Family Home vs. Retirement Home

family home and retirement home

Aging at home is a wonderful thing. The freedom and comfort of enjoying your retirement years in a familiar place, surrounded by a caring support system, is truly priceless. But is the family home a better choice for a senior than a retirement community? Let’s compare the advantages of staying in a family home against living in a seniors’ residence.


A family home offers familiarity: the memories of many years woven into every nook and cranny. The garden you love, the big dining room table, and the basement record collection are all loaded with personal meaning. Nothing replaces these, and living among them can be rich.

A retirement community offers freshness: a change in habits, activities, relationships, and even meal options. Change can be stimulating for the mind and the body and invite you into making new memories. Moving into a retirement home doesn’t mean leaving unforgettable memories behind! The symbols of those memories: furniture, photos, art, and even the records from the basement can fill your new suites with warmth and comfort.


Social connections are an essential part of healthy aging. Seniors who stay in their family homes often seek out social activities at a seniors club, recreation centre, or even the local coffee shop. However, the challenges of inclement weather, lack of transportation, or hampered mobility often put an end to these kinds of relationships and activities.

The opportunity to enjoy in-house amenities like a fitness studio, billiards table, craft classes, live entertainment, and bus trips abound in a retirement community. Recreation teams plan daily events that engage the body, mind and soul, and memorable social events throughout the year. There’s always a game to join, a class to take, or a friend with whom you can stroll through the garden.


When you own your home, keeping up with house and yard maintenance can be challenging, especially for seniors. Responsibility often falls to adult children to assist Mom or Dad with repairs and upkeep. The ongoing tasks can create relational stress as well as anxiety for everyone involved.

A retirement community offers the freedom to leave repairs, upgrades and maintenance to the specialists. Bria Communities, like many retirement homes, has a maintenance staff member on-site most days. Staff  work with landscapers and tradespeople to update and repair home systems so everything stays in tip-top condition. From small jobs like changing a lightbulb to big jobs like upgrading the boiler system, seniors can rely on someone in-house to do the work.


Aging brings many physical challenges, and seniors and their loved ones find peace of mind with a variety of safety supports. Safety upgrades to the family home may include bathroom renovations to ensure safety and access to a bathtub or shower widened doors or ramps to accommodate mobility aids. Subscribing to a personal emergency alert system is a must for seniors with ongoing health concerns or who risk of falling.

Retirement homes are designed for seniors—from wide hallways to seamless flooring transitions and emergency pull cords in high-risk areas. Along with building features, Bria Communities offers access to a personal emergency alert system monitored 24 hrs included in monthly rent. Perhaps the most significant benefit of living in a retirement community is the constant presence of support staff and fellow residents in the event of an emergency.


Enabling a senior to stay in the family home often requires that adult children take on responsibility for daily safety check-ins, meal delivery, shopping, house cleaning, laundry. Often, hiring a home care worker or care aid is necessary to support bathing or wound care. Carrying these extra responsibilities often leads to family tension and burn out for caregivers.

In a seniors community, residents enjoy the services of various support teams from housekeeping, cuisine, recreation, and even a full-time front desk service. Not to mention the support that comes from living in a safe community with friends and neighbours always close at hand. In an independent living setting, where a senior might require a bit of extra support, home care aides can easily visit more than one senior in an hour; the result is a lower cost of services for everyone involved.


The idea of home can sometimes become nostalgic and sentimental, like something we’d see in a Hallmark movie. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a 110-year-old farmhouse or a 10-year-old retirement community; when you’re in a place where you feel safe, known, loved, and comfortable, you’re at home.