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Retirement Home vs. Long Term Care - What's the Difference?

The Difference Between a Retirement Home and a Long Term Care Home

There are a lot of differences between a retirement home and a long term care home. Even though they are both places where seniors can live, the cost, services, and moving in process are very different. Here is a clear understanding of what these residences are and how they are different.

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What is a Retirement Home?

A retirement home, also called a retirement residence or senior home, is where a community of seniors live. Focused around flexibility and independence, these types of retirement residences offer a lot of choice. Residents can choose to enjoy a fully independent lifestyle or have some care and personalized services.

You might be asking, “how old do you have to be to live in a retirement home?” and you will be pleased to know that there are residents in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to centenarians. In a retirement home, you have your own suite, create your own schedule, and can come and go as you please. You choose your own meals and how you like to spend your time – whether it’s on your own or with the people who live in the community, taking part in social activities, exercise classes, or outings. It’s all up to you.

What is a Long Term Care Home or Nursing Home?

A long term care home, also sometimes called a nursing home, is centred around 24/7 supervised care. Those who qualify for long term care are seniors who need a high level of care, require continuous supervision, or can no longer take care of themselves independently (e.g. eating, bathing, dressing).

Long term care homes will have 24-hour monitoring, and round-the-clock nursing and staff within the residence. Meals are served within a central area and prepared with dietary restrictions and requirements in mind. In selecting a long term care home there are some requirements such as a referral from a physician or agency.

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Retirement Home Costs

The individual or family member is responsible for the total monthly cost of living in a retirement home.

Long Term Care or Nursing Home Costs

The individual or family member is responsible for a partial amount of the total cost. The other portion is covered through the government.

Retirement Home Services

Retirement home services can include:

  • Full-service dining

  • Housekeeping

  • Laundry

  • Recreation programs

  • Modern amenities (fitness centre, hair salon, library etc.)

  • Parking and/or transportation for outings/outings transportation

  • Care services (falls prevention, wellness programs, and access to nursing services)

Long Term Care Home Services

Long term care services are heavily centred around care. These types of services can include:

  • Medication administration

  • Meals service and special diets

  • 24 Hour Nursing Care

  • 24 Hour Staff

  • Injury Reduction

  • Falls Management

  • Emergency Call System

  • Physiotherapy

  • Assistance with essential activities of daily living 

  • Social, recreational and spiritual programs

Choosing a Retirement Home

If you’re considering moving into a retirement residence or have a loved one who may be, we offer a number of residences across Canada. You can arrange a visit to tour any residence, at any time. Our doors are always open.

Long Term Care Home Services

In order to move into a nursing home or long term care home, there are some requirements such as a referral from a physician or agency. Once a referral is completed, the agency will provide some choices based on the level of care needed, and will notify you when a spot becomes available. No one with a referral to a long term care home can be turned away, although you should be aware that sometimes the wait list can be extensive.

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