Assisted Living Communities for Seniors in Canada

Assisted living facilities and long-term care centers in Canada are residential options for seniors who want or need help with some of the activities of daily living. For example, these are things like cooking meals, housekeeping, and travelling to appointments. Assisted living facilities and other forms of long-term care homes in the country offer safety and security of 24-hour support and access to care. These facilities help seniors maintain privacy and independence and help residents develop a personalized plan that meets the needs of the resident. Other names for assisted living include congregate care, independent supportive living, and supportive housing. Every province operates with specific regulations and requirements for assisted living. When searching for assisted living, it is important to ensure the facility is well maintained, well-staffed, and provides the level of care your loved one needs.

Some of the features at an assisted living facility include access to visiting or on-staff health care professionals. For example, this would include occupational therapists, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians. Most facilities provide health and exercise programs, housekeeping and laundry, meal service, medication management, social and recreational activities, and transportation to appointments and events. Typically, the needs of the person living at the assisted living facility determine what level of care is required. The cost of assisted living varies, and some facilities are private, whereas the provincial government subsidizes others. The cost of assisted living can range from $1,500 to $,5000 dependent on location, community, amenity options, and if what level of medical services are needed. Most assisted living facilities charge a flat rate that covers many basic services. Other communities charge a fee for each service, and it is important to ask about these services when touring each facility.

The Process of Choosing Assisted Living or Supportive Housing in Canada

When families begin to decide on assisted living, there are some things to consider—initially, the physical and medical needs of the individual. As a person ages, they would eventually need help with some of the activities of daily life. Also, the location and accessibility are important to consider because many seniors living at an assisted living facility are still relatively independent. Seniors should also be considering their social and emotional needs because, as you age, your social network changes and friends and family may not be as close by. Families and the resident need to tour the facility, meet the staff, and even speak with residents. There are a variety of care options available across the country within assisted living facilities and long-term care homes. Many facilities are privately operated, whereas the provincial government subsidizes others.

Families and future residents need to have a budget in mind, especially when searching for privately operated assisted living. The cost varies and does depend on the level of care and amenities offered. Government-subsidized supportive living usually provides standardized care, and most extra services are at an additional cost. Assisted living facilities do many things to help residents maintain independence but provide necessary assistance with the activities of daily life. Every assisted living facility or long-term care home offer amenities like meals and housekeeping. However, they provide a higher level of individual care to their residents. Assisted living is usually the next step when seniors are no longer living independently and require extra assistance.

Government Subsidized Options for Assisted Living in Canada

Each province within the country offers supportive housing options, which is essentially a form of assisted living but subsidized. Residents pay a fixed portion of their annual income to cover rent and have access to assistance from on-site staff on an as-needed basis. There are similarities between support housing and assisted living, and supportive housing residents need light assistance each week. Long-term care homes are common options within each province. In addition to medical care, long-term care homes provide residents with a range of services. For example, this would include comfortable private or semi-private rooms, meals, housekeeping, and laundry service, exercise and physical therapy programs, social programs and activities, 24-hour staffing and personal assistance, and other forms of care. There are also residential care homes, which are more traditional and private compared to the large senior complexes. Most residential care homes accommodate no more than 15 older adults at a time. Typically, these are more intimate family-like environments with all the convenience of assisted living, but the provincial government will not entirely subsidize this.

Canadian Seniors and the Aging Population

The population in Canada is aging and expected to present significant challenges over the next decades. Understanding the needs of seniors is important for every community across the country. Within the country, the number of seniors is continuing to rise, and by 2041, seniors are projected to comprise nearly one quarter of 24.5% of the Canadian population. Those aged 85 and over are expected to nearly triple to 5.8% of the total population by the year 2041.

Additionally, the senior population is distributed unevenly across the provinces. The highest concentration of seniors resides in the Atlantic provinces. The senior population in Nova Scotia is approximately 16.6% of the population, followed by New Brunswick, with 16.5% of the population, and Prince Edward Island, with 16.3% of the population. The province of Alberta has a lower population of seniors, but it is continuing to grow. Overall, across the country, there will be an increased need for assisted living and supportive housing and access to long-term care homes.

Most seniors are living with a spouse or their children and grandchildren, but this is not always the case. Also, seniors are living longer, and improved medical technology and public health measures have provided Canadians with a longer life expectancy and quality of life than in the past. However, chronic health conditions and over-prescribing of prescription drugs are widespread among seniors. Approximately four out of five seniors residing in a care home have a chronic health condition. Overall, seniors in Canada perceive themselves to be in good health and active.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Joseph Kertis

Joseph Kertis

Author

on January 25, 2021

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