Retirement Home Checklist


When planning a move to a retirement home, several things must be considered. Before our loved ones move into a new residence, ensuring their new home will feel like home is essential.

Therefore, before selecting which retirement home you or your loved one will move into, consider how this will fit your personal care needs, the level of safety and accessibility provided, and how financially viable this new care home will be long-term. Based on these considerations, you may need to choose between a retirement or nursing home. Learn more about the factors that may affect your decision here:

We’ll break down these concerns below, which you can use as a checklist when determining whether your selected retirement home is the right option for your circumstances.

How the residence fits your personal care needs

The most important consideration when choosing a retirement home is how it will fit the personal care needs of you or your loved one.

Both physical well-being and personal contentment should be prioritized, and both are affected by many different things, such as the quality of food, how the staff treats a person, and the health care provided. Let’s break these down further below:

The level of maintenance and health care provided

Many older individuals moving from their houses to retirement homes are doing so to lighten their load regarding chores, property maintenance, and cooking. Therefore, when looking at options for a retirement home, examine the services offered.

Services like housekeeping, providing prepared meals, and changing linens are common offerings at most retirement communities.

However, the acceptable level of these services will differ for many people, as some may require more assistance, like full-service laundry, assistance with bathing, or meal provision. When looking at the services your chosen facility provides, consider the level of convenience they’ll provide.

Another important consideration is the healthcare options that will be available. If an older person requires more consistent observation and medical treatments, it’s best to consider a housing situation where they will receive ample support from care aids and/or nurses.

Quality of food

To feel at home in a retirement community, individuals need to feel content, which the enjoyment of food contributes to significantly. While some older individuals may have dietary restrictions required to maintain their health, that does not mean they need to sacrifice taste and quality.

When looking through the retirement home information, examine the menu options and see how your personal food preferences can be accommodated.

Also, consider finding out if the menus are prepared with the assistance of a registered dietitian, as this is an additional guarantee that your dietary needs will be met appropriately.

First impressions of staff and residents

When deciding whether to move into a retirement home, take the time to tour the grounds and meet the other staff and residents.

We want to ensure that our loved ones are treated with kindness and respect, so when visiting the retirement home, examine how the staff and other residents interact with you and each other.

Take note of how they greet and welcome you, and record any red flags you encounter with how those in residence treat one another.

Recreational activities and amenities available

As mentioned above, personal contentment is a significant factor when selecting the right retirement home, something that entertainment and recreation can help provide.

Look at the events and regular activities that the retirement home has scheduled and see if anything piques the interest of you or your loved one.

Also, look at the shared amenities and the personal suites.

A recreational centre, televisions with streaming services, reliable internet, and other similar amenities all add to the level of enjoyment that residents will experience throughout the day.

Cleanliness standards

Everyone has their standard of cleanliness, which can make switching from doing your own housekeeping to relying on staff a challenge.

If a retirement home doesn’t maintain the standard of cleanliness you or your loved one deem acceptable, it can be difficult to feel entirely comfortable living in those conditions.

Therefore, before deciding where to retire, see if you can inspect the kitchen and suites to get a better idea of how your chosen retirement home is maintained.

Safety and accessibility concerns

When selecting the right retirement home, the issue of safety and accessibility is a critical concern. To examine whether the centre you’re considering is properly equipped, take a tour of the grounds and look for the following:

  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Elevators
  • Fire exits and other emergency exits
  • Transportation services
  • Automatic sprinklers
  • Smoke detectors
  • An approved fire safety plan
  • Home layouts that are compatible with mobility aids

The above safety and accessibility measures ensure you or your loved one can get around the retirement home grounds safely and easily. These concerns are especially important to consider for older ones who require the use of a wheelchair, cane, or walker.

Long-term affordability

Finally, when selecting the right retirement home, ensure you choose a home that can be afforded in the interim. Examine your finances to see what you can afford on a month-by-month basis, and then request a complete list of expenses from the home you’re considering to determine whether it’s feasible.

To get a complete picture of what to expect, there are a few questions you can ask when discussing payment, such as the following:

  • Is the payment schedule on a month-by-month basis, or must you pay the total amount in advance?
  • Do the first and last month’s rent need to be paid upfront?
  • What type of rental units are available? Are there more affordable options than what is being presented?
  • How does this retirement home handle payment issues, such as void cheques?

After learning all you can about the affordability of your chosen retirement home, take a close look at the rental contract to ensure you or your loved one is getting the best deal for the money being spent.


Whether you’re on your own or helping an older family member or friend make the decision, it’s important to remember that all time spent in a retirement home should be enjoyable and fulfilling. Before making a final decision, take the time to thoroughly research your options and make sure you’re confident in your choice.

Finally, feel free to contact your local retirement community – they’ll have the most up-to-date information and can answer any questions.

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