Retirement Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, Retirement Communities, Senior Living, Independent Living… so many names and so much information to know. 

With the lack of standardization in retirement homes, what services are provided and accommodations offered, it’s no wonder there are many myths and misconceptions circulating. If you walked into a retirement home 60 years ago you may have found some of these myths to be true. These days if you’re looking at retirement living and have the misconceptions from the past, it could be hard to move forward. Equally, you may know others who’ve moved into a retirement home and ‘think’ you know all about it, but might be surprised at the below. Here we dispel some common misconceptions and separate the facts from fiction:

One. They are all expensive/ I can’t afford one. Yes, there are expensive retirement homes, but equally there are budget friendly retirement homes. When looking at a retirement home it’s important to understand what is included in the price you see. Often included in the ‘base’ you pay is: rent, three meals a day plus all snacks and beverages; heating, hydro, water, weekly housekeeping, laundry, activities and access to care staff. Some homes will even include cable, phone and wifi in their base amount, others still may include medication management. Usually however, any ‘care’ needs are an additional fee. It’s also good to have an idea of what your finances are. Remember how you saved for retirement? Now is the time to spend that money you saved. If you don’t have any money to put towards retirement living, there are subsidized places or semi-private rooms which could be an option.

Two. I’ll lose my autonomy/independence.  In most cases living in a retirement home can give you more independence and autonomy. Usually, your meals, housekeeping, laundry and other typical mundane chores are taken care of for you. Leaving you with more time to do the things you enjoy. You’re also free to come and go as you please; some suites also have kitchenettes in them so you can still make yourself a cuppa when you want or grab a snack from your bar fridge.

Three. They can’t provide the care support I’ll need. Like an apple, retirement homes come in all shapes and sizes. Some retirement homes provide very little care (like medication administration) and others provide every type of care needed, up to and including mechanical lifts and one-one-one feeding. Some homes have secure memory care floors as well as assisted living. It all depends on the retirement home, so when searching for a place to live it’s important to understand what type of care they provide to make sure it fits your current and potential future needs. 

Four. They are the same as long term care. If you last walked into a retirement home 60 years ago you may believe this to be true. However, a lot has changed and there are several differences between Long Term Care and Retirement Homes in Ontario. Primarily, the difference of hospitality driven retirement homes and medically aesthetic Long Term Care homes. Also, Long Term Care is part-funded by the government and retirement homes are private pay by the resident. The admission process is also very different. You must qualify for a Long Term Care bed and apply through your local LHIN and the wait times can be long. However, with retirement living there is usually always immediate availability, your room or suite is 99% private and you can bring your own furniture along to really make it a familiar and comfortable/homely environment.

Five. They are only for ‘old people’. As mentioned above retirement homes come in all shapes and sizes. This also means that the residents also come in all shapes, sizes and care needs. We don’t all age the same, and people will fail to cope at home for a variety of reasons. Someone may move into a retirement home because they don’t want to cook anymore and another person may move in because they need 24 hour care. Retirement homes all offer independent living and it can be a great way to ditch the ‘to do’ list at home, but still have the freedom to live out your retirement years in a community that also provides you with 24 hr nursing oversight in case of emergencies. Retirement homes are generally for those aged 65 plus but will always consider a younger person based on their unique needs. 

Ultimately, it’s important to do your research and ask questions to find the residence that fits your needs. When in doubt, try  to learn from others and seek out services like Solva Senior Living to help ensure the process is smooth, thoroughly researched and with a team of knowledgeable experts on your side. 

Next Steps?
Call us at 613-421-6073 or email

We provide the following free services:

1 – Rapid Resources & Referrals.
2 – In Person Visits (Zoom calls or phone chats right now unfortunately as we all socially distance).
3 – Arrange and Escort on Tours (again, we can provide virtual tours and presentations or get pictures of specific accommodations and living areas sent to you).
4 – Advocacy during the selection and move in process.
5 – Resources for additional services.