Making the Move: What residents say about the realities of living in a residence

Matt Del Vecchio

I often run into residents in senior residences who had used our services to assist them with the transition to their new home. I am always eager for their input about their new living accommodations. “How do you feel?” I ask. “Tell me the good and the not so good.”

The most popular response by far is: “It’s better than I expected. In fact, I should have done this a couple of years ago.” The fear and anxiety of moving into a residence are diminished rapidly after settling in. You get to enjoy the benefits of living a carefree life while having the option to participate in activities and events and the peace of mind that a nurse or doctor is available should there be a health issue.

Costs

Some people who had recently moved were relieved that they no longer had to deal with issues related to home ownership such as maintenance and upkeep. Although many are concerned that it’s more costly than living in a home or condo, many costs are eliminated such as property taxes, school taxes, heat, electricity, cable, condo fees, home repairs, security, and snow removal.

Goodbye loneliness

A common response is that the person feels less lonely. Inevitably, new friends and relationships are created. Some have even reunited with friends living in the same residence.

In situations where increased care was required, there was a sense of relief for individuals and their respective families that many appointments can be handled at the actual residence including switching their doctor to the residence GP. Medication is administered by the nursing team. Assistance with day-to-day living such as bathing, meals, housekeeping and laundry can be provided.

Food is a hot topic

Some reactions were pleasantly surprising. They liked the choice of meals and the fact that cooking was no longer required. Others complained about the food. “It’s just not the same as what I’m used to,” said a few residents. Complaints about food increased in higher-care environments such as nursing homes (CHSLDs).

Big or small

Smaller residences can be beneficial for individuals requiring more personalized attention. They also tend to be less expensive than some of the bigger residences. However, they usually have fewer activities and social events.

Can I stay where I am forever?

Try to anticipate future care levels. Avoid moving into a residence that does not offer appropriate nursing care services that may be required down the road. Many expressed their worry about the possibility of moving again because they did not realize the residence could not accommodate their future care needs.

Before you move in, ask important questions: How does your evacuation protocol work? What is your staff to resident ratio? What is your rental increase policy? What is the process to terminate my lease? What is the response rate after pressing the call bell or emergency button in my apartment or room? What about allergies and other dietary restrictions?

The senior living industry is booming, resulting in a competitive environment. Consumers will ultimately be the benefactors as services, accommodations and amenities are improved. There has never been a better time for individuals and couples to explore their senior living options.

Matt Del Vecchio is the owner of Lianas Services Senior Transition Support and host of “Life Unrehearsed” on CJAD800 Sundays at 4pm.

mdelvecchio@lianasservices.com

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