How Do I Choose the Right Senior Care for My Needs?

Last updated on: Friday, 5 May 2023
  • What You'll Learn

Finding the right type of senior care does not have to be difficult, and there are different options to consider. Whether this is transitioning to assisted living, retirement living, independent living, or a continuing care retirement community, it is important to choose the right one for your needs. Continuing care retirement communities provide everything within one location and offer a continuum of housing. These facilities help residents transition as needed from catered independent living to assisted living or long-term care.

Assisted living facilities or assisted living communities are various living options, such as apartments, condos, or group living. Assisted living is for residents who are still relatively independent but need help with daily life tasks. Most assisted living options for seniors do not provide skilled daily medical care of a nursing home or long-term care facility. However, residents usually have an option to arrange for added medical care as needed.

Retirement communities or independent living options come in a variety of styles. Retirement communities could be communal living, providing transportation, meals and dining services, recreation, and social events. Independent living options could be a free-standing home, apartment buildings, or condo complexes. Many independent living communities for seniors have age restrictions and offer amenities or services to their residents.

Find the Right Fit for Your Needs

It is important to consider your comfort over the long-term. When finding the right fit, you should consider the apartment size, floor plan, location, dining/dietary options, décor, and amenities. Ask about what type of recreation and activities are offered and does it meet your needs. Moreover, it is a good idea to make sure the community is in a familiar area with good transportation and does it help with staying connected with family and friends. All of this should be taken into consideration when deciding on a retirement community, assisted living, or independent living.

Talk to Your Loved Ones and Friends and Visit Different Communities

An important step in finding the right fit for your needs is talking to your loved one or friends. Knowing what is best for your needs is essential, but it also helps to get input from your friends and family. They may offer other choices or options and help with visiting senior living facilities. Moreover, they may also know someone who is currently in a care center or retirement home and can offer valuable insight. Getting input from other people is valuable, but the decision is ultimately yours about where you want to go and how you want to proceed.

Additionally, it is important to visit the facilities and or communities. Pick several candidates, whether from your own search or from referrals by friends and family. Go on at least one screening visit, preferably two during the day and night. Take the time to meet with the staff and take at least one tour that includes a meal. Ask questions, take notes, and take pictures if permitted. Finally, use your intuition and look for things that you would expect, such as cleanliness, people socializing, and a well-functioning community.

Find Out What is Included With Senior Care and Check Credentials

Part of deciding if the new senior care or senior living will meet your needs is knowing what is included in the cost. Typically, the cost is broken down to include the rental housing cost and the care or service package. However, this does change if the facility is publicly funded, and the resident is paying a subsidized cost. Know what is included in the cost and if there are any hidden fees or extra costs that are not outlined in the agreement. You should also ensure that the care package you agree to matches what is on the agreement or contract.

Additionally, check the credentials of staff and care personnel. Senior care facilities should list the credential of their staff on their website. Check what the licensing requirements are locally; much of the jurisdiction over health and health care is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments. Every province has different legislation and regulations for public programs and private senior care options.

The Right Type of Senior Care Should Be Within Your Budget

There are a variety of means Canadian seniors use to pay for senior care. Most begins with pension money from Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, or an employer-based pension. When considering the right fit for your needs, there are things to pay attention to. For example, requiring more care than you planned for, which could become expensive, depending on the facility and what is covered. The most common issue is not having planned well enough for retirement. In a worst-case scenario, you have very little or no savings and no funds at your disposal other than a government pension.

When choosing senior care, the facility should fit within your budget, whether this is retirement living, assisted living, or independent living. Many seniors in Canada have the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, which is the basic income available to pay for a retirement home or residence for any senior. Workplace pensions are also common if you are fortunate to have this option with a good company or a government pension. Finally, investments, such as home equity, savings, and other funds, which could be invested. However, there risks involved with investing in stocks, and decisions should be made based on your future needs.

Tour the Facilities, Ask the Right Questions and Select the Best Option

When you have the list narrowed to the top three, four, or even five options, it is important to tour the facility, ask questions, and make a final decision. Contact and visit each community, see the environment first-hand, experience the atmosphere, enjoy the amenities, taste the food, relax in the rooms and common areas, and meet the staff and other residents. Visualize what it will be like to live there and look at it as if you were buying a home.

While touring all the different facilities, it is important to get the information you need to make a good decision by asking questions and observing. Ask direct questions to the staff and speak with residents, and ask them questions. Finally, after touring the facility, asking questions, and gathering data, decide on the best option. Get your family and friends involved and base your decision on how this senior care facility will meet your needs.