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The Cost of Retirement Living

In a nutshell, it is always better to have extra income when it comes to retirement planning. More money affords you more choice and the government pensions people get, do not allow for flexibility or much choice.   For someone on basic pensions choice is limited to seniors buildings that are rent geared to income or long term care - this is unfortunate because there are a whole group of people that fall between the cracks here. In some areas there are some not-for-profit or subsidized retirement settings that could be afforded on basic pensions but they would likely have long wait lists or be in less desirable areas and usually care would not be included in the rates.

If someone has a property to sell or equity or retirement savings plans, then retirement communities might be the better choice. Retirement homes are all private and there are usually no government subsidies - the price range depends on where you live, costs are market driven and also depend on the services you want or need - the starting cost is approximately $2,500 - $4,500/month for a basic unit for a single person in most areas but in outskirts the price may be a bit lower and in higher population areas it will be higher. Also, some homes will charge extra for certain care which will add to the monthly cost. In Toronto for example homes range in price from the low $3,000/month range to as much $9,000/month + depending on where they are & what is included.

Nursing homes are funded partially by the province but different provinces work on different models of subsidy. Generally are rates geared to government pensions but only for Basic accommodation which in some circumstances means 4 people to a room. Usually private accommodation costs more so even in that circumstance you would want to have some extra funds beyond government pension. Rates are usually standardized across a province but each province has a different rate and different rules about qualifying for subsidies - and the range is anywhere from $35.00 to $113.00/day + for private accommodation depending on where you live (note that ward and semi-private accommodation would cost less).

Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW



Lumino Health
Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living in Canada

Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living®
(FREE PDF Download)

Canada-wide – 22nd Edition

  • What is a Retirement Residence? and Who Needs One?
  • Retirement Residence & Long-Term Care Visiting Tips –Important Questions to Ask and Things to Look For when touring
  • Emotional Aspects of Relocation
  • How to Make the Transition Easier
  • What if a Retirement Community is not the Right Option?
  • What is Long-Term Care?
  • Community Resources
  • Housing Options
  • Resource information on goods and services for seniors
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