If you can’t live alone but don’t need constant care, this could be the right option for you.
Assisted living communities offer more substantial personal support and homemaking services than independent living arrangements—they bridge the gap between independent living and long-term care. The goal is to promote independence and autonomy in a safe, secure environment and to provide help with activities of daily living. There are no eligibility criteria, but a responsible facility will probably do an assessment to ensure it’s able to meet your needs.
All facilities are privately owned and operated and regulated by the government of Ontario under the Retirement Homes Act.
PROS: A quality assisted-living facility will help you live as independently as possible for as long as possible. In most cases, staff will create a personalized service plan and update it regularly to make sure you’re receiving appropriate care. Most accommodation is private, which allows you to preserve much of the feeling of independent living, but you have the advantage of on-site assistance with meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry and activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and taking medication. Service “packages” may be a good fit and can simplify your finances, but if you’re looking for more flexibility, services can sometimes be purchased à la carte. Social and recreational activities help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. You’ll likely have access to emergency assistance.
CONS: These homes can be expensive—costs range from $1500 to $5000 or more a month, depending on the type of accommodation and level of service you require. There aren’t any subsidies available. As your needs for medical and nursing care increase, assisted living housing may no longer be adequate and you’ll have to move.
NEED TO KNOWS: Your local Community Care Access Centre maintains a list of retirement homes in your area, so it can be a good place to start. Services will vary from one facility to another so it pays to visit a few, ask questions and pay attention to what you see going on around you. Ask about hidden fees, pets, guest accommodation, staffing and rent increases. Check to see if the facility is a member of the Ontario Residential Care Association, which requires adherence to strict standards. Make sure the programs and support are what you’re looking for…and need. Once you’ve found one that seems to fit the bill, stay for a meal, mingle with residents and observe what’s going on while sitting in the main lobby. Go back if you still have questions…or consider a trial stay.