Retirement in Hamilton
The complete guide to finding a retirement community in the Hamilton region
Hamilton is one of Ontario’s most vibrant cities. The city has a number of excellent retirement homes that cater to all types of seniors and help their residents engage in the community around them. Hamilton, an industrial area, boasts a downtown with an up-and-coming arts scene completely surrounded by outdoor attractions – with the waterfront of lake Ontario to one side and the trails and waterfalls of the Niagara escarpment to the other.
Table of Contents
- List of retirement communities in Hamilton
- Types of retirement living in Hamilton
- Retirement community benefits, services and amenities
- Hamilton retirement community regulations
- Availability of retirement homes in Hamilton
- How much does a retirement home in Hamilton cost?
- Other health & safety services in Hamilton
- Getting around Hamilton
- Choosing a retirement community in Hamilton
List or retirement communities in Hamilton
Types of retirement living in Hamilton
Retirement homes in Hamilton serve the areas of Ancaster, Dundas and Stoney creek within the city, as well as seniors in the surrounding cities of Brantford, Cambridge and Burlington. There are three basic types of retirement living in Ontario – independent living , assisted living, and long term care.
Independent living can come in the form of town homes, or, more commonly, apartments. This type of senior living caters to the active and independent community above 55 who want to continue living on their own terms, but enjoy the amenities, safety and companionship of a retirement community. Assisted living Assisted living is designed to grow with residents as their needs change. The services in assisted living depend on the retirement residence, but can range from meal preparation and light laundry to foot care and assistance with walking. Many Hamilton retirement residences provide a continuum of care, the benefit of which being residents can stay in a familiar community as their circumstances change.
Long-term care communities offer more comprehensive care to seniors with challenging health needs. Seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia can benefit from the safe environment, personal care and special therapies offered in long-term care. As of 2012, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has established a $1,674.14 monthly co-payment amount for a basic or standard accommodation as part of a long-stay program. A short-stay program costs $35.63 daily. If a senior family member requires round the clock care that goes beyond home health care services, nursing homes offer services and amenities you will find helpful, including:
- Medical assistance from trained professionals
- Entertainment and community activities (i.e. movie nights, bingo, musical performances by leading entertainers or youth groups, plays, etc.)
- Wellness centers
- In-suite emergency call systems
- Onsite conveniences including meals, laundry and housekeeping
Retirement Community Benefits, Services and Amenities
Modern retirement homes make resident wellness their first priority. This means that physical, emotional and social health is at the forefront of retirement care, and preventative health care, recreational facilities and social activities are offered at almost all of Hamilton’s retirement residences. Today’s Retirement homes encourage their residents to stay active, creative and connected, and help them take advantage of health and fitness services as well as opportunities to engage in the city’s arts and culture whenever possible. One of the most important factors in senior health is a healthy diet. The dietary staff in assisted living communities make sure meals are both healthy and delicious, and oversee the serving of specialty meals to residents with any kind of dietary needs. Some homes offer snacks during the day and evening in addition to meals to help residents regulate blood sugar or sleep better at night. Health teams are also on board in Hamilton’s retirement communities. Registered nurses, regular doctors, personal support workers and health care and nurses aids can provide residents with the following services:
- 24/7 nursing care
- Medication assistance services
- Exercise programs with access to a personal trainer
- Preventative wellness programs
- Recuperative programs
- Assistance with daily living activities including bathing, dressing, nutrition and mobility
- Monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar
- Foot care
- Therapy options e.g. Music and Aroma therapy
- Palliative care services, including that offered by care homes in Hamilton.
