Differences between a retirement residence and a long-term care home

Differences between a retirement residence and a long-term care home


You probably have difficulties in understanding the difference between retirement residences and long term care homes. Many people use the terms "retirement residence" and "long-term care home" - also referred to as "nursing home.’’ However, they are very different and it is important to understand these differences when you start looking for a new home in your retirement years.

Here are three main differences between the two living options:

The level of support you need to live well

One main difference between the lifestyle in a retirement community and a long term care home is the amount of support and care that the residents receive.

Retirement homes cater to older adults who have various preferences and needs, and the flexibility to find the right level of support for their lifestyle. For example, a senior who is independent and active may only want to live in a peer community for social reasons, or maybe the benefits of housekeeping services, while another senior may look forward to the benefits of medication administration, delicious dining and recreational opportunities. Retirement residences offer several levels of support like independent living, assisted living and memory care.

Long-term care is different because seniors who are eligible to move in generally need around-the-clock care because of their complex medical and mobility needs or advanced stages of dementia. Seniors who live in long term care homes need help and medical supervision on a daily basis in order to live comfortably and peacefully as they deserve.

The process of moving in

If you want to move into a retirement residence, you are free to choose when and where you want to move in. A Chartwell Health and Wellness Manager at the residence you're interested in will help you choose the right lifestyle option tailored to your individual needs and preferences and if the residence doesn’t have a waiting list feel free to move in when you wish.

The local healthcare authority in your province will decide if and when you can move into a long term care residence. Admission is not coordinated by the home itself, but by local health authorities in each province. Seniors and their families must meet with a case worker who will determine the eligibility and then put them on a waiting list until space becomes available. In general, the waiting lists are long so that the process of moving in will not be immediate but rather may take months to years to be completed.

Cost structure

You will be responsible for paying your own monthly rent in a retirement residence which depends on several factors such as the size of your suite, the lifestyle option you choose and other services you’ve asked to receive. Although retirement living is a privately paid option, government subsidies and tax credits can be granted to you depending on your country of residence.

Long-term care residences, owned and operated by private companies like Chartwell are regulated and partially funded by the health authorities of each province. A portion (or all, depending on eligibility requirements) of the rent of a resident can be covered, but long-term care should not be misunderstood as a "free" living option for seniors and their families.

We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.

Call: 800-997-1342


Petar Jangelovski
Petar Jangelovski

Petar Jangelovski A former ESL teacher who enjoys reading books and going out with friends. Experienced and creative translator, and once upon a time a poet, who wrote Shakespearean-like sonnets.

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