Answers to top questions about retirement living

How do you choose a retirement residence? Start by understanding senior living options in B.C. and Ontario

A view of an Amica dining room

What is senior living, how do I find a retirement residence and how do I choose the right level of senior care, from Independent Living to Assisted Living? We’ve got answers to these very common questions in this article. It’s one of many you’ll find in our new Ontario Senior Living Guide and B.C. Senior Living Guide, designed to help modern seniors and families understand their best options, from living arrangements and activities to safety considerations and costs. Read on for information that will help you make the right senior housing choices.

“At Amica, we describe senior living as an exceptional lifestyle experience for seniors who wish to live with confidence, connection, opportunity, purpose and hope,” says Doug MacLatchy, CEO of Amica Senior Lifestyles and Chair of the Board of the Amica Helping Hands Charity. “We empower people to live on their own terms in an elegant setting with outstanding dining, amenities, activities and personalized care.”

Question: What are senior living arrangements like?
Every retirement residence is different, but the best place to get an overview is our new Ontario Senior Living Guide or B.C. Senior Living Guide. Amica is unique because our premium residences offer a range of private suites with a kitchenette for singles or couples, ranging from a studio suite to multiple bedrooms to townhomes. Although many seniors worry about the effort of moving, it’s often easier than they expect and fully worth it to enjoy an enriched lifestyle with like-minded seniors. Get inspired by our downsizing webinar and guide, plus read these suggestions from a resident on making the most of retirement living.

Question: What is a typical day like in senior living?
Some retirement residences have strictly scheduled dining and activities, so ask about these while researching senior housing options. At Amica Senior Lifestyles, no two days are alike because you have absolute freedom to come and go, dine when and where you prefer and decide how you spend your time. You decide whether to participate in multiple voluntary daily activities organized by our team, such as socially distanced fitness classes, live or virtual performances, workshops, themed parties, guest speakers and happy hour. Check out the Amica social feeds to see what our residents have been up to lately.

Question: What COVID-19 safety precautions are in place?
Ask about infection control and protective protocols at any senior’s residence you’re considering. As for Amica, since early 2020 we’ve taken extensive safety measures — more comprehensive than required by public health — to protect residents, team members and families from the novel coronavirus, including vaccinations, universal masking, enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and visitor screening. We are also working with healthcare partners and organizations such as McMaster University to better roll out testing. Get the latest updates about how we prioritize health and well-being during the pandemic.

Question: Can I keep my pet in a senior living residence?
At Amica, your small pet is welcome to live with you in your suite. “Pets offer joy and companionship for their owners as well as other residents,” says Dr. Heather Palmer, Amica’s Cognitive Well-being Advisor in Why dogs are good for seniors. Be sure to check with the residence you’re considering: not all retirement operators allow cats and dogs.

Question: How do I choose the right level of senior living care?
When reviewing retirement residences, seniors and caregivers should consider both current and potential long-term needs. Most Amica residents move to Independent Living. Seniors who need help transferring to and from mobility devices or monitoring health conditions may be right for Assisted Living; those experiencing cognitive challenges such as dementia or Alzheimer’s will appreciate Memory Care. Get help guiding your decision from How to research senior living residences, 4 questions to help you or your parents choose the best senior living experience and Is it time to consider dementia, memory or Alzheimer’s care? Part of the Amica difference is that we provide flexible care that adapts as your needs change, so active seniors can access a la carte nursing and wellness care even while enjoying Independent Living.

Chances are, you have even more questions about senior living, including the differences between retirement residences and long-term care, meal options and how to cost and finance retirement living. You’ll find answers to these questions and more in the Ontario Senior Living Guide and B.C. Senior Living Guide

To have all your questions answered, please schedule by-appointment private or virtual residence tour in accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols. Don’t hesitate to get in touch: we are here to help.