Home » What Is the Difference Between Retirement Homes and Long-Term Care Homes?

What Is the Difference Between Retirement Homes and Long-Term Care Homes?

by Uneeb Khan

As you age, living becomes challenging. Whether you are retiring or unable to manage your activities of daily living, long-term care comes in handy. Retirement homes and long-term care homes both provide accommodation and care to those in need.

What Are Retirement Homes?

Seniors who want to live independently and are able to care for themselves can choose to live in caregiver homes. Retirement homes are privately paid accommodations for senior living. Retirement homes are most suitable for those who want home-like comfort and safety as well as a little bit of assistance with activities of daily living.

Seniors need medical support as they age. Retirement homes don’t have a 24/7 nursing care facility. Retirement homes in Ontario are bound to facilitate people with at least two of the care services mentioned in the Retirement Homes Act. Most common care services include offering meals, monitoring medicines, assistance with daily activities like bathing, dressing up, and emergency medical care.

Retirement Home Plans:

Retirement homes categorize the care services in the below 4 care plans:

Independent Living:

Retirement homes provide personalized residences to seniors who can live on their own. Such an independent setting feels like home while ensuring your safety and comfort. Seniors can incorporate additional care services as required. For instance, housekeeping, meal prep, companionship, etc.

Assisted Living:

The assisted living care plan includes all the basic care services that a senior needs. Bathing, feeding, grooming, medicine monitoring, etc. This is also a home-like setting and additional services can be taken if needed.

Specialized Care:

Seniors with moderate Dementia or any chronic disease, require specialized care. In addition to the basic care services, retirement homes also provide community programs, and leisure and fitness activities.  

Short Stays:

This is a short-term plan which allows seniors to live and experience life in retirement homes. It allows them to know about retirement homes and to understand respite care. Short-term stay in a retirement home also facilitates patients who have been discharged from the hospital but require further care before going back to their home.

Retirement Homes-Services Included:

Retirement homes provide the following services:

  • Proper meals and Dining
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Community Programs
  • Parking Space
  • Gym
  • Hair Salon
  • Library
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Specialized Care

How Much do Retirement Homes Cost?

Unlike long-term care facilities, retirement homes do not receive government support in Ontario. This implies that compared to the price of residing in a long-term care facility, the expense of living in a retirement home may be significantly higher.

Depending on the level of care services offered and the kind of housing, a retirement home’s cost of living might change. A private room usually costs between $1,500 and $6,000 per month in Ontario.

What Are Long-Term Care Homes?

Long-term care homes or nursing homes are shared community residencies. Care homes have 24/7 nursing facilities. Long-term care homes provide live-in caregivers to take care of your personal and medical needs. Seniors who are unable to take care of their necessities can get benefit from a long-term care facility.

Eligibility Criteria to Stay in Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario:

The Ontario government has set an eligibility criterion for staying in a long-term care facility. It states that:

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You must have a valid Health Insurance (OHIP) card
  • Your care needs must include round-the-clock nursing, personal care, regular assistance with everyday tasks, and safety issues
  • If your care requirements cannot be fulfilled in publicly financed community services

The Local Health Integration Networks in Ontario coordinate all long-term care home admissions and applications (LHINs).

Long-Term Care Homes-Services Included:

The main focus of a long-term care facility is ‘Care’.

  • Monitoring of Medicines
  • Meals & Special Diets
  • Constant Nursing Care
  • Emergency Call System with 24-hour Live-In Care Staff
  • Safety Against Injuries and Falls
  • Physiotherapy
  • Assistance With Basic Daily Life Tasks (bathing, grooming, dressing)
  • Community programs
  • Recreational Activities

How Much do Long-Term Care Homes Cost?

While residing in a long-term care facility, all nursing, and personal care expenses are paid by the government of Ontario. The room accommodation is what you will pay for. Additionally, if you meet the criteria, you can apply for a $1,848.73 monthly government grant.

The cost of space at a long-term care facility varies according to the length of the stay and the kind of room (basic, private, or shared).


Retirement homes are private accommodations with all the amenities that make you feel at home. If you don’t have a living space or a loved one or you just want to live an independent life, a retirement home can provide you with a plan according to the care services you need. While living in a retirement home, you have to bear all of the expenses.

Whereas a long-term care home is funded by the government and if you are eligible, you can get a government grant to stay in a long-term care facility. Long-term care homes have 24 hours emergency support as well as specialized Live-In caregivers to monitor your personal and medical needs.

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