Selecting the perfect retirement village

Deciding on that special place to satisfy your needs in older age is probably one of the most important decisions you will make, but how does one go about finding the perfect retirement spot?

Below, we offer some helpful hints and tips on what to look for when visiting a senior housing community. Remember, although the standard and style of decoration are important, the most critical factor is the quality of support and care you will receive.

Feel free to gauge Trans-50’s performance against each criterion:


Management and employees

Employee friendliness is one of the most important aspects in choosing a retirement village.
Do you feel welcome when you walk in?

Ask if there are consultative processes in place between the residents, employees and management.
Will your voice - as resident - be heard?

Observe whether the employees make eye contact with the residents. Listen to the way they interact with each other.
Do you think the residents feel respected?

Ask if there is a value system in place, designed by all employees. Assess whether the daily interaction with residents is a reflection of their value system.

Ask employees at random if they know the vision of their organisation.

Ask about employee training and whether it is ongoing, and to what standards.

Ask to meet as many people on the management team as possible. Ask about their qualifications. Ask who is in charge during the night shift.


Cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness

Does the air smell fresh and clean? Are the windows sparkling? Are light switches free of grubby finger marks? Are the floors and walls spotless? Are there suspicious 'damp spots' on chairs?


Carer to resident ratios

Ask how often the Care Practitioners change shifts.

Enquire about the ratio of Care Practitioners to residents. For frail care, this ratio should never be more than 7 residents to 1 Care Practitioner and 5 residents to 1 Care Practitioner for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

The question regarding the above ratio is an important one. If the organisation does not have the correct ratios in place today, what guarantee do you have that they will be in place if and when you need them to be?


Clinic services

Ask to visit the clinic. Does it appear to be well-equipped? Is it clean and tidy? Are there drugs or bottles of medicine lying around? Are the cupboards and trolleys locked? Ask to see the drug register. When last was the clinic inspected by the authorities? Ask about the qualifications of the person in charge of the clinic. Ask who is in charge during the night shift and over weekends. What are their qualifications?



Ask as many questions as possible relating to the delivery of personal care. Look at the current residents. Are they wearing appropriate clothing? Do they look clean? Are the men shaven? What does their hair look like? Are there any strange smells? Ask about bathing procedures and scheduling. Do the employees communicate with residents in an appropriate manner? Are any residents tied into their beds or chairs? Ask about evacuation procedures.


Activity options

Ask to view the activities calendar. Watch some of the activities. Are they well attended? Do the employees enjoy the activities as well? Is there an air of excitement, fun and liveliness about the place? Ask if there are religious services on site.


Property maintenance

Do the premises look cared for? Or do they look dark and dingy and in need of paint? Look at the paintwork and brickwork. Check for broken windows. Are cupboard doors hanging off their hinges? If it is in the evening, are all the lights working? Are the paths well maintained? Are they wheelchair-friendly? What is the average response time in dealing with a maintenance problem? How many maintenance staff are employed?


The gardens

Are the gardens well tended and inviting? Is the lawn mowed? Are the flowerbeds blooming? Does it feel safe in the garden? Is there somewhere to sit? Are any residents outside, enjoying the sunshine?