Relocation options for seniors

For many seniors, either through necessity or choice, they may need or want to consider the option of relocating to some sort of seniors’ residence, often with some form of care or support. When faced with this decision, it is best to first understand your care needs, financial limitations and the residences available to you in your desired area. The more independent you are, the greater the options. There are several types of accommodation available to seniors in Ontario.

The lowest level of care is Independent Seniors Apartments. These are rental apartments some of which may be rent geared to income. Some may be a co-operative building; others are just like any other rental apartment setting; and some may have the extra benefit of activities, meal options or visiting resources. There are those that have the added component of ‘Supportive Housing’ where there are services available, provided by support workers, that assist the person in remaining independent. There are a limited number of these buildings and may be a wait list to access them.

Life-lease or life-equity units are similar to condominiums however the buyer purchases a ‘leasehold interest’ in the unit rather than the unit itself. Built by a non-profit company, it usually holds title to the units. While it is meant for the independent senior with some equity, the structure is usually attached to a resource agency where care services can be purchased. The cost is usually less than the average condominium however amenities available, maintenance fees and purchase price varies depending on the location, sponsor and other factors.

Retirement Residences, Homes or Communities are privately owned settings with rental units (though there are a few condominium-style residences as well), that have care and services available to residents. Most include meals and minimal housekeeping services with the option to purchase personal care for an added fee. There are no government subsidies and applications are made directly to the home. All homes set their own price and costs will vary depending on area, ownership, included services and other factors. Retirement homes are licensed and regulated by the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority ( They are generally for the independent person with minimal to moderate care needs.

Long-term care homes provide 24/7 care and assistance for the medically stable person. People in long-term care can no longer manage in their own homes and require assistance with many or all activities of daily living (personal care, eating, bathing, medications). The cost of care is paid for by the government who also licenses and inspect homes. Each resident is responsible for room and board costs (called the co-payment). The co-payment amount is set by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and is the same for all long-term care homes in the province. Applications are made through your local CCAC.

Once you determine the type of care you require, focus on seeking out homes in your area that can meet your needs, contact them about pricing, arrange for a tour and explore all of your options in light of your situation.