With a stunning landscape that includes breathtaking views of the North Shore Mountains, scenic outlooks and an above average temperate climate (especially in winter months), the city of Vancouver provides an ideal setting for some of the country's premier retirement communities.
This is a guide to finding the right retirement home, created for those looking in the Vancouver area, (including North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, and so on).
A range of services is available at Vancouver homes, including basic exercise programs, wellness centers, medical administration and supervision, and specialized programs for dietary and mobility restrictions. Care packages are provided based on the community type (assisted living communities have more care than independent living, for example).
Streamlined access to outside medical care services can be arranged if the retirement residence is unable to provide the next level of care necessary. Many area hospitals have programs and expertise in caring for the elderly, including Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, and Burnaby Hospital. Mount Saint Joseph Hospital has a number of outpatient clinics including a Falls and Fracture Prevention Clinic, Thyroid Clinic, Mental Health and Wellness Clinic and Physiotherapy Outpatient Service while Vancouver General Hospital offers community care services such as group programs for seniors and occupational and physical therapy.
St. Paul’s Hospital, which provides an Elder Care Ambulatory Clinic and a Falls and Fracture Prevention Clinic, also has a Center for Healthy Aging and hosts a number of events open to the general public surrounding healthy aging. Burnaby Hospital has many educational resources available for seniors and their families, plus Advanced Care Planning and convalescent care. (After your hospital stay, you can consider the value of convalescent care in a retirement home.)
Additional acute care programs, older adult mental health services and rehabilitation services are also available at these hospitals and in the surrounding area. Vancouver retirement communities can help you arrange additional services as necessary and coordinate transportation to any of the Vancouver community centres that offer senior 55+ programs and services such as a senior centre with computer lab at Britannia Community Services Centre.
Regarding safety measures and services in Vancouver retirement homes, independent and assisted living communities often have nursing and housekeeping staff and doctors who visit several times a week. Some residences have an on-site pharmacy and medication supervision, while others offer access to nearby pharmacies, physical therapy and other appointments.
Overall, with the crime rate continuing to drop in Vancouver, the broader community is kept safe to explore and its retirement communities ensure that residents are well looked after in and outside of their residences. Many communities have call bell systems and emergency phone systems in place and endeavor to provide the utmost care and safety for their residents at all times.
Retirement communities strive to ensure that seniors are able to get around, often scheduling transportation either through complimentary rides to shopping malls, medical appointments or other inclusive outings, or arranging door-to-door service for special requests.
Depending on the district of Vancouver, shuttle buses are offered for free or donation. Contact local seniors community centers for information.
For independent seniors who are interested in traveling around Vancouver, there are a number of options:
For a full guide to getting around Metro Vancouver, please visit AccessTransit
Narrowing down the options for retirement homes can seem like a daunting task. Consider what matters most to you, your price range and if location is a factor in your decision. Would you prefer to be close to family? Would living in an active lifestyle community suit you or would you prefer a community with more assistance?
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
Are you even ready to move into a retirement community? The following questions can help you decide:
Did you find yourself answering yes to one or several or all of these questions? Then you may already be in the mindset of beginning your search for a retirement community. 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:
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.
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.
Vancouver’s senior care services are also flexible in terms of types of homes and other services provided. Another example is when seniors and families choose short-term services. Temporary care services are often arranged for seniors after a medical crisis has occurred, such as a stroke or a fall. Services may also be provided for a longer duration in retirement homes or in long-term care homes, depending on the level of care required.
Learn more about choosing a retirement home or contact the residences above to get started with your search.
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. 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.
"Being with people our own age, with similar concerns, definitely makes a difference in your everyday living."
In order to ensure the safety of seniors, the BC government regulates assisted living and long-term care communities through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which was formerly the Community Care Facility Act. This Act ensures that specific standards, certifications, and inspections are maintained, and provides regulations for community care and assisted living, residential care, and continuing care programs.
Initiatives such as the Age-friendly 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 the Age-friendly Action Plan and their progress on the city of Vancouver’s official website.
Many Vancouver retirement homes are members of provincial and national associations, including:
Source: CMHC Seniors’ Housing Survey 2012-2013