Retirement Living

How Do You Know If You Can Afford A Retirement Home?

April 8, 2018

Updated August 24, 2023

It’s a question we hear all the time from Tea & Toast clients:

Can I afford to move into a retirement home?

When seniors in Ottawa are considering moving into a new home, they have several options available to them.

Of course, affordability plays a factor in their decision—as do a few other variables.

Here are four things we often tell seniors and their family members:

  • It is possible to find a 250-square-foot studio apartment/room (with a bathroom and closet) that includes all meals and housekeeping within an assisted living facility in the city, for approximately $2,200 per month.
  • If you are relatively independent and have very few health care needs (outside of general care like meal preparation, housekeeping etc.), you have several senior apartments to choose from across Ottawa, across a wide range of prices. Some including a full kitchen.
  • For independent living seniors with a lower budget, shared suites can be another option. This requires sharing a room within a retirement home, which can be less expensive.
  • If you have a minimal budget and extensive health care needs, there are a few lesser-priced homes in Ottawa; however, that number of senior apartments are limited. Many seniors would look to living in a shared suite or in a Long-Term Care Home.

In other words: as long as your monthly budget is at least $2,200, you’ll be able to afford a room in a retirement community in Ottawa.

“What if I can’t afford a retirement home?”

It’s heartbreaking when we meet a senior who is unable to afford to move to a retirement home—especially when they have needs that would be best looked after in that type of care environment.

When someone has extensive health care needs, we often recommend these four things:

  • Getting on the list for as much home care as possible through the Home and Community Care Support Services. Also known as the LHIN or HCCSS, provides a wide range of home and community health care services and resources. It’s important to get on that list as soon as you qualify because that waiting list can be quite long.
  • Putting their name on a waiting list for a nursing home (which is publicly funded and government-run). Learn more about nursing homes here.
  • If they are stuck in the hospital without a budget, they may be able to take up an open bed at a nursing home. An additional note of concern here is Bill 7, which gives the hospital the option to move seniors out of hospital, up to 70km away from their home.
  • If it’s an emergency situation requiring a bed and urgent care, AND they are in the community, they can ask the LHIN to be put on a “crisis placement list.”
Senior couplelooking at their finances
What if I can't afford a retirement home?

Other options for independent living

Many seniors are unable to afford to live in a retirement home, but they are relatively independent.

In other words, these people need very little, if any, services to support their well-being.

We may suggest the following alternatives to these people:

  • Downsizing to an apartment/condo; or
  • Staying within their current housing situation and applying for home care through the LHIN, or paying for home care through a private service.
  • Or looking for an independent apartment associated with a retirement home.
  • Sometimes, we also suggest they move in with or move closer to family so there is someone nearby in the case of an emergency.

Still not sure of your options?

Tea & Toast is a service designed to give you industry knowledge without having to become an expert yourself.

Our kind and caring senior living advisors are happy to answer your questions about affordability—and point you in the right direction if retirement housing is not an option for you.

Working with you, we can remove a bit of the overwhelm, stress, tension and confusion that so many senior citizens and their family members feel when they start considering moving to retirement living.

For more information, please contact Tea & Toast anytime or learn more about working with a retirement living advisor.

Read next

Recommended read