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1. Plan ahead

Good decisions are best made without time restrictions. Research the option of retirement residences before you need it and discuss it with relatives and friends.

2. Assess your needs, wants and interests

From rental versus ownership and size of living space to recreational facilities, social activities and health services, determine what is absolutely needed and what is open for negotiation. Make a list and prioritize your wants and needs to ensure your high quality of life is maintained.

3. Assess your available resources

`Housing options will vary in cost depending on a number of factors: if you rent, lease or own; the level of care you require; the amenities provided. Determine your financial situation and how much you are willing to spend. More information on financial matters can be found here.

4. Research your options

There are hundreds of options available to you. Use our online advanced search to narrow down the possibilities and compile a list of residences that appeal to you. Compile a short list of your chosen residences and request additional information. You can request information for each residence listing on this website directly from their profile page by clicking on the inquiry tab.

5. Visit each residence on your short list

Make an appointment and visit each of your top choices. Go back a second, even third, time. Bring along a list of things to consider and questions to ask so you don't forget, and take lots of notes. Print a checklist here.

- Look at the kitchen - Request menu samples
- Eat a meal or two in the dining room
- Go off the beaten track and check out places like stairwells
- Note the maintenance and overall cleanliness
- Chat with residents
- Request references
- Ask the staff lots of questions

6. Evaluate your choices

Compare what the residence offers to your list of needs, wants and interests. For example, do the recreational programs suit your interests and needs?

7. Take a test drive

Stay a week or two in the residence(s) that most appeal to you. This will provide you with a feel for the residence(s), the staff and the services provided. If you can't see yourself comfortably and happily living there, keep looking.

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