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Q&A: How to choose the right retirement community

Expert advice from Berwick Community Relations Managers, Kathy McAree and Linda MacDonald
Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak check all the right boxes when it comes to retirement living.

Choosing the right retirement community can be challenging for those eager to enjoy their retirement years fully. With numerous options available and various factors to consider, narrowing down priorities becomes crucial.

Kathy McAree and Linda MacDonald, community relations managers at Berwick, offer insights on three key questions to consider when picking the right community for you.

Q: What are the current residents saying about their community?

A: “Current residents are often the best people to connect with when looking at a new community,” says Kathy. “Their first-hand experiences can help you better understand if their community is what you’re looking for. It can also be beneficial to check for any awards that the community has won in the past and look over their Google reviews. Word of mouth and reputation are both important factors to consider when deciding on a retirement community.”

Staying active in inclusive exercise classes can help you in your healthy aging journey.

Q: What types of onsite amenities and services are important to me?

A: “Ultimately, the types of services and amenities you need come down to lifestyle. Your new community should support your current hobbies and interests. If you enjoy gardening, fine dining or staying active, those are all important points to consider,” Linda says. “You’ll be happier and healthier living somewhere that’s equipped to support you in maintaining a fulfilling lifestyle.”

Q: What brings me joy?

A: “This answer will be different for everyone,” Kathy says. “Do you still find joy in entertaining? If so, perhaps you’ll want to prioritize use of private dining rooms. Do you find enjoyment in learning new information or skills? If yes, you’ll want your new home to provide quality programs and perhaps even a private library. Your retirement should be a happy, memorable, and fulfilling time in your life and the community you live in should support and encourage that.”

Two other key areas of consideration are a facility’s ability to accommodate companion pets and, of course, the food! While ‘pets are family members,’ not all retirement communities are pet-friendly, though Kathy notes, Berwick is!

Great food, great company, great memories at Berwick.

Lastly, one consideration everyone should take seriously is easy access to quality, nutritious meals.

“While there are many things that set Berwick communities apart, the one that we hear residents talk about the most is our dining options. It can be easy to underestimate the importance of high-quality dining options, but it can quickly become an area of contention when moving into community living,” Linda says.

Berwick Royal Oak and Berwick House in Victoria provide residents three meals a day plus snacks, and offer multiple options for where, when and how residents dine, including special monthly dining events.

Learn more about life at Berwick House and Berwick Royal Oak at or follow them on Instagram. To book a tour of Berwick House, contact Linda McDonald at 250-853-5492 or book online here. For a tour of Berwick Royal Oak, contact Kathy McAree at 250-419-4012.