Retirement Homes in British Columbia

Overview of Retirement Homes in British Columbia

These 55+ communities offer a maintenance and chore-free lifestyle for retirees who do not have substantial medical or mobility issues. Retirement Homes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes – from large complexes hosting over a hundred individual units, to cottage-style living and shared accommodations. Excellent meal plans, recreational activities, and a wealth of therapy and support services are offered on-site.Retirement Homes in BC

An international destination, British Columbia offers its 4.4 million residents some of the most picturesque and pristine scenery in the entire country. 15.7% of the province's total population are senior citizens, who enjoy a mild year-round climate and a relaxing West coast lifestyle. The largest district in the province is Metro Vancouver – close to 317,000 of the area's 2.3 million residents are senior citizens, a number that's expected to double by 2030.

Costs of Retirement Homes in BC

Average costs can range from $1500 to $5000 per month, dependent on the services and type of accommodations which have been selected. This fee includes laundry, light housekeeping, and access to a variety of on-site amenities – which may include beauty salons, game rooms, and even restaurants. Residents seeking to lower their monthly expenses are free to opt out of voluntary services such as meal plans.

  Studio One Bedroom Two Bedroom Average
Lower Mainland 2,178 2,983 3,757 2,888
Fraser East 1,867 2,165 2,859 2,238
Abbotsford/Mission * 2,114 2,953 2,308
Chilliwack/Hope/Agassiz 1,640 2,272 2,750 2,149
Fraser North 1,759 2,718 3,707 2,569
Burnaby 1,597 2,518 * 2,220
Coq/PtCoq/PtMoody 1,669 3,019 3,764 2,908
Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows * 2,300 * 2,372
Fraser South 2,226 2,886 3,608 2,844
Langley 2,532 2,707 3,419 2,781
Surrey/Delta 1,911 2,805 3,441 2,568
White Rock/ S. Surrey 2,743 3,095 4,000 3,150
Vancouver Coastal 2,585 3,771 5,098 3,576
Vancouver 2,375 4,072 5,630 3,597
North/West vancouver * 4,365 5,335 4,591
Vancouver Island/ Central Coast 2,029 2,873 3,888 2,839
Metro Victoria & Gulf Islands 2,184 3,058 4,184 3,038
Saanich, Peninsula & Gulf Islands 2,611 3,246 4,395 3,329
Victoria / Esq. /Oak Bay / V. Royal 1,944 3,045 4,157 2,918
Central Vancouver Island 1,685 2,553 3,530 2,498
Duncan/Cowichan * 2,396 * 2,225
Nanaimo 1,722 2,548 3,720 2,557
Courtenay/ North Island/ Central Coast 2,279 * * 2,741
Okanagan/ Thompson/ Shuswap 1,683 2,242 3,144 2,217
Central Okanagan 1,754 2,326 3,492 2,375
North Okanagan 1,511 2,268 3,052 1,945
South Okanagan 1,695 1,961 2,815 2,038
Thompson/ Shuswap 1,841 2,364 2,907 2,281
Other BC 1,657 2,111 2,604 2,108
British Columbia 1,991 2,735 3,562 2,672

The following are excluded from the table above: non-market/subsidy units; respite units; and, units where an extra charge is paid for Heavy-care (1½ hours or more of care). Source: CMHC - 2012

Government Programs and Subsidies for Retirement Homes in BC

The provincial government has implemented the Seniors Action Plan – a six-tier approach to ensure the continuous improvement of standards, facilities, and services which are offered by Retirement Homes in British Columbia. This plan also provides advocacy for BC's growing population of senior citizens.

Currently there is no government funding for Retirement Homes in BC.

The Regional Health Authority determines individual eligibility for government subsidized Senior Housing, which can be accessed through a variety of senior-specific funds and organizations. There are generally waitlists for subsidized Senior Housing. Independent Living BC is managed by five regional health authorities, and offers accommodation and care giving services to qualified applicants. BC Housing is a provincial crown corporation that offers a range of affordable and subsidized housing for eligible low-income BC seniors. BC Seniors Supportive Housing (SSH) is administered by BC Housing, and provides subsidized rental units and light support services to low-income retirees. SAFER (Shelter Aid for Elderly Residents) is another BC Housing Program that helps qualified low-income seniors in BC by providing cash payments to subsidize rents. Individuals seeking financial aid for their prescriptions may be eligible for BC's PharmaCare Plan, which also offers a monthly deductible payment option for seniors who require ongoing medical assistance.

Seniors in BC have access to Health and Seniors' Information Line. Toll-free in B.C.: 1-800-465-4911, Victoria: (250) 952-1742. This free telephone service offered by Ministry of Heath provides BC residents information about programs and services available for British Columbia seniors.

Regulations for Retirement Homes in BC

In British Columbia the government regulates Assisted Living residences and Long Term Care facilities. Retirement Homes in BC are not regulated by the government. Many retirement residences in the province are members of BCSLA (British Columbia Seniors Living Association) – a voluntary organization of owners and operators of Independent and Assisted Living communities in BC that sets and monitors industry standards and provides education and advocacy for its members and residents. Recently BCSLA introduced the Seal of Approval – a set of self regulating senior living standards to help seniors and their caregivers to select the best retirement communities in BC. Retirement Homes that received BCSLA Seal of Approval have gone through vigorous internal and external assessment. Having the Seal means that community complies and maintains industry standards in the following areas: safety measures, staff training, infection control, resident services, and assisted living supports.

Seniors who are renting a unit in a Retirement Home in BC are protected via B.C. Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). The following organizations can give you information on your rights and responsibilities: Residential Tenancy Branch, Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.

Image by Nick.Baumgartner of Flickr

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