Senior living options: Choosing the best fit

It’s easy to feel lost or confused when trying to find a senior living home for yourself or a loved one, especially when you don’t understand what options are available to you. When you or a loved one are ready to begin the search process for retirement living options, you’ll want to be sure your choices are suited to your needs. Consider the following levels of care and service options when making your decision.

Independent living: Independence and flexibility
Independent retirement communities are geared toward older adults who are considered to be self-supporting. This retirement option is for seniors who can conduct daily activities on their own, without assistance. Seniors who choose independent living can take advantage of all the amenities a residence has to offer, including dining options, engaging activities and programming, work-out and salon facilities, transportation services and housekeeping. One of the main draws to independent living communities is the social environment, as residents are surrounded by other adults who not only share the same age, but also the same interests and experiences. These homes provide security for residents, as well as the flexiblity to add supportive services, such as personal care or help with medication, should needs change.

Assisted living: Independence combined with care options
Seniors who require some help with daily living are best suited for assisted living homes, where caring staff are on hand to aid residents any way they can. According to, Canadian assisted living residences are frequently equipped with the same recreational activities and amenities as independent homes, residents also having access to libraries, work-out rooms, bistros and outdoor facilities. In addition to having staff members who can help residents with everything from bathing to walking, assisted living homes also provide dining options, transportation services and engaging programming – among many other supportive services. Older adults who are looking to prolong their health and independence, but still require assistance with tasks associated with daily living, should consider this type of community.

Long term care: Daily assistance
For seniors with complex health issues or who struggle with their daily living routines, long term care may be the best choice. Long term care residences offer both comfort and expert care to older individuals who require regular help. These warm and welcoming homes ensure that seniors receive the best care possible, while also boasting activities and programs that equal their independent counterparts. Caregivers foster caring relationships with seniors, providing comfort, cheer and – in some instances – nursing care to seniors who need a little extra help.

Alzheimer’s and memory care: Assistance is key
Older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia should consider moving into a retirement community that has a secure memory care floor. Retirement residences with memory care floors have trained staff and specialized amenities in place to make life easier for individuals suffering from cognitive loss. The Alzheimer Society of Canada recommends that family members who are caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia speak with members of their local Alzheimer Society to discuss what options are best for their loved one.

Peace of mind, no matter where you go
Regardless of what option you choose, deciding to move to a retirement community can seem daunting. Keep in mind that seniors who choose retirement living benefit from a number of on-site facilities, social events, activity programs and expert care personalized to their needs. Prior to deciding which type of residence to move into, seniors and caregivers should examine how their specific needs can be best met, which may include consulting with a doctor or medical professional, asking friends or family members to help by recommending sites, or conducting online research.