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Retirement Living FAQs

Your questions, answered.

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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.

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.

Read more in Retirement Living.

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. An individuals’ eligibility is assessed through Home and Community Care Support Services.

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

  • Living in a supportive, safe and secure environment that can accommodate varying levels of changing service needs
  • Belonging to a community of peers and participating in that community
  • Having the flexibility and option to enjoy privacy with support and caring staff available 24/7
  • Freedom from maintaining a home and preparing meals

In a retirement community you no longer have to worry about maintaining a yard, shovelling snow or doing house repairs.  You have your own suite and your own privacy but are able to share meals, activities and time with others with support for your changing needs as necessary.

The resident (or family) pays for the accommodation and services provided within the retirement community. Should home care services be required, publicly funded services may be available through Home and Community Care Support Services.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Anyone can apply to live in a 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.

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 Home and Community Care Support Services.

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

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.

Yes. There may be an additional fee for parking.

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

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.

Start with our Find a Home Tool. 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.

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.

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

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

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.