Choosing to retire is a big step and take careful financial planning; however, every year, seniors in Canada take this step and enter a new chapter in their lives. Retirement living brings different things to different people. Retirement living also goes by many names, such as independent living, active adult living, and 55plus living. Typically, these are all communities that offer housing for seniors healthy enough to live without daily nursing care or personal care assistance. The housing is usually private apartments, rooms, or suites, and it varies depending on where a person is retiring.
Retirement living offers something for everyone, and amenities vary by the retirement community. Some of the common amenities include on-call staff, onsite nurses, meal preparation, transportation services, housekeeping, and even laundry service. Other retirement communities provide seniors access to spas, fitness centers, heated swimming pools, shops, salons, and guest accommodations. The different amenities and services also contribute to the cost. However, not every senior chooses to retire within a retirement community, and some choose to age in place.
The Cost of Retirement Living in Canada
Retirement living is not subsidized by any provincial government and most retirement residents are paid for by the seniors and their families. Resources to pay for retirement living in Canada often come from saved income, annuities and investments, proceeds from the sale of a home, life insurance policies, and reverse mortgages. Some seniors receive support from their children who want to ensure the well-being and comfort of their parents. When choosing to retire, there are some things to consider, and finances are always at the top of the list. Some private retirement residences can cost upwards of $6,000 per month, which is why many seniors choose to age in place when possible.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation annual review of the senior’s residences market, the cost of retirement living varies from province to province. In British Columbia, the average rent was $2,900 to $4,900 per month, whereas in Alberta, it was over $3,000 per month. There are important factors to consider when retirement. Initially, when you leave your home are leaving behind particular expenses, such as food costs and utilities. Also, when you choose to live in a retirement residence, your lifestyle expenses usually decline, such as travel costs, dining expenses, and entertainment.
Seniors in every province can also take advantage of tax credits, which could help them get back close to 25 or 30% of their health-related expenses. There are also many other sources of income within the country, such as the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, RRSP/RIFs, TFSAs (tax-free savings account), and non-registered investment income or pension plan. Overall, if a traditional retirement community is not within your budget, there are also other housing options to consider. Many seniors choose to age in place and receive home care services, most of which are subsidized by the provincial government.
Choosing Retirement Living in Canada
Retirement is a big decision, and there are many things to factor in place. Initially, it is important to consider the location and proximity because change is hard for older adults. Seniors should aim for a location close to family and friends as well as the services and activities they need. Most seniors choose a community that is familiar, which makes the adjustment period easier. It is also important to consider health and wellness requirements because different communities offer varying levels of personal care and health services. It is important to not only consider your current state of health and wellness but what your future needs will be.
Additionally, when examining the cost of retirement living, it is a good idea to compare your current living situation with what you are planning. Looking at the finances this way will help you decide on what amenities or services you would like access to. Regarding amenities, most retirement communities provide onsite services, such as support staff, healthcare services, meals, security, and transportation. There are also activities, such as fitness programs, social gatherings, classes, clubs, and outings. Other amenities would include outdoor gathering spaces and apartment-style living. Seniors should also consider their comforts, such as the building style, culture, and the overall feel of the place.
Any retirement residence you are considering, always take a tour of the location. During your tour, assess the cleanliness, orderliness, and general attitude or culture. Meet with the administration and inquire about the organization’s mission, vision, and the standards they uphold. Ensure all your questions are answered clearly withy a genuine consideration. Taking the time to decide on the best retirement living options pays off in the end.
The Best Places to Retire in Canada
It is important to retire in a good place and living the ultimate retirement dream involves staying in a place that allows you to have most things on your wish list. Initially, considering the location of your retirement living should include the proximity to family and friends, affordable housing and healthcare facilities, and activities and entertainment that you enjoy. Whether you are selecting a retirement community or choosing to age in place, both require robust financial planning. There are countless options across the country to consider. Within Canada, seniors should consider the climate—because it does vary. Some parts of Canada offer milder winters than others. There is also the cost of living and taxes, which differs within each province. Also, there are healthcare services and public transit, which also varies within each city. Cities such as Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto have exceptional public transit.
In Maclean’s magazine report, some of the best communities to retire in Canada by region are Halifax, in Atlantic Canada, Westmount, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Alberta; and Langford, British Columbia. Other amazing regions include Rideau Lakes and Wasaga Beach in Ontario or the South Okanagan in British Columbia. There is also Sylvan Lake and Lake Winnipeg in the prairie regions of the country. Many seniors choose the Annapolis Valley and Yarmouth in Atlantic Cana, or Kings County, Nova Scotia, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, and Miramichi, New Brunswick.