Retirement home costs

Medicare does not cover long-term retirement home costs in Canada. The same is true of free healthcare services in your province or territory. Instead, you can pay out of pocket, with long-term care insurance, or using CPP or OAS benefits.

Unfortunately, not all retirees have access to long-term care insurance savings. And CPP and OAS benefits may not cover the full cost. When that happens, you must fund your stay in a retirement community out of your savings.

How much should you expect to spend on retirement living per year? We are breaking down the answer to this question below. Plus, we will tell you the questions to ask potential communities to ensure you get the best deal.

Factors in Retirement Home Costs

Experts estimate that senior care can cost older adults over half a million dollars for the rest of their lifetime. On average, retirement community residents can expect to pay around $3,075 per month.

The exact amount you will pay for a retirement home depends on multiple factors. These factors include the community’s location, the level of care you need, on-site amenities, and the size of your living space.

Next, we will explain how each factor impacts the monthly cost of living in a retirement home.


Where you live or the city where you want to retire greatly impacts the cost of a senior living community. Of the provinces and territories, Quebec tends to have the lowest costs, while Ontario has the highest.

You can further break down costs by major cities. The average price of retirement home rent in all major Canadian cities is around $3,583. This is only an average, meaning some costs are lower while others are higher.

Kelowna, BC has the most affordable monthly retirement rates in Canada. Residents can stay in a retirement home for as little as $2,703 per month or about $32,500 per year. That is much lower than the national average.

Compare that to Toronto and Vancouver. They have the highest average monthly costs of major Canadian cities, coming in at $4,481 and $4,620, respectively.

Level of Care

There are several different types of retirement homes. You can categorize them based on the level of care or how much help residents need with daily activities. Three common retirement options are:

  1. Independent living communities
  2. Assisted living communities
  3. Long-term care homes (i.e., a nursing home)

We listed these communities in order from the least to the greatest level of care. Seniors residing in independent living communities may not need assistance with daily activities. As such, these facilities cost less.

Assisted living and long-term care community residents require medical or personal assistance for at least some of their daily activities. Long-term care residents require the most help, making these facilities the priciest.

The good news is that some long-term care costs are covered under Medicare. Tenants only have to pay for room and board. The government will contribute to the cost of medical care.

Amenities Offered

Another factor to consider is the number and quality of amenities offered. Some facilities offer more standard amenities. Meanwhile, luxury communities provide everything residents could want and more.

Standard amenities include things like common areas for social gatherings and events, group excursions, and laundry services. Fitness areas and housekeeping services are also common.

The higher the level of care, the more services residents can access. For example, it is normal for assisted living and long-term care facilities to offer medication management services for their residents.

In a luxury retirement community, residents have access to high-end amenities. They may include but are not limited to room service, putting greens, game rooms, and even wellness centres.

Unit Size

Do you want to live alone or with your partner? Are you comfortable sharing a room with another resident who you may or may not know? The answer to these questions determines what size of unit you need.

Just as in non-retirement communities, rent depends on unit size. Getting a one- or two-bedroom unit in an independent living community will cost you far more than sharing a room at a long-term care facility.

Of course, don’t consider the size of your private space alone. When calculating how much room you will need, make sure to consider the additional square footage you will have access to in common areas.

You will also have to consider vacancy rates. Some communities have more vacancies, meaning you can have your pick of units. Other retirement homes have a limited number of units to choose from.

Questions to Ask a Senior Living Community

Before your move-in date, it is always a good idea to tour the facility. The tour is also the best time to ask all your burning questions.

Not sure what to ask? Here are three important questions that can help you determine whether the community suits your budget.

What’s Included in the Cost?

Some retirement homes may quote you a cost for room and board alone. So, it is crucial to inquire about additional fees for the services, amenities, and medical care you may need.

Is There a One-Time Entrance Fee?

In addition to fees for services, some retirement homes charge a one-time entrance fee. Depending on the community, this fee can range from $100,000 to over $1 million.

What Is the Cheapest Way for a Senior to Live?

The cheapest way for a senior to live is to find a retirement home they can afford. Add up your retirement benefits and savings. Then, compare that amount to retirement home costs in your area to find the perfect fit.

Retirement Concepts Has a Community for You

Retirement home costs vary based on location, level of care, amenities, and unit size. Use this guide to find the best option that suits your budget.

Are you searching for an ‘affordable retirement home near me’? Retirement Concepts has locations in BC, Alberta, Quebec, and more. Contact a Retirement Concepts community near you to schedule your tour today.