Retirement Living FAQs

Your questions, answered.

What is a retirement home?

A retirement home is a privately-owned residence that provides rental accommodation with care and services for seniors who can live independently with minimal to moderate support and are able to fund this lifestyle on their own. Read more in Retirement Living.

What is the difference between a retirement home and a long term care home?

Retirement homes provide rental accommodation with care and services for seniors who can live independently with minimal to moderate support and are able to fund the lifestyle on their own. You can choose your retirement home and wait lists depend on the individual home. There is flexibility to choose your type of suite, the services you need and the activities you want to participate in.

Long-term care homes (such as homes for the aged and nursing homes) are designed for people who require the availability of 24-hour nursing care and supervision, sometimes within a secure setting. They receive government funding, with residents paying a co-payment for accommodations. There is likely to be a waiting list and you may not get your first choice of facility.

Where are retirement homes located?

Retirement homes are located throughout the province. You can find your local retirement homes through our Home Finder tool.

What are the benefits of living in a retirement home?

Some of the benefits of living in a retirement home:

  • Freedom from maintaining a home and preparing meals
  • Enjoying privacy while knowing someone is aware of your well-being
  • Belonging to a community of peers and participating in that community
  • Living in a safe and secure environment that can accommodate varying levels of physical mobility and changing care needs

In a retirement home, you no longer need to worry about keeping the yard maintained, shovelling the snow or doing house repairs. You have your own suite and your own privacy, but are able to share meals and activities with others. You also have help nearby if you fall or otherwise need assistance.

Who pays for a retirement home?

The resident (or family) pays for the accommodation and services provided within a retirement home. Infrequently, a subsidized bed may be available through your municipal government for those who need care. Should home care services be required, publicly funded services may be available through the local Community Care Access Centre.

How much does it cost?

The cost for a retirement home is set by each individual home and depends on the type of suite chosen and the services required (e.g. do you need assistance with medication, dressing, bathing). Contact one of our homes and they would be pleased to provide this information to you.

What’s included in my monthly rate?

Your monthly rate will depend on the type of suite and the care services you desire.  When you go for a tour, ask your guide for a breakdown of the costs and services involved.

Is there a waiting list?

It depends on the individual home. You may need to place your name on a waiting list for a few weeks or months. Start your search early to ensure a suite is available when you need it.

How do I get in?

You do not need a referral to apply to live in a retirement home. If you find a home you are interested in, call them and set up a tour. If you decide it is the right place for you, the home will have an assessment process by which they will determine if they can provide for your care needs. There may be waiting list. You deal only with the home, there are no other community agencies involved.

Are retirement homes regulated?

Retirement homes are regulated by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority in accordance with the Retirement Homes Act. Other legislation that set standards for retirement homes include the Residential Tenancies Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Fire Protection Act, the Personal Health Information Protection Act and College of Nurses standards. See more under Acts and Regulation.

My relative has Alzheimer’s/dementia. Can they live in a retirement home?

Anyone can apply to live in retirement home but the home may assess medical needs to ensure that they can provide the requisite support level. Some retirement homes offer specialized support for those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, including a secured area. Please check with each home for details.

Can I get help bathing or dressing?

Many homes offer help with the activities of daily living (this may involve an additional fee).  Please check with the home for details. Residents may also qualify for publicly funded assistance through the Community Care Access Centre.

What happens if I have to go to the hospital or I want to take a trip?

As long as you continue to pay your monthly rent, you retain your suite. If your hospitalization results in higher care needs, the home may need to reassess whether they are adequately able to provide the requisite care and/or set any additional fees involved.

Do I have to sign a lease?

Yes, you will be required to sign a lease with the retirement home as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act.

Can I bring my pet?

Some retirement homes will allow you to bring your pet as long as you can care for it, although there may be restrictions on the type or size of animal. Ask about bringing pets when you take a tour.

Can I bring my car?

Yes. There may be an additional fee for parking.

Can I bring my own furniture?

Your suite is your home so you are encouraged to bring your furniture and personal belongings. Individual homes may have restrictions on certain items.

Can family and friends visit?

Family and friends are welcome to visit and stay for a meal (there may be a small fee involved). Some homes offer guest suites for your guests to stay overnight.

How can I tour a retirement home?

Start with our home finder. Search for homes in your preferred area and you can visit their website to get a basic idea of what they offer. Then pick up the phone and call. The general manager or another staff member will be happy to give you a tour, arrange for you to stay for a meal and make time for a discussion on what your wants and needs are and whether the home would be a good fit for you.

I’m not sure if the home I toured is right for me. How can I help make my decision?

Many homes offer a short stay or overnight option so that you can fully participate in the activities and amenities of the home and help make the right decision for you.

When I tour a retirement home, what should I ask?

Please visit our checklist page to get some ideas about what you should ask on a tour.

What if I want to move to a different retirement home or into long term care?

You are able to move at any time as long as you give the notice required under your lease.

What do I do if I have a concern about a retirement home?

If you have a concern about a retirement home, please contact the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority through their toll free hotline: 1-855-275-7472.