Choice
Budget for The Future and Continue to Manage Your Finances
There are a variety of different senior living options, and whether you not you can afford the facility makes or breaks whether you should consider living there. Compare your current budget or monthly expenses with what the new monthly expenses could be. If you can continue to budget and manage your finances effectively while living in the new location, then this should reassure it is the right choice.
Health care costs can snowball as a person ages, and even the added stress of big bills can further deteriorate your health. Part of aging well is continuing to budget for the future and saving what is needed to maintain your lifestyle. It is also important to manage your stress, including that related to money. Medical care costs are the leading cause of stress among seniors. It is important to approach the problem with a concrete plan. If the new location helps manage this stress by alleviating some of the costs, this is the right choice.
Additionally, facilities differ in how you pay for them. If you are retired and no longer working, there are different sources of retirement income. However, many seniors continue to work, whether full-time or part-time, but all of this should be taken into consideration when budgeting for new living arrangements. The income for most seniors in Canada typically comes from three main sources; however, this is not always the case. Many seniors have a Canada Pension Plan or a Quebec Pension Plan, along with Old Age Security, or employer-sponsored pension plans and personal savings and investments.
It is important to know how much you are receiving from each source or any other sources to budget and plan for your retirement. You will also need to consider what to do with your personal savings at certain stages in your life. Some seniors choose to convert an RRSP into a Registered Retirement Income Fund or buy an annuity, invest in the stock market, or withdraw savings as cash. When choosing a new senior living option, the new setting should align with your financial goals.
Services Should Match Your Needs or Anticipate for Future Needs
Every type of senior living option provides varying services to residents. The type of services and amenities should meet your current needs or anticipate your future needs; this is a sign the facility is the right choice. Whether this is an assisted living facility, retirement home, or another form of senior care or senior living, there are likely services and amenities offered.
For example, common areas are available to participate in individual hobbies and interests, such as a arts and craft room or exercise room. Most senior living facilities provide social and recreational areas to help keep residents engaged and active. This may include social events, fitness programs, spiritual or religious programs, and professional entertainment. Independent living options for seniors are usually pet friendly, which is important to many seniors with pets. Some senior condo buildings may have a small market, beauty salon, barber, or even a restaurant.
Overall, your choice should be based on the care and services you require. For example, seniors living independently may want to live close to transit, walking paths, shopping plazas, or any service they use regularly. Assisted living facilities offer varying levels of care. Still, they are typically facilities for seniors who need help with some of the daily life tasks, with an option to transition to a higher level of care when needed. Some seniors will have to move from total independence to a residence with care. Some assisted living facilities are part of a larger continuing care retirement community. When you feel comfortable that all your needs are met, this is a sign that this is the right place.
Consider the Culture of Senior Living Facility
It is impossible to know what it is like to live in a retirement community, assisted living facility, or a form of independent living. However, many assisted living facilities, and retirement homes provide a trial stay for the resident. You can also get a very telling taste if you visit the options you are considering. It is important to visit the facilities, talk to staff and residents, attending a meal, and get a sense of the environment. If you feel the culture aligns with your expectations, this is a sign that this facility is the right choice.
If the facility helps you maintain your independence, it was the right choice. When determining what the best senior living facility ism it should promote your independent lifestyle. The wellness plan should help make a difference, such as helping to improve your quality of life. The community should offer features that enable your quality of life. The culture should promote and support safety and security, and members of the community should feel safe when they move in. If you require help with the activities of daily life, you should know that help is available at every hour of the day.
Most seniors choose senior living communities because they are maintenance-free. Not having to worry about housework and home maintenance does improve your quality of life. The community’s culture should provide living options that include full maintenance and repair, housekeeping, security, transportation, and even flexible dining programs. Finally, it should promote a social life offering a social and communal atmosphere. It should be easy to make new friends if you move to a senior living community. Overall, the culture is different within each community, but it should be one you are comfortable with to make it the right choice.
Consider a Location that is Relatively Close to Family or Close to What you Need
Most seniors who consider downsizing select a location that is close to everything they need, like family, amenities, and services. Being close to family is important, especially if you were living close to your family before deciding to move. Suppose the new location is close to your family and the things you need in life, then this is the right choice. It is important to consider where a senior living facility is located because it makes a difference in how it operates. If you are an independent senior and still working part-time, you would want to live close to your work, transit, or easy access to major roadways.
Seniors who require medical help may want to consider living close to healthcare services or ensuring the assisted living facility is close to healthcare services. Thinking about the future is the best way to choose the right location for a senior living facility. Moreover, being close to the family also means more frequent visits from people you care about, which leads to more quality time and stronger family bonds. Living near loved ones and friends can also be helpful in case of emergencies. It can be comforting to know your family is there for you emotionally and physically when needed.
However, do not feel bad about living close, but not too close. Being near family has its benefits, but being too close to family can be detrimental to relationships if not managed properly. Not every older adult has impeccable relationships with their family. For example, if you decide to move in with your children during retirement, you lose a lot of flexibility and freedom. You may no longer operate on your own schedule and may start to view yourself as a burden to those around you. You have to consider that you have spent your whole life doing the things you want and the way you like them. Changing habits and preferences to accommodate other family members does add to the stress.
Additionally, there is an upside to living close to family because you are staying embedded in your community. It is not uncommon for seniors to have lived in a community for many years and are familiar with everything in it. Many of the shops, restaurants, and boutiques are part of regular routines. You may have been attending the same church since your children were young. The community provides a strong bond, and staying close to your community promotes a high quality of life.
Does It Feel Like Home and Do you Have the Support of Family and Friends?
When considering moving to a retirement community, assisted living, or another form of independent living, you need to make it feel like home. Moreover, it helps to have the support of your close friends and family. When visiting locations for senior living, if it feels like home and you know you can make it feel like home, this is the right choice. If your close family and friends support your decision and want to help, this is also a good sign that this is the right choice.
When making the new location feel like home, organize thoughtfully, such as your pictures, trinkets, furniture, and things you need to make it feel like home. Get a new layout and have dimensions available so you know exactly what you will fit and where it will go. Enjoy new opportunities, such as new paint colors, small renovation, and decorating the way you want. It is also important to focus on the positives in the new location, recreate routines, and find things that make you happy.
Finally, your friends and family can help plan moving and transportation, making it a stress-free and enjoyable experience. The toughest part about downsizing is getting rid of things that you no longer need or those items that do not work with your new location. Some things can be passed onto family and friends, and others could be donated, while much may have to be thrown out. The people that support you with this new move can help you make the tough decisions when the time comes.