Moving and Downsizing

What Season is Best to Move into a Retirement Residence?

February 20, 2019

Updated June 2023

There never seems to be a “right time” to move!

Especially when you or your family members are considering a life-changing transition to a retirement residence.

Often with our clients, they base their decision not only on their personal needs and health status, but also on the time of year.

But in a city like Ottawa (which is known for its seasonal extremes), when should you move?

As you can imagine, there are benefits and pitfalls to each season.

Let’s examine the different seasons in Ottawa—and what influence people to stay in their home or move.

Winter Moving

During the winter months, many seniors are snowbirds. They pack up in November and go someplace warmer—any place warmer—until spring.

For those who remain in Ottawa, many become more isolated, which can have an impact on mental and physical health.

With increased isolation coupled with slower housing sales, many seniors decide to hunker down for the winter and consider a move in the spring.

As such, most winter moves to retirement residences occur due to a crisis or a desire to live closer to the family.

Interestingly enough, we’ve been told on more than one occasion, “I don’t want to move in the winter; I remember moving and it’s so difficult!” To which we remind our clients, you won’t be the one who is physically moving. Oftentimes, you can help to arrange the move; and then when moving day comes, you can go out for lunch and return home to your new place, which will be all set up and ready for you!

Spring Moving

Each year, spring brings new beginnings—and this is especially true for seniors looking to move.

Whether they stayed home this year or are Snowbirds who just returned, people who move in the spring have often had a difficult “last-straw” type of winter.

Moreover, with housing sales starting to pick up in spring, oftentimes the combination makes for a good moving situation.

Snowbirds are just returning home and, unfortunately, many find out that this is the year that they will have to give up travelling. Perhaps things did not go as planned; the trip might have been all around harder on them.

Additionally, many are coming home in spring to a list of chores. Repairs need to be done on the house—and sometimes this alone leads people to start discussing making a move.

When families are looking to move in the spring, they often contact us in winter to inform us of their plans. We often ask families to contact us in February so we can begin the search process. This way, we are ahead of the crowd and can secure just the suite they are looking for, a few months prior to moving.

Four leaves: brown, orange, yellow, green
What season is best to move into a Retirement Residence?

Summer Moving

“One more summer in the house!”

We hear this all the time from our clients. They’ve made it to summer when there is a lot of green, sunshine, and everything is a lot easier to accomplish. Why would they want to move now?

Regardless of how well houses are selling, many seniors we’ve worked with have fought tooth and nail to stay in their homes over the summer—preferring to start looking in the fall for a retirement residence.

This can be a great idea for seniors. However, there are still risks associated with remaining at home past a “safe” time. Seniors should ensure they have set up resources appropriately and taken precautions for their safety.

A piece of advice we offer clients who wish to stay in their home over the summer? Plan. Do whatever you can to stay safe and avoid a “crisis move” in the fall. Perhaps that means getting an emergency pendant, or even some home care to assist with meals and housekeeping.

Fall Moving

“I can’t do another winter like last year.”

This is the most common phrase we hear during the fall months. Flashbacks creep in regarding how hard things were the previous year.

At Tea and Toast, we’ve seen many clients start to dread winter in the fall. Many create a mental checklist of what they couldn’t do the previous year and ponder if it’s time to move. For example:

  • Are they heading south this year?
  • Were they able to get groceries in the winter?
  • Were they bored staying inside most days?
  • What do their children think?
  • Is there a better, easier way?

With housing sales still in good shape, many seniors decide that fall is the best time to move. However, many wait until it’s almost winter, so they can enjoy the rest of the good weather while in their homes.

Just as in spring, we always suggest you search in the summer for a fall move. Spring and fall are the two busiest times of year and require a little bit of an edge to get exactly what you are looking for!

Regardless of the season you plan to move, prioritizing preparation is essential. It's crucial to be well-prepared and understand the reasons behind the move in order to make the right choice for a senior living solution. Having an open and honest conversation, often referred to as "The Talk," with your loved one is an effective way to ensure everyone is aligned and make the moving process much smoother, regardless of the time of year.

Learn about Tea & Toast’s retirement living search service! We can find the perfect home for you or your loved one. Contact us today at or 613-698-1319.

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