Choosing a Home

Retirement living is all about choice …

Retirement homes come in many shapes and sizes, with small homes accommodating as few as ten residents and large ones more than two hundred residents. They can be operated independently or as part of a larger chain, provide services for a particular cultural group in their own language, or focus on programs designed to meet residents’ special needs or interests.

Unlike some housing options for seniors, retirement homes offer significant flexibility. Some residences offer packages that include all of your accommodation, meals and care, while others allow you to purchase only the services and care you need, as you need them. If you prefer a luxury setting with full-service options, you can find it. If you are comfortable in a more affordable, cozy setting, that option is also available. Most important, whatever you choose, you should feel welcome and a valued member of the community.

Below are some questions to consider to help you identify your needs and wants as you begin the process of looking for a retirement residence.


Where do you want to live? In a residential area or a more urban locale? In a  big city or a small town?

How close do you want to be to family and friends?

Do you need a pet-friendly environment?


Are you looking for a semi-private, studio or one-bedroom unit?

Do you want a balcony or other outdoor space?

Do you want a kitchenette?

How much storage space do you need?

Do you prefer a bathtub or walk-in shower?

What other features are important to you?


How frequently do you require housekeeping services?

Do you want an emergency response system?

Do you need assistance with the activities of daily living (e.g., grooming, bathing, dressing)?

What kind of medical services do you require?

Are you able to visit your own physician or do you require an on-site physician?


What types of foods do you like to eat?

Do you have any dietary restrictions?

Do you like to eat at the same time each day or would you prefer to have meals when you feel like it?


Do you want a dedicated exercise space?

Will you use libraries, lounges or other activity rooms?

Do you need a parking space?


What types of activities are you looking for?

Do you want to go on planned group excursions?

Do you have any particular hobbies or interests you would like to pursue?

How physically active are you?

Are you interested in fitness programs?


What is your budget?

Do you want an all-inclusive option?

To find a checklist offered by ORCA (Ontario Retirement Communities Association) click here: