Retirement homes can vary a lot in terms of quality. Some will be really special, with fancy facilities all over and in-house staff who look after your every need. But some will have less going on, and come at a lower price. It is hard to know what to look for about when considering senior living facilities, so we’ve picked five of the top considerations.

1. Have a think about what you need

This should go without saying, really, but it is important to think about the needs of the person in question – if they don’t need any assistance with basic tasks like getting out of bed, they are unlikely to need one-on-one support from a carer. Similarly, if they have dementia, it is likely they will need some special care. Perhaps most importantly, what can they afford?

2.Think about where others in the family have gone when they got older

It can be hard to predict what sort of home might suit an individual when they aren’t there yet – so sometimes the easiest way to think about things is by looking at where others in the family have gone before, especially if they are relatives who have had similar conditions or sisters or brothers who have been brought up in a similar way, and would therefore have similar wants or things they are used to.

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3.  Do your research on the homes available

There are some great homes out there. To find them online, use a search term like assisted living Houston TX that includes the location you want to search in. It is worth doing research online because otherwise, you might not find them! It is hard to get a sense of a place without really breathing it in. Book in a day to go and experience the facilities, and get an understanding of what it’s really like. Speak to residents and ask how they find things.

4.Consider COVID-19

It is really important during these times to think about how COVID-19 affects things. For example, might COVID-19 mean that grandparents are unable to stay in the home while the child goes to school, and need to be shielding in a home? Could quarantining mean it is hard to move into a home? Are there restrictions on the way retirement homes operate during a pandemic? This is a consideration it is easy to forget – but Covid looks set to stay for a while given the lack of vaccine to date, so it is no short-term consideration either!

Retirement homes are a very important consideration, as they are where many of us spend our last years of life – arguably the most important ones. It is easy to think of those last few years of life as an appendix to everything else, but really they could be the most enjoyable ones because they are a time to look back on a life well lived. So spend a bit of time thinking about where you want to spend those valuable years of life – the ones where you will arguably have the least constraints on your life in terms of leisure.

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