- Emotional, cognitive and social support
- Personal care with dressing, feeding and hygiene
- Pain and symptom management
- Advanced Alzheimer’s and Dementia therapy and care
- Continence care needs
In the interest of safety, Emergency call services are present in the rooms of both assisted living and long-term care residences, and are often located in hallways as well for extra support. Three-piece bathrooms specially designed for seniors and no-slip floors are also installed in most suites to reduce the risk of falls. Those homes that assist patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia also offer secure floors and overnight monitoring to ensure resident safety. Of course, senior health and safety is not limited only to medical concerns. Many homes also employ an activity director, who contributes to wellness by keeping seniors active mentally and physically, and helping them get to know the other residents around them better. Classes are also often available – from ballroom dancing to language and computer courses.
For those who want to enjoy the fresh air, Hamilton, on the edge of the Niagara escarpment, has an abundance of natural beauty to offer. A harbour, beachfront, a number of trails, as well as more than 100 waterfalls can all be found in the Hamilton region. A popular place for seniors to explore is the Webster Falls Conservation area, and the nearby Bruce Trail can give residents a new appreciation for all of Canada’s beautiful seasons. Unique to the region are the rich farmer’s markets, full of Niagara produce, and the wine tours popular with the over 55 crowd.
Hamilton is one of the best cities in Canada to be an artist. The city’s budding arts scene makes it a fantastic place to see theatre, take in concerts and enjoy public art and art galleries. A total of 3 major music venues and 11 theatres can be found in the area, including Hamilton Place – a hall known for its acoustics, located in the heart of downtown Hamilton. Seniors can explore the city’s attractions on their own, but many retirement homes also organize outings to community events, concerts and performances, as well as shopping trips and day trips to Hamilton’s outdoor attractions.
Hamilton Retirement Community Regulations
When searching for a retirement home, your health and safety or that of your loved one should be your first priority. In order to ensure a high standard of care, always make sure to check a home’s standing with the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority. In Ontario, all retirement residences must undergo ongoing inspections by the RHRA in order to remain operational. In addition to regulations set by the RHRA, the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 governs all long-term care homes in Ontario. The act requires residences to provide safe, consistent and high-quality resident-centred care and makes sure residents feel at home, are treated with dignity and respect, and have the health care services they need available to them. Checking a retirement residence’s accreditations is also an important step. Industry experts recommend looking for a retirement community accredited by the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) or one of a number of trusted organizations, such as The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP) or the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA). Many of the residences in Hamilton and the surrounding area are members of these associations.
Availability of retirement homes in Hamilton
Over the past decade, the number of seniors in Canada has grown, and this trend is expected to continue. Because of the high demand for retirement homes in Ontario, the average provincial vacancy rate has dropped to around 13%. Unfortunately, a low vacancy rate means you or your loved one(s) may have to spend time on a wait list before moving in to the retirement homes of your choice. This is why it is important to find more than one potential retirement residence, and to keep the following in mind when making a decision:
- Crisis placement (if someone’s safety poses immediate risk) can shorten the length of wait times
- Type of accommodation: basic, semi-private or private or secure floor (Private or semi-private are more expensive but have shorter wait-times)
- Gender can be a factor on some retirement home wait lists
- Ask about how medical care needs i.e. tube-feeding and unit designation- secure, non- secure affect wait times
Another option for senior living in Hamilton is affordable housing. The city has 43 social housing providers who offer 14, 000 social housing units. Those eligible for geared-to-income housing are usually offered a rent rate of 30% of their current income. However, the availability of affordable housing units is generally also low, and wait times can be very long.
How much does a retirement home in Hamilton cost?
Retirement costs in Hamilton hover around the provincial average monthly cost of $3, 200. However, monthly costs will vary greatly with the type of suite and level of care you choose. Additional services and amenities, such as television and Internet or hairdressing and grocery assistance can also come at an additional cost. Some of the most common ways of paying for retirement are through savings, pensions, the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Pension. The sale of the family home is also a good way to finance retirement costs. The Ontario government can be helpful when it comes to additional expenses, such as home care or prescription expenses. Seniors with high prescription drug costs relative to their income may benefit from applying to the Trillium Drug Program. Seniors over the age of 65 who live in Ontario and have a valid Ontario health card are eligible for application.
