Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care
Your guide to retirement living & care since 2002

Independent Living for Seniors

Today's retirement homes offer a new kind of peace of mind


Find retirement homes with independent living for seniors

Independent living is a style of seniors' care right for active, self-sufficient, and autonomous seniors who want to live in a community of people their age with similar interests. The main benefit of independent retirement living communities is they provide you (or your loved one) with a care-free, stress-free lifestyle that removes some of the drawbacks of trying to remain in your own home. Residents at independent living facilities look after most of their own needs and wants, but the community offers recreational programs and provides services to make life easier, including mail service, meals, personal laundry, and scheduled transportation.

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Quick summary:


Many independent senior living communities offer light assistance with tasks like laundry, transportation and meals and have assistive technologies, like pull cords and handrails available. Many residents are in good health and do not need significant help from others but simply enjoy the comfort and security of living in community with people their own age. These are ideal for people who want relief from some of the basic tasks of everyday homemaking and maintenance.

There are many different types or styles of senior independent living homes. Condos, suites or apartments in a tower are most common, but there are other forms of housing, such as:

  • Subdivision complexes
  • Senior apartments in a single building
  • Independent senior living townhouses
  • Bungalow-style single residences or "cluster housing"

Here, we attempt to provide a clear, full overview of the appeal of moving into a retirement home, what to look for as you are choosing and what you can expect after you move.

Click here for list and map of independent living senior care

 




Not all independent living facilities share the same features, but many share some common services and amenities:

In many cases, the move into an independent living suite is anticipatory of decreasing abilities. It can mediate the move into further care as time goes on. It may be that someone moves into independent living and after some time, they have increasing needs. Many retirement homes are able to accommodate their changed needs and meet a person's growing needs where they are.

As Barb tells us, "We have residents who were independent but are having trouble getting washed and dressed on a daily basis… and we put it back to the resident and their family what works best for them. In some cases, a resident may say 'I've lived here for five years, I've got all my friends here, can you bring those services to me. We address what our customers want and fit into their lifestyle."

Ten questions to think about as you are reviewing residences near you:

Short term stays in independent living facilities
Many people find it ideal to take a trial stay in a retirement home. This allows you to "test out" the care home and learn exactly what it's like to live there. There are a number of different cases where people can avail themselves of a short stay in a local retirement home's independent living facilities, including:

Provinces regulate retirement home ownership and rentals to varying degrees, and there are some differences in how retirement homes are operated and understood across Canada.

In British Columbia there is little or no regulation of independent senior living. The British Columbia Seniors Living Association (BCSLA). The BCSLA grants its Seal of Approval to homes that meet high industry standards. It's a membership-driven organization that is self-regulated. Homes that have the BCSLA Seal of Approval will have met multiple criteria in five important areas: safety measures, infection control, staff training, resident services and assisted living supports.

Many retirement homes offer independent living for seniors along with assisted living and further care. In this case, in BC, they are regulated under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. The province of BC also has a Bill of Rights for Residents, pursuant to both this Act and the Hospital Act. This Bill of Rights provides people with a list of rights they can expect to have met in any type of care in the province. This Bill of Rights is available for download here. Find more information and a discrete list of British Columbia seniors' independent living.

Alberta's retirement homes are represented to a great degree by the Alberta Senior Citizens' Housing Association (ASCHA), an organization over 50 years old. It does not regulate homes but is focused on advocacy of the industry's owners and operators. It also publishes an annual report and bylaws. Resources on the ASCHA website will help you learn more about senior care in Alberta.

Since many homes that have independent living also have supportive living and deeper care options, some residents in any independent living care facility may be covered under Alberta's Protection for Persons in Care Act. Albert also has a Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act (first enforced in April 2010), which may apply to homes listed here if they have this level of care. This comprehensive Act offers specific prescriptions governing care home inspections and licensing. Under this Act, residents can register complaints and have these followed up. You can learn more at Acts S23P5. Find more information and a select list of Alberta independent care facilities.

In Ontario, homes are inspected and licensed by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA). This was instituted in 2010 under the auspices of the province's Ontario's Retirement Homes Act, designed to protect the rights of all seniors' home residents. In addition, until April 2017, homes were accredited by ORCA, which (as of that date) retains a membership option. You might also consult the Residential Tenancies Act regarding lease laws as they apply to your suite in an independent living home. You can find a discrete list of independent care facilities and further information about Ontario's senior independent living care, or find a list of Toronto senior independent living homes.


"I do what I can about things and let the rest take care of itself."

Seniors who have moved into an independent living retirement home are genuinely surprised by the features of this style of living.

For example, at one retirement home, a 24-hour tea room is loved by residents. One resident, Martha calls it "one of the best ideas ever... there’s always someone to chat with over a cup of tea."  Additions like this make retirement living today a great improvement over "homes" of the past, certainly, and also remaining at home.

The social aspect of living in one of these retirement homes is impossible to appreciate until you move into. This improves your well-being in ways that you cannot imagine, including the increased activity. As Jean in Vancouver has told us, "getting out and meeting people" with her retirement home friends, is "way better than sitting in a chair."

If you move to a different city, this can also be eye opening. Take for example, Rhena, who moved from a small town in Saskatchewan to Toronto. We "brought up four children there, but they all left for Toronto when they grew up." Her daughters moved her to a Toronto retirement home where she fell in love with the shops on Bloor Street and loves being close to her kids and grandkids. Nick, another resident of the same community loves the fact that inside his independent senior living retirement home, "I don’t have any worries."

Life inside of many retirement homes might be about making the best of things; in homes listed here at comfortlife.ca, though, it's often about simply having the best of things. Florence, a resident of an independent living home in Toronto, lived to be well over 100; as she told us, "I do what I can about things and let the rest take care of itself." You, too, might be surprised at how good it is to live inside one of today's seniors' communities.





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