The questions you need to ask before moving into a senior apartment in Ottawa

Choosing a retirement home is not something you want to do in a hurry. This is a major life move and you shouldn’t have any lingering questions when you first move in.

Fortunately, Ottawa has a wealth of options for seniors who want to downsize into an age-restricted active living senior home. As one of the top places to retire in Canada, Ottawa has many retirement homes in desirable, walkable neighbourhoods.

As you and your family begin your search for retirement homes in Ottawa, there are some essential questions you should ask before you move in.

#1 Is the Suite Right for You?

How much space do you need? It’s common for seniors to decide to downsize and there are several practical reasons to do so:

  • You can free up equity in your home to help pay for your retirement.
  • You no longer need so much space and square footage, especially as your kids start taking over responsibilities like hosting for the holidays.
  • As mobility becomes a concern, it makes sense to move into an apartment that doesn’t require you to use any stairs.
  • The cost of renovating your home for accessibility can be a costly process, sometimes as high as $20,000.
  • Moving to an area that’s more walkable with services and shops closer to you can help you give up driving before it becomes a risky activity.

Senior apartments are often available as studios, 1-bedroom, or 2-bedroom. Find the space that works for you.

#2 Can You Afford to Live There?

Don’t be afraid to ask about the cost. You should understand the full cost of moving in, including rent, non-refundable upfront fees, and the costs of future, more intensive care than you may be looking at right now.

Ottawa is one of the most affordable big cities in Canada. The average of cost of living in Ottawa is significantly lower than the GTA, while residents get all the benefits of vibrant city life, world class public transit, museums, art, and public institutions.

#3 What Levels of Care Are Available?

Finding a retirement home where you can stay and age in place is a tough balancing act sometimes. Right now, you may be looking for an independent living facility that’s more or less an age-restricted community. Years from now, you may need a greater level of care. You want to be able to stay where you are to get it.

Ask about flexible care options and the future availability of assistance.

#4 What Kind of Activities Happen?

An important part of the social life of a retirement home is the activities that happen there. Here are a few common activities you should find in senior living communities:

  • Physical fitness classes like chair yoga, tai chi, or pool exercises
  • Arts and crafts nights
  • Move nights
  • Holiday events that the whole family can participate in
  • Social clubs that focus around an activity like walking, knitting, and reading

#5 How’s the Food and How Many Meals Are Served?

Don’t neglect the food. You may even want to come for a meal before you commit to it. Find out how many meals are served in a day and when, as well as your options for snacks and alternatives. What are the kitchens like in suites for you to prepare some meals independently? Giving up cooking is one of the great perks of retirement, but it helps to know you’ll be eating well while someone else does the work.

#6 What Is It Like Living in Ottawa?

Is Ottawa the place for you? There’s a reason Ottawa has been voted the best place to retire in Canada. The city is home to a rich cultural life, including tourist hotspots like the Rideau Canal, the Parliament buildings, ByWard Market, and seven national museums. Living in Ottawa is a great choice for seniors.

Ask the questions you need to know. A good retirement residence will be happy to make sure you have all the answers.