How many retirement homes should my mom or dad visit before choosing one?
July 26, 2022
Many people who are helping their parents find the right retirement community assume that it’s best to visit as many communities as possible. That way they stand a better chance of finding one that’s the right fit.
But that isn’t necessarily true.
In fact, it can make their search longer than it has to be, exhausting them and their parents in the process. We’ve encountered families who’ve spent dozens of hours visiting a long list of places but aren’t any closer to making a decision.
The trick is to come up with a short list and limit your visits to communities that are most likely to fit your parents’ preferences, needs, and budget.
So, how do you do that?
Get clear on your parents’ preferences, needs, and budget first
It’s important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
What is your parent going to need to keep them safe and healthy in a retirement community? Help with medications? Meals provided for them? A walk-in shower? Help with some of their personal care?
What will make them feel at home? A private apartment decorated with some of their own belongings? Space to entertain visiting family? Neighbours with similar interests? The ability to have their pet continue living with them?
Is a particular certain geographic area preferred? For instance, do your parents want / need to be closer to family?
What can your parent afford to pay on a monthly basis? When answering this question, consider a variety of sources including pensions, CPP, OAS, retirement savings, proceeds from the sale of their current home, etc.
Our senior living advisors ask questions like these and others when we first meet with seniors and their families. Sometimes we work with seniors who are aren’t yet sold on the idea of moving to a retirement community, so we may start by uncovering why they’re reluctant and trying to address their misgivings.
Get “insider information” on retirement communities
Visiting a retirement community’s website will only tell you so much. It should give you a sense of what types of accommodation they provide (independent living, assisted living, or memory care), as well as the amenities they offer. But one thing you likely won’t find is what it costs to live there.
Very few retirement communities post their monthly fees online. Usually the only way to find out what they are is to call each community and ask. Some may give them to you over the phone, but others may ask you to drop by for a visit so they can describe what you get for their monthly fee first.
If you’re looking to limit your visits to communities that are within your parents’ price range, this can present a problem.
For this reason, you may find it helpful to work with a senior living advisor who knows what the costs are for various retirement communities in your area. That way you can immediately rule out the ones that are beyond your parents’ means or simply don’t provide good value for money.
As senior living advisors in the Ottawa area, we not only have a good sense of what different retirement communities cost, we can often give you more information about each place than you’ll find on their websites. And because we take the time to sit down with you and your parents to get a real sense of what’s important to you, we’re able to fairly quickly come up with a short list of communities we’d recommend you visit.
On average, we save families 80 hours that they would otherwise spend searching for a suitable new retirement community for their parents. And in some situations, we’re able to offer that help at no charge.