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Retirement home vs. long-term care: What's the difference?

Planning for your future or a loved one’s can be stressful. There are many factors to consider, like budget, lifestyle and care needs. It’s a smart idea to have a plan in place early on, so when the time comes the transition is easier. 

In Ontario, you can choose from a variety of options. More than 58,000 people across Ontario are living in  licensed retirement homes. Here is some information that can help you make the best decision.

Management. A licensed retirement home is a privately-owned business that gives residents certain rights and privileges and is regulated by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority. They are different than long-term care homes, which require residents to meet admission criteria and are government run.

Assistance. People who live in retirement homes are generally more independent. residents may purchase any of the care services offered by the retirement home, or arrange for external care providers, including private-pay or publicly funded. Whereas, in long-term care facilities residents have their clinical care needs assessed and met through the home.

Funding. Retirement homes do not receive government funding and residents pay the full cost of their accommodation and any care services they purchase from the home directly. They can also arrange to have services provided through the Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN).

Eligibility. There are no specific criteria to be eligible to live in a retirement home and you may look into as many retirement homes as you wish. With a long-term care home, there may be assessment criteria to determine placement and a waitlist for entry.

Find more information at

Helen Simeon, Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is offered for general informational and educational purposes only. Opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily In no way are any of the materials presented meant to be a substitute for professional advice nor should it be construed as such.  Senioropolis Inc. has endeavoured to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained on this website. However, neither it nor the administrator of the site assumes liability whatsoever for any errors or omissions, nor guarantees the accuracy, of the information herein.

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Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living in Canada

Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Living®
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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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