I BELIEVE one of the biggest things to appreciate and understand about moving into a retirement residence is that the whole space, the whole building is your home. So many seniors we help look only at the suite they’re taking and think that that is where they will be spending all their time. Not true!
Your room is yours and it is there for you whenever you need, but just like in your own home, it’s primary purpose is for sleeping, personal hygiene and maybe a little rest or to watch your favorite show. It’s certainly not for 24/7 living, and although there are some minor exceptions to that*, for the most part, you’ll be out of it for much of the day.
Let’s look at living in your new home:
Use the common spaces – even the simplest of retirement homes have common areas for residents to use, and you’ll always be encouraged to do so. There’ll be the dining room for sure, but then a lounge and maybe a sunroom or solarium; a theater, chapel, games or activity room…a library, a gym, a pool and outside spaces. Even those homes that don’t have a lot of green space have been innovative in offering residents ‘the outdoors’ and there are roof top terraces, or landscaped areas with short walking paths, benches, pergolas and BBQ areas. There’s usually a robust activity and events program daily in homes, so you’re able to plan what to do from after breakfast to after dinner, if you wish. As well, you’re free to come and go, so if you’d rather go for a swim on your own time, or you’re booked into the on site hair salon, that’s no problem.
Welcome Visitors – as the retirement residence is really your home, you can welcome friends and family to visit you there, just as you would if you were back in your condo. The necessary but often hard restrictions that were in place a few years ago at the height of Covid have certainly eased, and guests are welcome to come for meals, to have a coffee visit with you as well as stay over. However, because it is also home to others, making arrangements with the on site team for extra meals or an overnight stay will be needed. There are also screening requirements still in place so answering questions about how you’re feeling, as well as wearing a mask may be needed. Some homes are still choosing to ask visitors to take a Rapid test for Covid. This is not currently (Feb 2024) a Public Health requirement, but premises with more vulnerable populations are erring on the side of caution and it’s their right and choice to ask for an added level of screening.
*an exception to being in your room for an extended period, is if you’re not very well (stomach bug, cold, Covid or Flu, or recovering from surgery or a hospital stay)
Personalize – we’ve written an article on room sizes and suite options, which you can find here which could provide some extra tips, but our main advice when moving into a residence is to personalize your space as much as you can and want. Bring your art and pictures for the wall, your favorite dresser that’s been in the family for years, and your sturdy recliner that has many years left as a trusted chair! Bring plants and a kettle. Have your own comforter and pillows for your bed, and your lamps for side and end tables. The only thing not advised, is bringing an area rug(s) or mats, as they’re high trip hazards.
95% of the time, on a permanent basis, suites are offered totally empty, so the proverbial world is your oyster in terms of how you want to set it up. There are occasions when a residence may be able to loan or provide outright some/all furnishings for the room, but this is never a given and on a case by case basis. If this is something you’re going to need, you can always ask us at Solva to help, or you can ask when you initially chat with or meet the sales consultant to see if that is an option at their property.
Understand your responsibilities – last month’s article was on your lease or short term agreement in a licensed retirement home, and you can read it here. The biggest thing to appreciate while in a retirement home is that your lease runs month to month and you only ever need to give 30 days written notice of your intention to move. As well, this notice can be provided at any time of the lease and at any time of the month.
For more information on anything written here, or questions on moving in to a retirement home, please connect with us for free at Solva;
Call us at 613-421-6073 or email email@example.com
We provide the following free services:
1 – Rapid Resources & Referrals.
2 – In Person Visits.
3 – Arrange and Escort on Tours.
4 – Advocacy during the selection and move in process.
5 – Resources for additional services.