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Assisted living Vs retirement living

Published: 25 January 2016

Deciding to buy a retirement home is a significant move, but once you’ve taken this important first step then what next? How do you choose a retirement home and what needs to be on the checklist?

There are all kind of options on offer and it’s important to make sure you know and understand them so that you can make the right choice for you. There are two main choices: assisted living and retirement living. So what are the main differences?


What is retirement living?:

  • Here you get to enjoy the privacy of your own apartment, but with opportunities to socialise whenever you feel like it.

  • The environment gives you every opportunity to lead a full and active social life, with a homeowners’ lounge and shared gardens where you can socialise with the other residents, who will often organise activities that you can join in with.

  • All the chores, such as gardening, maintenance of the building’s exterior and security are taken care of for you.

  • There is a guest suite for friends and family members to stay in when they come to visit you and private car parking is also often available.

  • Apartments are designed to ensure that day-to-day living is easy, so plug sockets and ovens are set at waist height, there are lifts to all floors so that you can get around easily, and secure, lockable doors and windows to prevent unauthorised entry.

  • Most retirement living complexes will have a house manager available during office hours who can offer help if necessary, and all developments have a door entry system linked to your TV and a 24-hour emergency call system should you need assistance.

What is assisted living?:

  • A typical assisted living resident would usually be someone over 70 who does not need the level of care offered by a nursing home but would like more companionship and some day-to-day living assistance.

  • You can get additional support and assistance when you need it, from companionship when you go out shopping or socially to reminders about when you need to take your medication.

  • It’s up to you whether you choose the in-house care service on offer or registered care agencies in the area. Many assisted living developments also provide a restaurant, which is open year-round and offers a reasonably priced, freshly prepared three-course meal.

  • Services include help with dressing and undressing or washing, getting up and going to bed, mobility problems, medication monitoring, meal preparation and supervision, and assistance with rehabilitation and exercise programmes.

  • There is 24-hour CCTV and a secure entry system so that whether you’re in your apartment or away for the weekend you can be sure that everything is safe and secure.

  • All apartments are designed to be wheelchair-friendly, with a secure mobility scooter room for parking and charging.

  • Inside the apartments, considerations are made for ease of access, with ovens and plug sockets at waist height, light switches illuminated and kitchen windows operated electronically by button. All corridors are equipped with handrails and all bathrooms have non-slip flooring and a level-access shower room.

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