Making the call to determine which retirement homes to tour, is an exercise in thoughtful deliberation, and an execution of preparedness.
Why not use this quick reference tool and prequalify if the home is a contender before you book a tour?
The Six F's
Right Fit: What amenities do you need?
The Retirement Home needs to be a custom fit for the individual. The home environment may be appealing, but who are the Clients they serve?
There are different styles of retirement residences, and many of these buildings cater to a lifestyle where seniors are largely independent. In these settings, residents desire the amenities: meal preparation, housekeeping, and laundry services, because they no longer wish to organize or manage this facet of their lives. Not all homes are equipped to provide additional services for individuals with changing health or memory issues. Additional services, if available may be costly. What are you actually looking for regarding services?
Right Feeling: What is non negotiable?
The Retirement Residence should reflect the values of the prospective resident.
Entering into a retirement lifestyle residence is a significant transition from the family homestead. This is the time to establish the priorities that are non negotiable before a decision is made. If you are a person who desires the company of a family pet, then consider this as non negotiable when determining which homes will be chosen for the tour. Perhaps there needs to be underground parking as your location is subject to inclement weather. What do YOU consider non negotiable?
Right Friends: What is the average age?
Friendships are an important part of aging well.
Ask about the average age of the retirees in the residence. If you do tour, check out the individuals in the common areas and note those using the amenities. Is this a place for younger or maturing seniors? Do the current residents have the same level of energy, and interests?
Right Financials: What is their bottom line?
If it is not affordable, don’t bother to look at it.
Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the perfect home, only to determine that it is cost prohibitive. Prequalify your choices by asking about the numbers before a tour is booked. Having to settle on second best when you just toured your “out of reach” dream home, will leave the tourist with the sense of what could have been, rather than what is. But make sure you are comparing "apples to apples." Is the quoted suite the same square footage, was there a balcony, what about the view, number of bedrooms? Remember each home has its' own perks and descriptors.
Right Focus: How do they support aging couples?
If you want to stay together and have different health care needs, will you be supported as a couple?
If either member of a couple has a health condition that requires routine monitoring, consideration should be given to the supports available.
Qualifications of staff is worth considering:
Registered Staff: Registered Nurses or Registered Practical Nurses: have formal training with the ability to plan care, conduct assessments, administer medications etc. A Registered staff member on duty 24/7 allows for the added security of knowing the medical person on duty has extensive education in health care. Is this important to you?
Personal Support Workers (Ontario): Have basic training in assisting with personal care and are the "hands on" care providers. There are regulations re education requirements. Education may vary depending on geographical location.
Care Attendants/Nurses Aides (Ontario) etc.: These staff members may have minimal, to some training, which may have been exclusively provided by their Employer.
Education may vary depending on geographical location.
If there are medical concerns that warrant skilled staff on site, ask these questions before planning a tour. Remember, some homes operate exclusively with a call buzzer system that alerts Emergency medical services and an ambulance if the bell is pulled. There are no other provisions in these locations.
Right Format: Is this home following local, regional, and other legislative authorities?
Retirement Residences in many geographical areas have come under the scrutiny of governmental authorities.
Rules, regulations and governances affect Retirement homes, specific to geographical locations. Some operators may promote their residences using other “lingo” so as not to be designated under Retirement home legislation. Is this home flying above, at par or below the radar?
Establishing a tour route based on pre qualifying homes is a wise effort in time conservation. A wise consumer is a prepared consumer
And by the way, don't forget to use the Elderpilot Retirement Residence Mobile app for iPhones and Androids, (to download to an iPad, visit www.elderpilot.com) to guide you on your tour (with touch screen prompts), provide a resource manual, and record pertinent information.
There's nothing like a comprehensive report with the home's photo to peruse, over an evening beverage, as you navigate your next move...But's that's just the way you've always operated.