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Retirement PlanningRetirement Homes: When it’s Time to Transition


This article was reviewed by Chris Singer, CFP®.

Making the choice to move to a retirement home is a big decision. The change can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable—and it’s very common to not want to think about it at all. 

After all, you’re used to your life. Your home. Your routine. We understand the feeling.

However, retirement homes can bring a new level of freedom and peace of mind. Whether you start in independent living and keep your life largely the same, or transition to assisted living for some extra support and care, you’ll find the communities are designed for your life stage and created to help you enjoy your golden years. 

It might be hard to notice it, as your routine and situation is something you’re so used to, but a retirement home will likely even improve your quality of life.

The important thing is making the best choices for you (and your caregivers, if you have them), so that you have the support and care you need during this phase of life. 

Making this transition can be an incredibly exciting opportunity, and knowing more about what to expect can help make the decision easier. We’ll explore some of the main reasons for moving and indicators that it’s likely a good time, so you have all the knowledge you need to make the right decision for you. 

Benefits of Retirement Homes

Depending on your needs, you might need either independent living or assisted living in a retirement home. With independent living, you’ll still have all the freedom you’re used to—with a little maintenance help around the yard if needed, and a built-in social community. Assisted living offers much more support, from meals prepared for you to cleaning around the home. But there are plenty of other features, amenities, and perks to moving to a retirement community—so let’s dive in and explore them. 

Downsizing and Simplifying

Maintaining a large family home can be exhausting, and moving to a retirement home allows you to downsize and simplify your living arrangements, reducing maintenance and upkeep responsibilities. You likely won’t need to deal with lawn care, home repairs, and housekeeping, depending on the level of care you choose. 

Safety and Security

Retirement homes often offer security measures such as gated communities, 24/7 staff availability, and emergency response systems. This can provide some extra peace of mind, and help you relax!

Social Interaction and Companionship

Miss knowing all your neighbours? You’ll be back in a community where it’s easy to get to know everyone, and you’re all at the same stage of life. There are plenty of opportunities for making friends and socializing, which can help lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation. You’ll have constant opportunities to participate in group activities, learn skills together, share meals, and build new friendships.

Access to Healthcare and Support Services

Retirement homes typically offer on-site healthcare services or have partnerships with medical providers, which can be a huge appeal for people with health concerns. Similarly, many homes offer varying levels of care, allowing you to transition from one stage to the next as you need. From assisted living to memory care services, these communities are designed with you in mind. 

Amenities and Activities

It’s retirement—time to have fun! Depending on the home, you can have access to fitness centers, swimming pools, libraries, hobby rooms, organized outings, and various social events. There’s something for everyone, and it’s the perfect way to have an active and engaging lifestyle in your golden years.

Financial Considerations

Some retirees choose to move to a retirement home to better manage their finances, as these communities often provide predictable monthly expenses and eliminate unexpected costs associated with maintaining a home. No more emergency roof maintenance or flooding basement expenses, as the retirement community takes care of those types of issues. 

Indicators that it’s Time to Transition

Maybe retirement homes sound interesting—but you’re not feeling ready to take the leap. Or perhaps you don’t know when the right time might be. 

There are a few notable life changes that indicate it’s a good time for you to make this transition, as it can help improve your life or get you the care you need. However, earlier is better than later! You’ll have the chance to get settled before any sort of emergency situation comes up and can take things at your own pace, rather than feeling pushed because of a health emergency or a caretaker change. 

Social Isolation and Loneliness

This is a big one. If you or your partner are feeling lonely or isolated—whether that’s because you don’t have a support network nearby, your children aren’t able to visit often, or mobility challenges have taken a toll on your ability to get out and visit with people, a retirement home could be a great solution. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being. If you’re finding that maintaining friendships is becoming difficult or you miss being involved in community activities, it may be time to consider a retirement home that offers a built-in social network.

Home Maintenance and Safety Concerns

Increasing difficulties in maintaining a home, such as keeping up with repairs, yard work, or home modifications, can be a simple indication that a retirement home may be more suitable to your stage of life. Handing off those responsibilities can benefit your health, and also give you more free time for activities you enjoy. Retirement homes are built specifically for seniors and address specific safety concerns, such as inaccessible layouts or staircases. 

Changes in Health and Safety

Look out for noticeable declines in physical or cognitive health that make it difficult for you or your partner to live independently and safely. Frequent falls, forgetting to properly manage medications, or memory loss that impacts your daily functioning are signs that you will likely benefit from additional support.

Increased Difficulty with Daily Activities

Pay attention to changes in your ability to perform essential activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, or housekeeping. Struggling to maintain a clean and organized living environment or relying heavily on others for assistance may suggest the need for a retirement home.

Caregiver Stress and Burnout

If you have or are a caregiver, pay attention to signs of caregiver stress and burnout, such as exhaustion, declining physical or mental health, or difficulty managing responsibilities. The wellbeing of caregivers is an extremely important consideration, and burnout can extend to fractured relationships if you can’t find a remedy. If your children are caring for you, check in with them. Moving to a retirement home could be better for them and your relationship and will also improve your quality of life as you’re able to access professional care and support.

Emotional Readiness

Being emotionally ready is also a big part of a smooth transition. Some individuals may feel apprehensive about leaving their familiar surroundings, while others may be more open to the idea of a retirement community that offers companionship, activities, and support. Consider your emotional state and willingness to embrace a new living environment, both for yourself and your partner.

Recognizing the signs and considering the factors that indicate it may be time to transition to a retirement home is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life and ensuring your safety and well-being.

Making the Decision

It’s ultimately up to you but remember to take into account the other people who are impacted by your choice—your partner, caregivers, children, and friends. Retirement is an exciting phase of life and retirement homes offer many simplicities that can help make your experience more enjoyable and stress-free. 

If you’re considering making this transition, book a call with us! We’d be happy to walk you through your options and answer any questions you have. And stay tuned—in an upcoming blog, we’ll explore how to research and pick the perfect retirement home for you.