British Columbia Retirement Communities
The world wants to retire in BC
No matter where you are looking for a retirement home in British Columbia — from Vancouver Island to interior destinations like Kamloops and Kelowna to Prince George and other places further north — you know you are living in a world-class destination. The reasons the world comes to BC to retire are many, but certainly include the spectacular scenery everywhere and the many attractions of Vancouver and Victoria.
- Retirement homes in British Columbia
- Costs of BC retirement care
- Care options in British Columbia
- Finding the ideal BC retirement community
- Retirement residence regulation in BC
British Columbia retirement homes
Spectacular retirement destinations in BC
Vancouver is home to a variety of excellent retirement residences. The fresh ocean air and lively city life make it a living and retirement destination for people from around the world. Certainly it is home to some of the highest priced real estate in North America, but with its many attractive city features, including the Harbour, local wildlife, museums, mountain scenes, Stanley Park, night life and so much more, it is worth every penny.
Victoria and Vancouver Island retirement homes offer more affordability than what you will find in Vancouver. Among other things, this is a great destination for Vancouverites who have downsized and want to get away from the bustle of Vancouver living. The lifestyle in Nanaimo, Saanich, Duncan, Mill Bay and other island cities is a bit slower but still full of all the bounteous beauty and recreation British Columbians can expect.
Interior cities like Kelowna and Kamloops are also less expensive than Vancouver. Both cities are considered “well-kept secrets,” ideal places to settle in retirement.
Check out our perennially updated list of best places to retire in BC.
Retirement care costs in British Columbia
Care costs vary widely depending on two variables: the level of care you require and the location. We break down costs you can expect in our overview of retirement costs in BC. However, consult each of the homes listed to learn what it will cost you for your specific needs.
Care options in BC
There are a variety of retirement care options available to seniors in British Columbia. In many cases, these care options will be available under the same roof in a retirement village or residence. BC’s independent living retirement facilities offer a home to seniors who are still active but who want some of their daily living activities taken care of by others. This situation can be ideal for couples where one partner is still quite healthy but another may require some level of care, including assisted living or even memory care. In independent living, meals and housekeeping may be provided.
Assisted living retirement communities in BC offer a more comprehensive care that may include help with mobility and incontinence care. BC’s memory care homes offer dedicated support for the elderly with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Long-term care homes in BC are regulated by the government and offer continuing care and even palliative care.
The search for the ideal BC retirement community
Before you begin your search for retirement home in BC, understand that there is no government regulation of homes. Membership in the BCSLA (see below) entails that the home is well-taken care of; make sure that the home has the BCSLA Seal of Approval. Beyond that, there are many other things to keep in mind.
Here are some highlights to supplement our (highly recommended) Retirement Home Checklist:
- Prioritize your needs and wants. Make the retirement home choice process much like any home purchase
- Use our advanced search to find a retirement community with the exact features you want
- Tour the retirement residence’s kitchen and cafeteria and check the menu for quality, variety and any other concerns
- Visit several residences then take a second or even third look before you make your decision
- When you do a secnd visit, visit at a different time of the day to see how the environment changes
- Get a schedule of recreational activities and find out which facilities meet your needs. Compare this across several different homes
- Poke into the corners and get off the beaten path. Check stairwells for cleanliness. Check all the corners of the grounds to see what is there and how well maintained everything is
- Ask the care, nursing and services staff lots of question: as many as you can
- Speak to residents and ask them how they like the place and what it is they like about the place. Be sure to ask them how well they like the staff that work at this particular retirement community
- Be sure to request references from professional organizations, patrons, children of patrons and others that are currently associted with the retirement home or community
When to look?
Whether you're looking in Victoria or Abbotsford, keep these tips in mind when conducting your search for a retirement community in British Columbia. Start your search before you need a seniors' community or care service. This way there is lots of time to discuss your options without any unnecessary panic or urgency. However, most people wait until the health of senior parent begins to deteriorate and it becomes apparent that they can no longer live in their own home, on their own. There are a variety of care options that meet various needs.
Retirement home regulation in BC
In British Columbia, there are no government regulations for independent living retirement residences, so it is important to inspect potential retirement communities closely before making a decision. Many retirement communities volunteer membership in the BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA). The BCSLA has implemented a self-regulated assessment standard (since 2009) for members, called the Seal of Approval. This program identifies retirement communities that adhere to the highest industry standards. Look for this Seal of Approval designation in BC retirement homes, which indicates that a community meets multiple criteria in five areas: safety measures, infection control, staff training, resident services and assisted living supports.,
The government of British Columbia does regulate Long Term Care communities and Assisted Living communities under its Community Care and Assisted Living Act. As noted by the British Columbia Law Institute, the Act focuses on health and safety concerns and is less concerned with the quality of meals or other services provided by residences; it certainly does not concern itself with issues such as false advertising on the part of care homes. Such concerns may be accountable under BC's Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and also by the BCSLA.
In 2012, the BC Ombudsperson published a 400 page report, following three years' investigation into seniors' care in the province. This Report focuses on the province's need for improvements in access to assistance and support for seniors and family members navigating the care system. Annual updates on progress in meeting recommendations are provided by the Ombudsperson's Office here.
BC also has a Bill of Rights for Residents, which provides a summary of care standards identified over the years in the province, in the former Adult Care Regulations and newer Residential Care Regulations. You can download and review the BC Residents' Bill of Rights here.