Burnaby retirement homes
The complete guide to finding a retirement community in the Burnaby region
The third largest city in British Columbia, Burnaby is comparatively young but boasts a number of industrial and commercial businesses including Canada’s second largest mall, Metropolis at Metrotown. According to a 2009 Maclean’s survey, Burnaby is also considered Canada’s best run city based on factors such as efficiency and effectiveness of services. Unlike Vancouver, the city experiences significant snowfall in winter, however its diverse range of hills, ridges and valleys makes it a breathtaking landscape year round for those looking to retire here.
List of Retirement Homes in Burnaby
- Retirement home communities in Burnaby
- Retirement community benefits, services and amenities
- Burnaby retirement community regulations
- Availability and cost of retirement homes
- Other medical and safety services
- Getting around Burnaby
- How to choose a retirement home
Retirement homes in Burnaby
Older adults interested in Burnaby have an assortment of retirement communities choose from to meet their most important health and lifestyle needs. The primary type of retirement home here is independent living (link) but there are other communities in the surrounding areas that offer assisted living (link) as well.
At many of these homes, residents are able to start their care in an independent living home and gradually move to assisted living or additional care packages depending on how their health and lifestyle needs change over the years. The advantage of this is the ability to have medical and support services available, often with the option to transfer to another suite on the same property, without having to worry about switching to another facility or disrupting their care. This also allows residents to continue to socialize and grow within their community in an environment where they feel safe and cared for around the clock.
Retirement community benefits, services and amenities
In order to support every aspect of seniors’ unique lifestyles and interests, retirement communities in Burnaby offer a selection of amenities, programs and services. There include medical administration and supervision, specialized dietary considerations, scheduled transportation to and from appointments and other requests, in-house entertainment, and exercise and wellness programs.
Communities strive to keep their residents active and social with additional recreation activities and programs such as:
- Game rooms
- Mini-golf Wii
- Day trips
- Movie nights
- Community garden
- Art/craft rooms
- Spa and beauty services
- Learning centres
- Patio BBQs
- Family programs
- Volunteering opportunities
Such a range of health and wellness services keeps residents connected and inspired daily, ensuring that they stay happy and healthy, and also giving them opportunities to get out into the broader community.
Those who are mobile and would like to explore everything Burnaby has to offer can choose from:
- Museums, galleries and theatres
- Historic sites
- Parks with walking and hiking areas
Anyone with an interest in art may like to look into the arts program at Bonsor Complex, see the exhibits at Burnaby Art Gallery, or take in a performance at Shadbolt Centre. The city has no shortage of workshops, classes, performances and exhibits to delight and fulfill a personal love of the arts.
Burnaby also has what they call Be Active programs which include yoga and Pilates classes, racquet courts and swimming, as well as community centres that specifically cater to the 55+ crowd with a plentiful list of interesting and engaging activities, outings and events. The Recreation Credit Program through the City of Burnaby offers a credit to residents in financial need to use at any of Burnaby’s parks, recreation and culture facilities for programs. Learn more about this credit, how to apply and other conditions here.
Churches and places of worship in Burnaby include Kingsway Foursquare Church, Brentwood Presbyterian Church and South Burnaby Church of Christ, and retirement communities also offer religious services to meet their residents’ spiritual needs.
Some of the most popular annual events in Burnaby are the Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival, Rhododendron Festival, Symphony in the Park, Summer at Civic Square and Illuminations at Heritage Christmas.
Within Burnaby, 158 parks provide plenty of space to walk, bike, hike or relax with family and friends. There are also gardens, eco-sculptures, golf courses, and additional nature trails to explore, and beautiful views from the shorelines of parks such as Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park and Barnet Marine Park.
Retirement communities can provide access and transportation to many of the above activities and services, as well as shopping areas like Metropolis at Metrotown, Crystal Mall, and Brentwood Mall.
Burnaby retirement community regulations
In BC, the government has mandated that retirement communities are regulated through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, formerly the Community Care Facility Act, ensuring that certain standards, certifications, and inspections are maintained. It also provides regulations for community care and assisted living, residential care, and continuing care programs.
Initiatives such as Seniors Action Plan also strive to improve services and facilities available to seniors whether they require a minimal amount of assistance or need a more in depth range of support. Learn more about how the BC Ministry of Health is doing so here.
Many Burnaby retirement homes are members of provincial and national associations, including:
- The British Columbia Seniors Living Association (BCSLA)
- The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)
Availability and cost of retirement homes
With a growing senior population, the demand for seniors housing in Burnaby increased in 2014, lowering the vacancy rates for all bedroom types, including bachelor and one-bedroom independent living suites. Bachelor vacancy rates decreased to 10.7%, 8.0% for one-bedroom, and to 8.9% overall.
In surrounding areas, the Lower Mainland saw a high 12.0% vacancy rate, with the highest in the Thompson/Shuswap area at 17.2%, and lowest in the North Okanagan at 3.1%.
In 2014, the average rent in British Columbia (link to provincial hub) increased by 2.3 per cent to $2,811 a month, with rates higher in places where the land and housing prices were also higher.
Based on Comfort Life communities in Burnaby, residence fees vary anywhere starting from $1,750 to $2,270 and upwards of $3,890. These rates fall in the low to median range of the nationwide average (link to Canada wide cost hub) of $1,475 to $6,000.
There remains no government funding for independent living residences in BC, however a BC Housing program called SAFER (Shelter for Elderly Renters) helps seniors in need of financial help. Those who qualify can receive a rent subsidy based on their income. Those who do not qualify may be due to living in subsidized housing already or a Ministry of Health care facility, owning shares in a housing co-op, or receiving welfare. To learn more about the SAFER Program please visit bchousing.org.
