Here's a list of quick facts about retirement living in Canada
What do retirement homes cost?
• Broad range of fees; anywhere from $1,000 to $4,500 per month; CMHC survey reported average of $2,190
• Non-profit retirement residences often offer subsidies for low-income seniors
Who is eligible?
• There is no central processing agency
• Interested seniors must apply directly to the residence of their choice
• Applicants may be requested to undergo medical examinations prior to being accepted
Trends in retirement homes
• Living spaces are becoming larger; operators don't build shared rooms anymore
• Increased demand for more varied recreational and social activities; at least one location responded to residents' requests and created wine-making rooms, others have fitness clubs or home theatres
How to assess home health-care services
• What are the amenities?
• Do the recreational programs suit my interests and tastes?
• Is there supervision with medication?
• Is there a visiting physician and dental service?
• Is on-site nursing available?
• Are there suites with a kitchenette?
• What is the daily or monthly rate?
• How often have rates increased?
• Are there charges for the additional services I may want or need?
• What happens if my health deteriorates?
How are retirement homes regulated?
• In many Canadian provinces, retirement homes fall under landlord tenant laws. For example, in Ontario, the Tenant Protection Act requires a written tenancy agreement for each resident.
• Also in Ontario, retirement homes are not regulated or funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
• Accommodation rates are subject to rent control
• Subject to public health regulations, fire and building codes; some jurisdictions have municipal bylaws that pertain to operation of a retirement residence
• In Ontario, professional operating standards, inspections and accreditation have been established by the self-regulatory, voluntary membership-based Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA)
• The Retirement Home Complaints Response and Information Service (CRIS) is a government-funded toll-free hotline that anyone in Ontario can call to get help resolving a complaint about any retirement residence or to get more information on care options available (1-800-361-7254)
Quick facts about Ontario nursing homes and retirement homes
• Ontario has 37,279 beds (CMHC survey) and about 900 retirement residences
• Average age of residents is 83 (CMHC survey)
• Average size is 40-50 units with some as large as 150-200 units and some as small as 20 units
Compiled with the assistance of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association website and Gord White, ORCA's CEO; the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres website; Statistics Canada's website; Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website; Retirement Homes Report, 2003 Annual Survey, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Please note that while it is still customary to refer to retirement homes as nursing homes, the phrase "nursing homes" has come to have negative connotations. Today, nursing homes fall into various categories such as long-term care, Alzheimer's Care and others.