Senior Living Options

Your care – your choice

In Ontario, there are three main types of residential care for seniors: Retirement Homes, Long Term Care Homes and Supportive Housing. There are also seniors apartments, which do not provide care but do provide a senior-friendly environment. Assess your personal situation and compare your needs with the amenities and services offered by each.

Retirement Home

A retirement home is a privately-owned residence that provides rental accommodation for at least six seniors and makes at least two care services available (such as meals and medication administration). General residents can live independently with minimal to moderate support and are able to fund this lifestyle on their own. In a retirement residence, the resident pays for accommodation, care and services without any subsidy or contribution from any government or non-governmental organization. The rates charged for accommodation and services are not fixed by the government. Retirement homes are regulated by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority.

As defined by the Retirement Homes Act (RHA), a retirement home is a building that is occupied primarily by persons who are 65 or older, are occupied by at least six people not related to the operator and make available at least two of the thirteen care services set out in the Act.  These include providing meals, assistance with bathing, personal hygiene, dressing or ambulation, providing a dementia care program, administering medicine, providing incontinence care or making available the services of a doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

There is no medical benchmark that seniors must reach before they may reside in a retirement residence. A retirement residence administrator may assess a potential resident’s needs prior to entering into a tenancy agreement to ensure that the home is able to provide sufficient care and support. You do not need a referral from CCAC or any other agency.

Consider retirement living if you want:

•    Your own room or apartment near others who have similar lifestyles and interests

•    Optional services such as meals, laundry, social activities, transportation

•    A setting that can adapt to changes in your personal care needs

•    The complete choice of your new home  – no need to go through community agencies

Find your retirement home through our Home Finder.


Long Term Care Homes

Long-term care homes (also called nursing homes) are designed for people who require the availability of 24-hour nursing care and supervision, sometimes within a secure setting. In general, long-term care homes offer more personal care and support than that offered by retirement homes or supportive housing.

Long-term care homes are licensed and authorized as government-regulated residences and receive government funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). Residents are expected to pay a co-payment for their accommodation. Co-payment rates are set by the MOHLTC and change from time to time. This rate covers meals, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance of the home, and administration. There is likely to be a waiting list and you may not get your first choice. You need a referral from CCAC.

Consider a long-term care home if you are looking for:

  • 24/7 availability of nursing care and high levels of personal care
  • A setting that will accommodate variable and changing health needs and will provide on-site safety supervision
  • Government funded nursing and personal care and the possibility of subsidized accommodation

Applications for admission must be made through your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing is designed for people who require minimal-to-moderate levels of personal care in order to live independently within an apartment-like setting. This type of accommodation usually consists of rental units within a building or may consist of small group residences.

Accommodations, on-site services, costs, and the availability of geared-to-income government subsidies vary with each building. It is very common to find a waiting list. To qualify, you must be eligible for Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) home support services.

Consider supportive housing if you want:

  • Your own apartment near others with similar lifestyles and interests
  • Rental housing with a possible government rent-geared-to-income subsidy
  • Government-funded personal care services
  • 24/7 personal care and support available as needed
  • Optional services such as meals, laundry, social activities

For further information, check with your local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).

Seniors Apartments

Seniors apartments are designed for seniors who can live independently but who wish to live in a community designated for seniors and that may provide social or recreational programming. The individual unit may have an emergency call system but no regular care services are provided through management. Seniors apartments are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act. Subsidies may be available through municipal or provincial governments.

Consider Seniors Apartments if you are looking for:

  • Independent living and you can arrange with external providers for any care needs
  • A setting that is senior focused and that may provide some social or recreational programming
  • Rental housing with a possible government or community subsidy

Applications can be made with the individual landlord.