It is very common to consider a retirement home lifestyle as a means of solving difficult situations arising from living in a traditional home. This might be the result of a sudden change in one’s life or a gradual shift in day-to-day living that is finally recognized. Here is a list of typical problems that others have experienced along with the solutions they enjoyed by moving to a retirement home. (With videos.)
The following three situations capture most of the problems people face when considering downsizing.
1 Aging and change in health
* increased risk of falls due to physical changes such as a loss of strength, mobility, balance or vision.
* a greater likelihood of medication errors due to self-medicating
*an inability to manage personal care such as meal preparation and feeding
* reduced independence due to the loss of a driver’s licence* or an unwillingness to drive any longer. This leads to shrinking social interaction and an inability to go shopping independently, run errands or go for medical visits.
2. Loss of a spouse and/or other family members (“empty nesters”)
* increased isolation due to living alone
* increased cost of food for single-servings and waste due to spoilage
* money wasted on insuring, repairing and storing a vehicle that is rarely driven
* money wasted on energy costs of maintaining a home that is 80% empty most of the time.
3. Financial stress
The inability of a fixed income to cover the climbing expenses of home ownership and maintenance
The basic solution to these problems is to recover the equity in the home by selling it and using the proceeds to fund the cost of retirement-home living.
Here is a fun exercise for you. Just match each problem listed above with a corresponding retirement home benefit listed below. Each problem should have a matching solution.
Downsizing to a retirement home is a big adjustment for anyone. However, it can be a source of relief to the new resident and reassurance for other family members. Here are the main positive benefits this lifestyle.
1. Health Supervision
One of the most important aspects of living in a retirement residence is the on-going supervision and monitoring of each resident’s health by staff. This involves daily observation of the resident’s behaviour* and needs. Depending on the size and location of a given residence, residents may have access to a nurse on a daily basis and/or a visiting doctor on a weekly basis. Administering medication is usually an optional task that can be included in a resident’s care package, thus ensuring consistent treatment.
2. Personal Care
The is a very compelling reason for moving to a retirement home. Everyone has a need for personal care on a daily basis. When self-care is no longer an option, having staff on hand that can be reached by the push of a button is a relief to the entire family, not just the resident.
3. Meal Preparation
A balanced diet is very important for the correct maintenance of seniors’ health. Retirement homes operate professionally staffed kitchens and typically engage a dietician in planning appropriate meals. The dining room is a focal point in retirement homes for social interaction around good food.
4. Active Social Life
Quite often a transition from a traditional home to a retirement home brings about an expanded social life for new residents. They can interact with more people in one day than they would in one week (or more) in their original home. They also have an opportunity to meet people with a range of backgrounds thus enriching their conversations. Along with an increase in social interaction is the opportunity for group physical activity designed to maintain tone and balance. Modern retirement homes offer a range of activities that are appropriate for seniors.
Here are two videos with comments from residents about their personal experiences. Each video consists of a very short clip from the full-length version. To play the entire video, press the circular “replay” button at the end of playback.
Length: Clip = 13 sec. Full video = 78 sec
Length: Clip = 27 sec. Full video = 78 sec
5. Live Entertainment
Most people have never had live entertainment in their own home, yet musicians, dancers, and story-tellers are popular attractions in retirement homes. Some entertainers specialize in visiting retirement residences and creating a special bond with the regulars living there.
Length: Clip = 21 sec. Full video = 95 sec
6. Single Bill
All expenses for retirement home living are rolled into one monthly invoice for review and payment. This simplifies the process of managing the combined expenses of accommodation, meals, health care and personal care.
What is your opinion of retirement-home living?
Age in Place
People may also opt to “age in place” and bring the necessary supports to the current home. That has worked well for many people too. However, they also forego the full range of advantages of retirement-home living listed above by doing so. The most important consideration when choosing between the two options is usually a financial one. There will be more to follow on this topic in a future article.
* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.
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Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated