Is There a ‘Right Age’ for Retirement Living?

By Caroline Inman


IN a nutshell, we don’t think so; it’s all about YOU!

For the most part, retirement homes are for the over 65s. There is an Ontario law which came into practice in 2010 – The Retirement Homes Act – and it states that to be a licensed community, one of the considerations is that a home is ‘occupied primarily by those who are 65 years of age or older’. There are exceptions to this, and each establishment should review a need for a younger senior on a case-by-case basis, but for the most part you can expect your peers to be 65+. In a seniors’ building or a 55+ community, there are often younger seniors (like the name 55+ suggests) and the offering is different. There is no in-house care oversight for instance, but there are often similar services and amenity spaces to a licensed community.

Choosing to move to a retirement home is very personal and everyone who lives in a residence has a different story and experience of what brought them there. There may not be a right ‘age’, but there are certainly better times over others to consider moving.

Planning Ahead – one of the biggest things to consider as you look ahead is how to best plan. As well, to understand why people have to move vs why they may want to move. Those wanting to move are doing so because they’re recognising  personal motives; the family home is too big, they want to be closer to family, they want a ‘lock-and-leave’ lifestyle; they want a smaller footprint, they’re fed up with maintenance and would prefer condo living. This is in stark contrast to those who have to move. Here, the home is no longer healthy or safe; stairs are an issue, they’re living in one room, usually on the main floor. Eating and nutrition is no longer a primary consideration as packaged/frozen meals are more convenient. Medications may be missed, leading to a separate host of issues; loneliness and social isolation become prevalent and everything goes around in a circle. Being in a scenario like this is not good for physical, emotional or mental health and instead the benefits of community living could outweigh the desire to ‘remain at home regardless…’

Lifestyle – deciding when the best time is for you to make a move is based entirely on your own circumstances, including your lifestyle. Are you an outgoing personality who would relish the opportunity to engage in social programming and making new friends? Is this something you’d like to explore as a younger senior, as opposed to waiting til you ‘need’ more support? Do you like to swim or use the gym? Are you a foodie and would appreciate options for finer dining? Do you need any care supports right now, or maybe you will in the future? Do you know which area or town you’d like to be in, or how much space you’d need? Would a senior’s building work for you as a first step into retirement living, or would you rather not move again and instead consider only the homes that could take care of you no matter what? 

There are many, many considerations and it can often seem overwhelming. Certainly speaking with us at Solva can help make sense of what this looks like, and our expert guidance can alleviate any anxieties around the ‘not knowing where to start’ scenario. 

Researching your Options – tied very much to the above, understanding your options sooner than later is something we advocate for. Are you hoping to have a few more years at home if that is doable, but would like to know ‘what is out there’ should circumstances change on a dime? What sort of a budget will you have and what is important to you both in a physical building but also the amenities and support it provides? Narrowing down options before you need is wise, as long as you also bear in mind that depending on how far ahead you’re looking, many things will change….pricing and availability of suites being the biggest two.

Timing – as we’ve mentioned, recognising when you’d like to make a move (ie ‘want’ to move) vs have to move is very important. If you’re already considering retirement living, there is doubtless a reason. That could be because you’re realising your home is too much, or you are feeling lonely. It could be because making meals is now a chore and not a pleasure or you’re experiencing a health challenge. The biggest thing with timing is being honest with yourself and admitting that you would benefit from a different living situation, and/or more help. Even though we provide seniors with retirement living options, we are still huge proponents of staying at home, as long as it’s healthy and safe. If there comes a time when you know that it isn’t, please connect with us to benefit from our free program of guidance, information and support.


Next Steps?
Call us at 613-421-6073 or email

We provide the following free services:

1 – Rapid Resources & Referrals.
2 – In Person Visits (Zoom calls or phone chats right now unfortunately as we all socially distance).
3 – Arrange and Escort on Tours (again, we can provide virtual tours and presentations or get pictures of specific accommodations and living areas sent to you).
4 – Advocacy during the selection and move in process.
5 – Resources for additional services.