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The choices available in seniors’ housing include everything from living in your home, with home care, to progressively higher levels of support as we age. 

Independent living  with minimal services but the availability of emergency response and the ability to participate in social activities in a retirement home or residence work well for those who are well and still living with their spouse.  The ability to obtain services like housekeeping, meals and laundry services in your apartment can lessen the burden of these “chores”. 

Independent supportive living usually offers such services as part of an all-inclusive package, but may allow for some choice.  It should be considered by families of the elderly parent who has lost his or her spouse and will benefit from the social interaction, the nutritional and housekeeping supports that may not be available when living alone and that will keep them active to enjoy their lives, make them more fulfilling and potentially healthier than at home, alone. 

Retirement care or assisted living services are for those whose frailties dictate the need for help with the activities of daily living.  Initially these can be delivered in a resident’s suite in a retirement home.  But, when these needs increase, a separate floor or wing of a building, with its own living and dining room, becomes the preferred setting.  This is in part due to efficiency, delivering services in one area, in a smaller suite, to partially offset the higher cost of care with less "real estate" and to seperate these persons from those who are more well.   

Long term care, also referred to as continuing care, residential care, extended care and nursing care, is not covered by the Canada Health Act, and falls under Provincial jurisdiction.  Care is usually funded by governments, and access is through the various Ministries of Health.  The ability to age in place into a long term care home from a retirement community may be limited, to provide fair access to all.  Some provinces allow private pay long-term care.  Resident co-payments, ostensibly for room and board vary across the country.

Hospice care provides a setting in which end of life care such as pain management and comfort and emotional support is provided.

The pyramid reflects the housing choices available in seniors’ housing - everything from living in your home to progressively higher levels of support as we age.


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