Toronto retirement homes
The complete guide to finding a retirement community in Toronto
Amongst its sprawling landscape of skyscrapers, urban areas, parks, suburbs, gardens and beaches, Toronto has an assortment of inviting, culturally rich spaces for seniors to enjoy their retirement. Within these areas are an array of quality retirement communities.
This is your guide to Toronto's senior communities, which covers downtown, East York/York City, Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough.
- List of retirement homes in Toronto
- Types of senior care
- Costs of retirement homes
- Medical services and safety
- Recreation and social activities
- Transportation for seniors
- Availability of suites in Toronto
- Choosing a retirement home
- Retirement home regulations
List of retirement homes in Toronto
Some of the best retirement homes in Toronto are listed below. Click through to view a community's full profile, or further refine the list of homes by accessing the map or advanced search views.
Types of senior care in Toronto
Retirement communities in Toronto fall into different categories -- each category occupying a different niche in the senior specrum of care, (see image below).
Many Toronto communities also allow for a "continuum" of care. This means healthy residents can live in an independent living suite at the residence for many years, and as their health demands increase they move to an assisted living suite within the same community. (Assisted living offers a greater level of medical care and staff time for health and other personal needs). This means residents can remain within the community of their friends and peers, where they are familiar, while still ensuring their changing health needs are met.
For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease there are a few residences in Toronto offering 24-hour care in a secured community. These retirement homes specialize in dementia care and ensure residents are provided a comfortable, familiar, home-like environment that meets their unique and challenging needs.
To narrow your search, click on a specific care-type below:
- Toronto Active Adult
- Toronto Dementia & Memory Care
- Toronto Assisted Living
- Toronto Independent Living
- Toronto Long-term Care
Retirement home costs in Toronto
Seniors can rent, own, or life-lease suites and entire homes, (see our comparison piece here). The most common financing option is renting, however, and that's what we'll address.
In 2013, the average rent in Ontario grew by 4.5% to $3,204 a month. One and two-bedroom suites were in largest demand, with rent growth highest for two bedroom suites, where demand grew faster than supply. You can see in the chart below that 2-bedroom appartment suites also have the largest variance, (or range from the lowest to the highest starting rent).
For the second consecutive year, Etobicoke had the highest average monthly rent in Ontario, at $4,236.
To come up with the funds to pay retirement home rent, most seniors use a combination of their pensions, RRSPs, CPP and other income. Many seniors use the profits from the sale of their home and even help from family members to cover their costs.
Use a retirement calculator, like this one, for help understanding and managing the costs associated with retirement home living.
For seniors who need financial assistance, it’s good to know that some retirement homes work with the City of Toronto to provide subsidized help for seniors, however due to high demand it is difficult to receive this subsidized care. Contact the City of Toronto for further details.
The Trillium Drug Program (TDP) is another option for seniors looking for financial help. The TDP helps people with high prescription drug costs relative to their household income. It covers a number of approved drugs and almost anyone who has an Ontario health card, lives in Ontario and is a senior over the age of 65 years of age is eligible to apply.
Medical services and safety at Toronto retirement homes
Most retirement homes in Toronto -- regardless of where they fall on the care spectrum -- have an on-site doctor, or a doctor who visits residents on a regular basis. On-site nursing staff are also available in most retirement homes, although their availability will range – some are available 24/7 while others are available for specific hours, depending on the type of retirement home and living package you choose.
A pharmacy on-site is less common, although it does exist in some retirement homes in Toronto. (Only 5% of senior homes in Ontario offer an on-site pharmacy, which is one of the lowest provincial averages in Canada).
Depending on the retirement community, a number of other medical programs may be available, ranging from simple exercise programs, to intensive physiotherapy, to recuperative programs, to programs for knee-replacements, to special dietary programs.
Photo: a good retirement community will include activities that keep residents healthy.
Residents who need medical care outside of the scope of what the retirement home can offer may hire one-on-one care; sometimes CCAC will pick up the tab for this extra service.
Many communities have developed partnerships with nearby hospitals -- like Sunnybrook Hospital, for example, whcih runs transitional programs with local retirement homes.
The high concentration of world-class hospitals in Toronto also helps. Seniors deciding to stick around Toronto in one of its retirement homes can depend on one of the medical centres specializing in geriatric care.
Toronto also has a number of health-focused non-profit organizations to help raise awareness for and treat residents, such as the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Cancer Society which all have offices in the downtown core. The ALS Society of Canada, Canadian Mental Health Association and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation are other examples of organizations in the area that assist residents within the GTA.
Keeping residents safe
With one of the lowest crime rates in Canada, Toronto is considered one of the safest major cities in North America. A quality retirement community will work hard to ensure its residents are safe inside and outside the residence. Toronto homes commonly have security monitoring, call bell systems, and emergency phone systems in place to safeguard their residents’ and help them feel confident as they explore their new community and surrounding area.
All retirement communities in Toronto are also provincially legislated to provide a safe environment for seniors, (see below for more info).
Recreation and social life at Toronto retirement communities
Well-run homes address the physical, emotional and social aspects of aging, and encourage seniors to socialize, explore their interests, and make the most of their retirement years.
Photo: Toronto offers retirement community residents a plethora of activities, but sometimes the most fun can be had from home.
