Retirement properties are not the same, and it goes far beyond the look and feel of a home!  

DID you know that there are almost 100 ‘retirement homes’ in Ottawa, all offering different price points, levels of care, inclusions, options and aesthetics. Did you also know that a good handful of these are not retirement homes at all, although they may look and feel like others you’ve seen that are. It can be super confusing and many clients and families we speak to don’t know the difference and are usually never told on site that there could be limitations to service and care.

To be a fully licensed retirement home, a property has to apply to and receive a licence from the regulator, which in Ontario is the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority. This body was set up after the passing into law of The Retirement Homes Act, 2010, to make sure that licensed homes under its remit, are following the rules and remaining compliant with regulations. A licensed home will follow certain rules about occupancy (primarily by those aged 65 and older and occupied by at least six people who are not related to the owner of the home), as well as the provision of at least two out of 13 care services, some of which include meal provision, management and administration of medications, continence support, help with transfers and ambulation; assistance with feeding, a dementia care program and dressing support.

You can be fully independent and be in a licensed retirement home and receive only your meals as part of your ‘care support’, but know that should you need any additional assistance, you can receive it in house.

Unfortunately there is not one blanket provision of care for each licensed building, as some are very independently driven, whereas others can provide very heavy support including a mechanical lift and one-on-one feeding. It’s important when looking for a residence to understand their care remits and what level of support they can provide in the future, should you need.

By contrast, a Senior’s Living Building is not a licensed retirement home, although you could be forgiven for thinking so by some of the marketing. They often refer to ‘live your best retirement life’ or something similar. These properties are usually purpose built homes or apartment buildings, offering apartment style suites and some services. That can include meals, housekeeping, laundry services and programming, but not any other care support tied to the building. Outside care agencies can most certainly come in, and some may even have an office on site, but there is no 24/7 nursing, no director of care, no emergency support if needed. The admission process here is also different, as there is no requirement to have a physician’s assessment completed or a chest xray to screen for TB, like in  retirement homes. Indeed, a Senior’s Building is to all intents and purposes, an apartment complex.

At Solva we thoroughly discuss with our clients what they’re looking for in a move, and consider all the options. We have had many people take advantage of the lifestyle a Senior’s Living Building provides, where they still cook in a full kitchen and do their own laundry, but they have the option of a meal, or to join in activities and events with their neighbours. Equally, others are looking for the overarching support that a retirement home offers, knowing that if they need assistance at 3am, a nurse is on duty to triage and help.

Whatever your circumstances or plans for your retirement living future, know that we at Solva are always here to chat with you at no charge or obligation.

Connect with us via  or at 613-421-6073