What Does Retirement Living Cost?

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, the 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. 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 waitlists 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 often no government subsidies (some provinces do have some homes that are subsidized but, by and large, most are private pay). 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 care which will add to the monthly cost. In Toronto, for example, the cost to live in a retirement home ranges in price from approximately $3,500 to as much as $17,000/month depending on where a home is located, who the owner is & what is included.

Nursing homes are funded partially by the province but different provinces work on different models of subsidy and set different base and ceiling pricing. Generally starting rates are geared to government pensions but only for basic accommodation which in some circumstances means 4 people to a room; subsidies are only usually available for basic rooms and usually geared to low-income individuals.  Usually, private accommodation costs significantly more than ward/basic accommodation and, unless you have additional income/savings or insurance that can cover the monthly cost, it is unaffordable. Rates are usually standardized across a province but each province has a different rate for different room types; the range is anywhere from $68.00 to $180.00/day + for private accommodation (ward and semi-private accommodation would cost significantly less)  depending on where you live.

If you are looking for assistance locating a home or resources for your loved one, you can reach out to our consulting team at consulting@seniorcareaccess.com or visit our consulting page for more information. Our Discover 3 program offers decision-makers and seniors, an opportunity to have a professional consultant identify 3 housing solutions based on their needs. If you need more information on care options for seniors, retirement community, or long-term care visiting tips and/or if you are interested in organizing your loved one’s information using our Care Planning Workbook, visit our publications page for a list of options and downloads.
For additional questions, feel free to contact us at connect@seniorcareaccess.com.
SeniorCareAccess.com is Canada’s largest unbiased seniors’ housing database, offering consulting services, and both seniors’ service and housing directories for professionals, seniors, and their families.


59 other articles by Esther Goldstein, B.Sc., B.S.W., RSW