Making the decision to move into a retirement home

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In the Comfort Life Spotlight

What better way to learn the how and why of choosing a retirement home than to hear from the retirement home residents themselves?

"I thought, gee whiz, this isn't bad"

Elinor Hodgson did not tell anyone in her family that she was going for a three-day trial stay in The Orchards Retirement Residence in Vineland, Ontario-not even her son, Bill, who happens to be the local mayor.

"All of a sudden, it got to be too much," she says, sitting now in her cozy room, her computer handy, the windowsill a mass of orchids and African violets. "I have a walker and I couldn't get up the stairs (at home)."

She had family next door, "but I think Mom felt she was relying on us too much, calling all the time," Bill says.

Once there, "I thought, gee whiz, this isn't bad," says Elinor, 84. "I have my own room, I have my privacy. I don't have to shop for groceries and I don't have to make my bed."

What better recommendation for a retirement home than to know that a retirement homes expert has decided to move in there? Learn more about the value of respite care stays

Kanata Retirement Residence in Ottawa: a retirement homes expert moves in

Blanche McKenzie, 88, knew more than most people about choosing a retirement home. As a registered nurse, she had worked with the elderly as well as working part-time in later years in an Ottawa retirement home. She was living in Windsor last December when she decided it was time to make her move. And she remembered how happy some of her former charges had been when, on the closing of the Ottawa home, they had moved to a Kanata retirement community.

The journey back to Kanata took 12 hours, but now she is content. "It's well-designed, I like the recreation centre. It's neat!" she says.

Best of all, she says, it's attached to a day-care centre, "and we get to see the children. You just know we have so much more living to do-the children and us."

At Oakville Retirement Home, Delmanor Glen Abbey, John exclaims'I don't need to worry'

John Stephens believes it's best when choosing a retirement residence to pick one in your own community. John, slim, fit and remarkably youthful for his 82 years, still drives to his original church in Oakville and belongs to two bridge groups.

This former executive vice-president of George Brown College in Toronto is no slouch "at home" in the Delmanor Glen Abbey retirement residence: Everyone talks about his kinder, gentler methods of teaching duplicate bridge, a notoriously competitive game. As well, he is a member of a walking group and even pinch hits as organist and choir director at the church next door.

"The good thing about being here is the peace of mind," he says. "I don't need to worry about what is going to happen next week or next year."

Oh yes, and this widower has one other secret to staying young: "The first lady I see every morning, I kiss."

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