To help pay for retirement care costs in Burnaby, many seniors utilize their pensions, RRSPs, CPP and other forms of income from second careers. Other seniors also combine profits from selling their homes and contributions from family. Determine how you can afford your ideal retirement community with our Retirement Cost Calculator (Link).
Other medical and safety services
Burnaby retirement communities offer a range of services that may include basic exercise programs, medical administration and supervision, wellness centers, and unique programs for those with mobility restrictions or dietary concerns. These communities will also offer access to additional medical services if they are unable to provide the level of care required, but this depends on the community type and many communities offer various types of care packages to accommodate as many needs as possible.
Area hospitals and care centres, including Burnaby Hospital which has Advanced Care Planning among its educational resources, have additional programs, clinics and rehabilitation services to benefit older adults. There are over 50 support services within Burnaby that can help with personal assistance, transportation, and physical and mental health well being. The Burnaby Seniors Link also strives to assist seniors on fixed incomes or who may have more limitations.
At Burnaby’s independent and assisted living communities, safety and medical services often include on-site nurses and doctors, pharmacies, medical supervision and housekeeping staff. Call bell systems, emergency phone systems, and 24-hour on-site emergency response systems may also be available to help keep residents safe and secure.
Getting around Burnaby
With such a beautiful backdrop in Burnaby, seniors who want to get out and about can do so through transportation arranged by their retirement community or by taking public transit.
The Burnaby Seniors’ Transportation assists seniors who cannot or have difficulty taking public transportation, helping to take seniors to and from medical or related appointments within Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster areas.
Independent seniors interested in traveling Burnaby and surrounding areas may also find these options useful:
- TransLink - Encompasses SkyTrain, SeaBus (inner harbor ferry service - wheelchair accessible), bus and Community Shuttles. Residents who cannot use the conventional transit system without an attendant may benefit from HandyCard program (includes ride for concession fare which is a reduced fare and attendants can travel for free). The Government of British Columbia offers an annual transit pass at a reduced fee, must contact them for eligibility.
- TransLink Bus - Every bus is accessible and can carry two wheelchairs or mobility aids. Some bus stops are NOT accessible, must check beforehand.
- HandyDART - Offers custom, door-to-door service for passengers with wheelchairs/scooters or other special needs. It is a shared ride service. You need to be registered for the service and make your trip reservations in advance in order to use it. Can provide connections to SkyTrain, SeaBus, bus routes and West Coast Express.
- BC Transit - A universal bus pass that allows for unlimited travel for seniors.
How to choose a retirement home
Although starting the process of looking for a retirement home can seem overwhelming at first, the process can be simplified by starting with the basics: what matters most to you in a community, what you’re willing to pay, and if location is a big consideration.
Not sure you’re even ready to move into a retirement community? These questions can help you decide:
- Do you want to stay active but be freed from housework or making meals?
- Is living independently becoming more difficult? Do you feel lonely or isolated?
- Is maintaining your current home becoming too onerous?
- Are you able to meet your personal care needs?
- Are daily tasks such as shopping and cooking becoming too much of a burden or would you rather have help?
- Are you worried about falling or becoming ill and not being able to get help?
- Do you want easier access to recreational and social activities?
- Do you want to live near others your age?
If you found yourself answering yes to one or several or all of these questions, it may be time to start your search. Please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home for more common questions and concerns about retirement living that may be helpful to you.
When you decide that you’re ready to look at which retirement communities are available and which type might suit you best, remember that each retirement community has something different to offer so it’s important to search for residences that speak to your personality and interests, where you’ll feel most comfortable and cared for.
One of the first ways to set about doing this is to figure out what you want. What’s really important to you in a community? What do you absolutely need and what would be nice to have? When you consider the area you’re looking into moving, which nearby services and activities are important to you to? Would you be all right with living in city away from family or being close to them necessary?
Also, what can you afford? Keep in mind there are some additional services that retirement homes offer that aren’t included in the monthly fee. If you need some assistance figuring out what type of retirement community you can afford, download the Retirement Calculator to help you compare your current costs of living.
Overall, ensure that the retirement homes on your shortlist:
- Meet your short and long-term medical needs
- Are affordable now and in the future
- Can grow with your needs as your activity and medical levels change over time
Be sure that your medical needs will be met, the community you choose will remain affordable over time, and that the residence can accommodate your needs as your activity and medical levels change.
An additional point to consider for those interested in a long-term care home is that you or your loved ones are likely to be put on a waitlist. CCAC experts suggest that semi-private and private accommodations generally cost more but may have shorter wait times. Different factors may affect average wait times, including the type of accommodation requested, a crisis, ethno-cultural preference, or if there are specific medical care needs. For more information on wait times, contact the designated associations mentioned above or the retirement community of your choice directly.
One of the best ways to feel out a retirement community and see firsthand if it would be right for you is to take a tour and speak with current residents and staff. Is the environment somewhere you could envision yourself? Chat with some of the residents where possible and ask what they love most about living there. Question staff about any specific concerns and see what they may be able to suggest to accommodate your needs. Also, don’t forget to download the Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist to take with you when you begin touring retirement communities.
If, after taking a tour, you’re still unsure as to whether that community will work for you, ask if it’s possible to stay the night. Many residences will offer overnight stays as an opportunity for you to get the best idea and experience of what living at that community is like. Take the time to ask more questions and get as much feedback as you can to help inform your decision.
Learn more about choosing a retirement home or contact the residences below to get started with your search.
Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2013-2014