Other health and safety services in Hamilton
Seniors don’t have far to go for health and safety services in the community. In an emergency, the city of Hamilton is home to no less than four hospitals and a number of specialized health centres. These include the Juravinski Hospital, Hamilton General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. A Community Care Accesses Centre, physiotherapy, chiropractic care and message therapy, infection control, and the Alzheimer’s society of Hamilton-Halton are all located in Hamilton. St. Joseph’s, as well as a number of private companies can provide home health-care ranging from meal delivery to help with housekeeping and medication management and assistance with bathing and walking. Recognizing that care-giver health is as important as the health of those they are taking care of, relief services are offered in the area, and overnight respite is available at most retirement residences. Community and Seniors’ Centres are also a big contributor to senior health – both physical and social. Hamilton’s 22 Community Centres, 5 Seniors’ Centres and 6 Seniors’ Clubs all have facilities for fitness and recreation. Retirement homes often work with Community Centres in the area to give their residents more access to facilities and connect them with a wider network of seniors. As of fall 2014, access to year-round drop-in programs at Hamilton’s seniors centres comes at the price of a $30.00 yearly membership. Memberships to seniors clubs vary in price, and seniors must have a club card to participate in activities. Clubs and seniors centres offer any or all of the following programs:
- Computer classes
- Card games and tournaments
- Painting classes
- Tai chi, zumba, yoga and other fitness programs
- Line dancing
- Knitting clubs
- Sociable seniors
Hamilton’s public library system helps the senior demographic remain informed and promotes ongoing learning through staff and accessibility initiatives. Enlargers are now available for easier reading, and most facilities are completely accessible – from accessible desks to larger washrooms and elevators. Library staff is also available to help seniors find information or use installed technology.
Getting around Hamilton
Active seniors who live near downtown Hamilton have many of the city’s attractions and amenities within walking or biking distance. However, public transportation is also available throughout the city. Seniors taking the bus receive no fare reduction on regular tickets, but can purchase a PRESTO bus pass for discounted rides. Seniors who have trouble with mobility can register for Hamilton’s shared ride accessible transportation service, DARTS. Eligibility for the Disabled and Aged Regional Transportation System is based on a person’s physical, cognitive and sensory abilities as to whether they are able to use fixed route public transit. Each of the city’s regular buses are equipped with accessible low floors to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters and walkers and those who have difficulty climbing stairs. In addition to public transportation, residents of retirement homes can also take advantage of the transportation provided by their residences. Most residences also make free reserved parking available to those who drive.
Choosing a retirement community in Hamilton
Whether you are excited to move into a retirement community or plan to retire at home, it is important to consider all your options. Many seniors and their families wait until a time of crisis until they think about choosing a retirement home, which can cause unnecessary stress and limit your choices. Choosing a retirement home requires thought and pre-planning, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Before you start your search, make sure you ask yourself:
- What do I want?
- What do I need?
- What can I afford?
- Where do I want to retire?
You can use our retirement calculator to get a better idea of what you’ll be able to afford in your retirement. The next step is looking for potential residences in Hamilton. Make sure to keep your answers to the above questions in mind when making your shortlist, as well as the following: ·
- Ensure the residence can meet your medical needs.
- Make sure the community can grow with your needs as your activity, medical and financial circumstances change over time
- Have your finances are in order. Remember to factor rent and cost of living increases into your calculation
When you have made a list of retirement residences, don’t hesitate to go for a visit and ask questions. If you are unsure what questions to ask, download our free retirement tour checklist e-book. Remember to ask about overnight stays - some will let seniors stay overnight in a guest suite to get a better idea of what it’s like to live in the community.
Hamilton allows you to choose from multiple options, like living in the heart of the city or in a scenic nearby small town such as Ancaster. Ontario’s long-term care homes use a co-payment system in which both you and the province pay for a portion of your fee.
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