As we approach Fall 2020 in Ontario, the pandemic is now in its sixth month. You’re considering a move to a retirement home, but you’ve yet to tour any of the homes on your short list. And you wonder, how do tours even work nowadays with physical distancing restrictions?
As it happens, you can now visit many retirement homes in-person and bring one friend or family member with you. In many cases, you’ll be able to visit available apartments. However, tours aren’t quite the same as they were before the pandemic.
In-person tours tend to be much quicker than they used to be, at least the indoor part. As a precautionary measure, you’ll spend only a short time in the building. Often the remainder of the tour – the part where you get to talk things over with the home’s marketing manager – generally takes place outside. Of course, this may change once the cold weather arrives.
Video tours are also available. In fact, they can actually offer a more complete tour than an in-person visit. That’s because home staff often conduct live video tours and can take you to parts of the home that are off-limits to non-residents due to pandemic-related restrictions. And you’ll more likely be able to ask questions in the moment.
Retirement homes have had to make adjustments to their common areas in order to comply with physical distancing requirements. So, don’t be surprised to see living areas that look a tad under-furnished or dining rooms where tables are spaced far apart. To accommodate all the furniture they’ve had to remove, homes have also been forced to convert some spaces to storage.
By and large, retirement homes used to be very paper-based, but the pandemic has prompted them to make many of their documents electronic. That means if you decide to move into a particular home, you can generally sign the agreement online rather than having to make a special extra trip into the home as was the norm before.
There are two things to keep in mind about moving in. The first is that new residents must receive a negative COVID-19 test result within 24 hours of moving in then self-isolate for 2 weeks after moving in. Retirement homes recognize that this is a disincentive for most seniors, so some of them offer bonuses to offset this – things like 2 weeks free rent or an upgrade to your suite during your self-isolation period.
When it comes to the actual move, you’ll want to choose a moving company that has experience moving into retirement homes during the pandemic. In other words, they know how to do it properly, keeping everyone safe in the process.
Remember, the rules keep changing as the pandemic continues. If you live in Ottawa, our advisors at Tea and Toast can update you on the latest. We’d also be happy to support you in your retirement home search.