The Retirement Home Option

Two old womenGuest article by Gina Cook

Everyone knows that the senior population is growing fast.  By 2051 one in four people in the population is likely to be a senior over the age of 65.  Yes, this will put a strain on our healthcare system, but this has been known for years yet what has been done to prepare?  Very little!

Working in a retirement home in Scarborough, Ontario, I see this every day.  On a daily basis we get phone calls from social workers and families saying that they need immediate care for a senior.  We spend a great deal of time educating families who are told that their loved one is ready for discharge from hospital and they don’t know where to turn.  They end up at our home often with very little information and are distressed, confused and frankly without being given the information they need to make an informed decision.

EDITOR: Modern Health Talk offers comparison guides that help you find assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home care services by zip code and filter them by the type of care they offer.

In Canada, retirement homes are now regulated by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) and prior to this many were voluntarily members of ORCA that provided standards of care and regular inspections to ensure quality standards were met.  [In the U.S., they must comply with Federal Medicare and Medicaid standards, as well as those imposed by individual States.]

I agree, not all retirement homes are affordable but plenty are, and with tax credits available to seniors living in retirement homes, it is a viable choice for today’s seniors.  The cost of a bed in a LTC facility is approximately $2875 per month; retirement homes can offer private accommodation for not much more than this.  Long Term Care is dealing with much more chronic conditions now than ever before, providing care for our most fragile seniors.  Retirement homes can be a place of fun and vitality and a viable option.

Retirement homes will never be the same as living in your own home, but they can be the next best thing.  With full activity calendars, nursing staff on hand, and accessibility to doctors, they can provide the social aspect of life that many of today’s seniors are lacking by living at home alone.

Our home is proudly managed by Greenwood Retirement Communities, and we invite you to visit any one of our 6 homes in Ontario to see the other side of the coin.  Seniors have a great deal to offer us, and we learn from the residents every day and feel honored that their families have entrusted us to care for their loved ones.

About the Author

Gina Cook is Executive Director at McCowan Retirement Residence, 2881 Eglinton Ave East, Scarborough, ON, M1j 0a2