What to look for in a retirement home

When selecting a retirement home it is essential to evaluate that most of our regular and emergency needs are met. It is equally important to evaluate who the other residents are going to be. A standalone township is worrisome, it is best that the retirement home is part of a larger development. It helps reduce infrastructure costs and overall maintenance cost of common areas like main gate, streetlights etc. Above all find out about the service provider. Are they there for a mission or profit? Will they take care of residents more than their bottom line?

Suggestive check list is given below :

 A. Overall Check

  • Is the proposed project part of a large organization with multi location facilities?
  • Are they for profit or a not for profit organization
  • How do they ensure that scare resources go towards service and less for overhead and profits?
  • Do they have high dependence care facility
  • What is the cost of using high dependence care rooms
  • Is the service there till end of life

 B. Have you analysed the service provider

  • Have you seen the charter. What is the objective? Is it service or service for profit
  • Are they backed by people with reputation
  • Is there a clean system to find actual cost & service provider’s overheads or management fees.
  • Is management fee a flat amount or a percentage of total cost?
  • Are the people backing the service provider there for a cause or profit
  • Are the service operator services monitored regularly
  • Are the service providers principals planning a service satisfaction monitoring survey
  • Are the service providers planning integration of their facilities so that you can trade stay in different parts of country as part of old age tourism or for change of place and atmosphere?

 C. Have you checked what facilities are there

  • What all activities are provided for
  • What are the program being planned
  • Barber /beauty shop
  • Laundry facilities & services
  • Guest accommodations
  • Parking
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Storage
  • Telephone services
  • Utilities
  • Emergency call system pull cord facility
  • Exercise programs, including recreational activities
  • Physiotherapy center
  • Staff available 24 hours a day
  • Security System
  • Meals( number per day and ability to meet special dietary needs): tray service (if ordered by a doctor)
  • Housekeeping cleaning etc.

 D. Have you evaluated the likely atmosphere?

  • Do you like the facility location and plans
  • Is the layout attractive and homelike-
  • Was the initial interaction, personable, outgoing & professional?
  • Is the facility planned to encourage socializing
  • Did you find out contacts of other potential residents about what made them decide to move to this facility

 E. Have you checked the plans for Physical Features:

  • Is community well designed for residents’ medical needs? Are floor plans easy to follow
  • Are doorways, hallways and rooms accommodating to wheelchairs & walkers?
  • Are elevators available? Are there hand rails along the walls?
  • Are floors of a non-skid material and other flooring firm and easy for walking?
  • Does the residence have weather friendly access to amenities and facilities
  • Are the plans approved by relevant authorities

 F. Have you checked the plans for Medication & health care?

  • Does the community have a detailed medical facility
  • Has the community tied up with a hospital
  • Does the facility provided for a doctor
  • Has the community got a clearly stated procedure for responding to a medical emergency?
  • Does the plan include high dependence care rooms, caregivers, bathing facility for special needs?
  • Has the facility got access to know how on geriatric care?

 G. Have you checked the individual unit features?

  • Are different size & types of units available? Single or double occupancy?
  • Is a 24-hour emergency response system accessible from the unit?
  • Are bathrooms private and wheelchair accessible?
  • Are housekeeping services provided in residents’ units?
  • Do all units have a telephone and cable TV? How is billing handled?
  • Does the kitchen area/ unit provide with space for a refrigerator, sink and cooking range?
  • Are residents pets allowed? Who is responsible for their care?

 H. Have you checked Contracts, Costs & Finances?

  • Is a contractual agreement available to include personal care health care, supportive services, all fees, and admission & discharge provisions?
  • Can a contract be terminated early Are there different costs for various levels or categories of services?
  • Do billing, payment and credit policies seem fair and reasonable?
  • Is there an appeals process for dissatisfied residents?
  • Is there a provision for continuity of service in case of the service provider cancelling the contract?


  • Can the residence provided list of services available?
  • Are additional services available if the resident’s needs them
  • Is 24- hour assistance with activities of daily living available?
  • Is transportation provided? Can it be arranged on short notice?
  • Is a pharmacy, barber /beautician and / or physical therapy offered on-site?
  • Are visits with the residents welcome at any time?

 I. Have you checked about food service?

  • Does the residence provide three nutritionally balanced meals every day?
  • Does system provide for menu to vary from day and meal to meal?
  • Are common dining areas available
  • Are meals times wide enough to cover time preferences
  • Can a resident request special meal
  • Can a resident cook their own meals in their apartments
  • Is the dining room large enough to sit approximates 30% – 40% of the strength in one seating