HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Retirement and long-term care options that suit your lifestyle

Finding the best living options in Simcoe County for aging parents, or for yourself as you move onto the next stage of life can be daunting. Fortunately, there’s a vast number of resources to help, and a variety of lifestyle choices you can pick from.

“Most cities offer organizations that help support seniors in finding care options. In Barrie, there’s the BSSN (Barrie Senior Services Network). This organization provides a large amount of information to the senior population regarding services available within the region of Simcoe County. The Red Cross is another non-profit organization that’s used as well to provide information regarding services and non-profit care services. Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) is also a great resource,” says Philip Aubin, Community Relations Coordinator for The Barrieview Retirement Community in Barrie.

Some of the care options that exist in the seniors’ housing industry comprise of long-term care homes (nursing homes), memory care services, independent-living retirement homes, assisted-living retirement homes, and senior apartments.

“Many seniors make an initial move from a house that’s too much work into a condo that’s smaller and lower maintenance. We find this can be a short-lived solution, and moving to a retirement residence setting is the best fit long term,” says Michelle Julien, Sales and Marketing Manager for Allandale Retirement Residence in Barrie.

The whole process of finding the right living arrangements requires a lot of decision making and planning. Take time to tour various residences, check suite designs, try the food, and ask what activities are available, says Aubin.

“Choosing a retirement community that has a vibrant life within the community is very important. The challenge our baby boomers have with searching for care services for their parents range from financial, to the degree of care services needed, and cognitive needs that require immediate supervision,” explains Aubin.

It’s important to consider what level of care is required long-term to avoid having to move more than once, advises Jackie Payne, Administrator for Birchmere Retirement Residence and Champlain Manor in Orillia.

“Drop in and have a walk through unannounced. Check how clean the home is, how happy the residents look, and how the staff are interacting with residents. If you know someone else who lives there, that’s good too,” says Payne.

Sometimes independent living is the best option financially and preferred after downsizing. Senior apartments are available and allow opportunities for seniors to connect with each other for social support, and daily assistance.

“Independent living is for people who want to have space and are self-reliant, but want maintenance taken care of. We have a community of people, and it’s secure. We have common areas and activities led by residents themselves,” says Drew Currie, Executive Director of Tollendale Village in Barrie.

You’ll have to contend with wait lists from community to community depending on occupancy availability, warns Aubin. Home care is another option to contemplate.

“We encourage families to be proactive when considering retirement living options. The more proactive you can be, the more choices you have,” recommends Julien.


The Barrieview Retirement Community

Allandale Station Retirement Residence

Birchmere Retirement Residence and Champlain Manor

Tollendale Village, Barrie

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