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January '11

Dispelling the Myths of Retirement Living

Ken Van de Haar


There are 4 common myths of living in a retirement residence:

  1. I do not want to lose my independence”

  2. It’s depressing”

  3. I am too young for a retirement residence”

  4. I can’t afford to live in a retirement residence”



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It is important for people to have information in advance to help dispel these myths and ensure an informed decision can be made..

One must assess their needs to ensure the right decision is being made.  These needs include social interests, recreational and physical activity, transportation, nutrition, safety, medical (medication, mobility, eyesight, cognition) and home maintenance responsibilities.

There are 2 categories of facilities – Long Term Care Homes and Retirement Residences.

Long Term Care Facilities:

  • also known as Nursing Homes and Homes for the Aged

  • they are government funded and regulated

  • the government pays for the residents care and recreation and the resident pays a co-payment to cover accommodation

  • all applications are coordinated through a local Community Care Access Center (CCAC)

  • government subsidies are available for those who can’t afford the cost

Retirement Residences:

  • are not government funded but fall under the Residential Tenancies Act

  • costs vary depending on location, amenities, type and size of accommodation, basic services provided and care needs

  • anyone can apply directly to a Retirement Home

  • Retirement Homes also often accept people for respite and vacation stays

  • The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) is a non-profit association that sets professional operating standards, and inspects and accredits retirement residences in Ontario.  ORCA membership is your best assurance of quality and peace of mind.

Points to remember when considering these options are:

  • Determine your budget

  • Determine your needs

  • Determine which service and housing option is right for you

  • Make your list of “must haves”

  • Do a comprehensive job of viewing the various locations

  • Explore your options before a change becomes necessary

When you make the change be sure you embrace the opportunities at your new residence and will say  “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

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