Many Toronto retirement communities take advantage of the surrounding city for sourcesof stimulation. Residences organize bus trips within the GTA to shopping malls like Yorkdale, Square One and the Eaton Centre as well as other attractions like The Royal Ontario Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Toronto Art Gallery, while others offer bus trips outside of Toronto to areas like Niagara Falls and Stratford for events such as the Stratford Festival.
Toronto offers a variety of amenities and activities including the theatre, waterfront and distillery districts, cycling and walking trails, parks, museums and art galleries, as well as year round festivals and events. Examples of popular events are the Canadian Stage Company’s outdoor Shakespeare production “Dream in High Park” each summer in Toronto’s High Park, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Caribbean Carnival (also called Caribana) in July/August, and Pride Week annually near the end of June.
Those interested in sports can enjoy any of Toronto’s seven major league sports with access to popular sports venues such as the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, BMO Field and Ricoh Coliseum. The ACC and Rogers Centre in particular provide a variety of tradeshows, conventions and concerts that may interest residents.
Photo: Residents often take classes -- either from within or outside the retirement community.
But retirement communities, of course, also provide their own daily activity plan and full recreation program, along with religious services for seniors of various faiths. Some examples of daily activities include bingo, cards, movies, musical concerts, entertainment which is brought into the residence, and celebrations of local festivals and holidays. Some communities also offer a games room, spa services, mini-golf/Wii, community gardens, party rooms and arts/crafts rooms for seniors to develop and share their interests with others.
A number of volunteers are also involved in retirement community life in Toronto. Primary, middle and high school students often visit residents, university students complete internships and there are a number of senior volunteers who come to spend time with seniors.
How seniors get around Toronto
Most retirement homes ensure that a senior’s transportation needs are well cared for, either through bussing or a group of orgnized volunteers. For independent seniors who want to get around Toronto on their own, there are a number of options:
- TTC - Fees vary depending on single cash fare ($2), tickets, monthly metropass, Metropass Discount Plan (MDP), weekly pass or Downtown Express.
- GO Transit - 65 years or over - Senior single-ride fare is half the adult single-ride fare. There are no further discounts for day pass.
- Toronto Ride
- Center for Independent Living Resources - Taxi information for people with folding wheelchairs/walkers, transportation services for Toronto and other regions, rental car info, special needs transportation.
- TransCare - Low cost and senior-friendly transportation and escort services to medical appointments, other therapeutic programs and grocery shopping.
- Wheel-Trans - Door-to-door accessible transit service for persons with physical disabilities using accessible buses, contracted accessible and sedan taxis. Registered users are eligible for Wheel-Trans based upon their level of physical functional mobility in the home, within the area immediately surrounding the home and in the community at large, as well as permanency of disability. Eligibility is not based on particular disabilities, general health or income. Service is provided anywhere within the City of Toronto for a regular TTC fare.
- Greyhound Bus
For seniors who are looking to get around Toronto’s suburbs these community services are available:
- TransHelp - For Halton, Peel Brampton and Caledon areas.
- Community Care Durham - For Ajax and Pickering
- Durham Region Transit Specialized Services
Availability of retirement homes in Toronto
Demands for space have decreased slightly across Ontario for all unit types, except for ward/semi-private spaces. In 2013, there were approximately 51,800 units available in Ontario for seniors, with demand highest for two bedroom suites. Some senior couples looking for two bedroom suites did encounter waiting lists.
How to choose a retirement home in Toronto
When it comes to choosing a retirement home, there is a lot to consider. Some seniors are looking for homes near their family, while others want to explore the benefits of a more active lifestyle. The first step is to determine what you want, what you’re looking for, what you can afford and the location of your search (assuming you have a particular neighbourhood in mind).
If you’re not sure whether it’s time to consider retirement living, consider the following starter questions:
- 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?
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
It's also important to ensure your medical needs are met, the residence you choose is affordable now and in the future, and that the home can grow with your needs as your activity and medical levels change over time.
Keep in mind that if you are interested in a long-term care home in particular, it’s likely you will be put on a waitlist. Semi-private and private accommodations generally cost more but may have shorter wait times, and different factors may affect average wait times, such as the type of accommodation requested, if someone is in crisis, if there is an ethno-cultural preference, or if there are specific medical care needs. For more information on wait times, contact the designated associations mentioned below (under "Toronto retirement community regulations) or the retirement community of your choice directly.
If you’re not sure whether a retirement home is right for you, many homes will offer overnight stays to provide an opportunity for you or your loved ones to get the full experience of what the residence has to offer.
Get more information about choosing a retirement home, or contact the residences above to get started with your search.
Don’t forget to download the Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist to take with you when you begin touring retirement communities on your shortlist.
Toronto retirement community regulations
Retirement communities throughout Ontario, including Toronto, are subject to the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), which set a deadline of July 3, 2012 for existing residences to become licensed. Licensing requires retirement homes to receive approval and undergo ongoing inspections by the RHRA in order to operate.
Many retirement homes in Toronto are also members of provincial and national associations, including:
- The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA)
- Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO)
- The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)
- The Ontario Community Support Association
- The Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres (OACACC)
- The Ontario Home Care Association (OHCA)
- The Ontario Long-term Care Association (OLTCA)
- The Ontario Association of Non-profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)
Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2012-2013