How To Find Apartments For Seniors

Canada has many specialized apartments for senior living. Learn about living facilities for seniors and how to find resources for senior living.

One of the hardest parts about getting older is remaining independent. As you age, your body naturally becomes weaker and you are vulnerable to more health issues. Living alone becomes more of a challenge as tasks that were once considered easy put more of a strain on your body. This does not necessarily mean you must move into an assisted living facility. There are many types of senior living facilities in Canada that allow you to comfortably live independently without requiring constant care.

Another consideration with senior housing in Canada is the cost. The majority of seniors are either retired or close to retiring, living on a limited fixed income. Senior apartments take this into consideration with their costs, offering lower rates compared to traditional apartment complexes. In Canada, there are many variants of senior apartments to choose from, each with their own costs and advantages. The availability of senior apartments will vary depending on where you live, but each province has their own resources to help you find a safe and affordable apartment.

Private Pay versus Government Care

Payment for senior apartments is either classified as private pay or government care. With private pay, you are responsible for the costs of the apartment, while government care covers some or all of the costs. Government care typically has more requirements. Even if you are paying out of pocket for senior apartments, the pricing is reduced compared to traditional apartment complexes. The eligibility requirements may vary depending on your provenance and the apartment complexes. Many apartments require you to be at least 65 years of age, but there are some facilities that accept applicants who are at least 55 years of age. Additionally, some locations may require you to be retired in addition to the age requirements.

Independent Living Communities

Most senior apartments are part of an independent living community. Depending on your province, these communities may also be called retirement homes, life-lease communities or active adult communities. Independent living communities often make up the majority of senior apartments.

This type of senior apartment is designed for seniors who either require no additional care, or minimal services from a caregiver. The goal of these senior apartments is to create a community where seniors can interact with similarly aged residents. Many of the communities are located on elegant campuses, with gardens, walking trails and small parks. Others even include additional facilities, such as restaurants or game rooms. The communities are well maintained, with the apartment owners handling any home maintenance and lawn chores. The apartment complexes frequently partner with other senior services, helping with travel, housekeeping and meal plans.

The cost of independent living communities varies based on province. On average, you can expect to pay around $1,500 to $3,000 a month. Some of these costs may be offset by government assistance programs. Utility and amenity costs are typically all included with the monthly fee.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities refer to senior apartments where seniors are mostly independent, but require some assistance with their daily tasks. These apartments are sometimes called independent support living or retirement care. Within the community there are caregivers who will assist seniors with cleaning, grooming and transportation. Like independent living communities, they also include a number of facilities. In addition to parks and walking trails, they also feature convenient locations to limit how often seniors travel. This includes spas, general stores and medical transport services.

The cost of assisted living facilities is close to independent living communities, typically starting around $1,500, but some of the advanced facilities end up costing as high as $5,000 or $6,000 each month. Another variant of assisted living facilities is residential care homes. The main difference between the two is size, with care homes frequently having less than a dozen residents. This makes it much easier for caregivers to address the needs of all the residents.

Supportive Housing

Supportive housing is almost identical to an assisted living facility, except the costs are covered by the government. In some provinces, all of the costs are covered, while others provide discounted rates, with additional options for financial assistance for seniors who are still struggling with the costs. 

Seniors cannot normally apply for supportive housing. Instead, they must be recommended by a medical care professional. Supportive housing is largely reserved for seniors who have chronic medical issues. They are still able to live independently, but require more specialized assistance compared to seniors in an assisted living facility. 

There are varying levels of supportive housing, based on the needs of the senior. For example, apartments with a support level of three or four are meant for seniors who have mobility issues and require more consistent care.

Home Care

Home care is referred to by a number of other names, including community nursing, home support services or in-home health care. Home care is typically a private pay service, but there are some government assistance options as well. Home care is not technically an apartment type. Instead, it is a compatible service to help seniors remain independent. 

With home care, a caregiver visits the apartment to help with basic services the senior may struggle with, such as cleaning the apartment or shopping. The caregiver does not live in the apartment, and how often they visit is entirely based around the needs of the senior. Some seniors are independent enough to only need the caregiver to show up once a week for a few hours, while others need daily support.

The average cost for home care varies depending on the level of service you need. If you only need personal support with household tasks, the cost is around $12 to $15 per hour. If you also need help with medication or other activities that require a nurse, the cost is closer to $25 to $30 per hour.

Finding the Right Senior Apartments

Once you know what type of senior apartment is right for you, the next step is to find which apartments are available in your province. There are several resources available to seniors, including government resources. Each province has different apartments available, so it is important to make sure you are looking at the right information for your area. These services not only include where to find senior apartments, but also resources for financial assistance or help with medical programs. The government resources for each province are: