Retiring at Home VS Retirement Residence
One of the phone calls we get most often is people wondering about home care vs a retirement residence or assisted living. Is this you? Have you heard about long term care but are not entirely sure what that means or how it is different? Well then these next few paragraphs are dedicated to you!
In terms of living space for a senior in Ontario, there are five basic options you have.
1. Staying at home!
The first and most important fact is that with the right help and support, anyone can stay in their home as long as they like. Many people prefer this option. And with the endless options available for renting assistive devices, having caregivers and nurses visit your home (like CalaCare) and the expanding world of technology that can help seniors stay safe and connected, this option is getting easier and easier.
If this is you, give us a call and chat with an RN about some possible things we can do to help!
2. An apartment
For many, the first stop after moving out of their home is a smaller apartment. This offers all the independence you like while removing some of the chores that are often the most difficult – things like yard maintenance and snow shoveling. Also many buildings cater specifically to seniors and include amenities (group fitness classes and the like) that make them ideal.
3. A retirement residence
The term ‘retirement residence’ is a really broad term that is widely used and not easy to define. Retirement residences vary from those with sparse amenities (very similar to an apartment) up to those that have comprehensive 24/7 nursing services onsite to cater to complex medical needs. Facilities of all types call themselves ‘retirement residences’ and so you really need to visit each one individually to know what you’re getting. They key difference between this and option two (the apartment) is that a retirement residence typically handles food preparation and basic housekeeping for all its residents.
4. Assisted living
This next category is really a subset of a retirement residence in that many retirement residences offer a separate floor or wing for ‘assisted living’. What they mean by that is a separate setup with much more ‘in-room support’ for residents (including help dressing, bathing, and with other personal items) for those who can no longer manage without that extra help.
5. Long term care
Long term care is the last stop on our tour and is reserved for only those with the most critical medical issues. To access a long term care facility you need to be approved by a CCAC case coordinator and then also make it through a long wait list. The reason for these extra steps is that long term care facilities are partly funded by the government of Ontario and as such are much cheaper (relative to the high level of care they provide) than assisted living residences. For more info on working with the CCAC see our article on Public vs Private – how it works in Ontario.
These five categories give you a high level view of possible living arrangements but one thing we’ve learned through years of helping families navigate through these choices is that every situation is different and demands a different answer. If you’re interested in having one of our RNs help you sort through your options they would love to help – give us a call!