Barrie retirement homes
The complete guide to finding a retirement community in the Barrie region
Barrie, Ontario, is located on the western shore of beautiful Lake Simcoe, and is part of the “greater golden horseshoe” of cities in the province. The city has recently adopted the World Heath Organization’s Age-Friendly City initiative and is working towards making public services, facilities and property more accessible for people of all ages.
There are several reputable retirement communities in the Barrie region, (including Alliston, Orillia and Collingwood). This is your guide to finding the right community and care.
List of retirement homes in Barrie
Some of the best retirement homes in Barrie are listed below. Click to view a community's full profile, or refine your search by accessing the map or advanced search views.
- Types of senior care in Barrie
- Costs of retirement homes
- Medical services and safety
- Recreation and social activities
- Transportation for seniors
- Choosing a retirement home
- Retirement home regulations
Types of retirement living in Barrie
From independent living to long-term care, the city has retirement homes to suit seniors at any point on the spectrum of care (see image below). Whether you or your loved one prefers to live independently, enjoy a degree of assistance such as help with meals and laundry or requires extensive personal care, there is a community in Barrie that will be right for you.
Active adult communities, also known as adult lifestyle communities cater to active retirees who want to remain independent while enjoying a holiday lifestyle. Fitness and recreation facilities, a safe and supportive community of other active adults and opportunities to travel the globe are all benefits of living in an active adult community. In Barrie, these complexes are built around the picturesque shores of Lake Simcoe, allowing residents to take full advantage of the many waterfront activities, and, of course, the view!
Independent and assisted living
Barrie’s retirement homes will most often offer a continuum of care, where residents can transition from living unassisted in a community (usually for the companionship and amenities) to gradually receiving more care and support as needed. These communities combine independent and assisted living, and offer everything from light housekeeping and recreation to meal and laundry services, medication supervision and personal care. Choosing a retirement home in Barrie with both options allows residents to stay within the same community and support network as their needs change.
Long term care
Long-term care homes in Barrie offer much more extensive care options to seniors with more challenging needs and disabilities, all within a home-like environment. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia can especially benefit from the comprehensive therapy and care designed to help residents feel safe and prevent further cognitive decline. From medication supervision to music therapy and 24 hour nursing, the staff of long-term care homes is specially trained to meet the care requirements of their residents and ensure they remain safe and comfortable. Long term care is the name now used to replace the out-of-date phrase 'nursing homes.'
For those in early onset or early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, home care is a fair option to consider, as a a supplement to round-the-clock attention from loved ones. However, for those in later stages of the disease, several professional retirement homes in Barrie offer memory care. In the past, we have profiled care offered at one care home in Barrie.
How much does a retirement home in Barrie cost?
The monthly cost of a retirement home in Barrie varies with the type of suite and amount of added care you or your loved one decide on. A typical room in a Barrie residence costs slightly more than the provincial average of $3,200 per month, and additional fees can come from television, meal and personal laundry services.
As a whole, Ontario’s retirement homes are well regulated, safe and welcoming – unfortunately this also renders vacancy rates relatively low. Over the last few years, the vacancy rate has dropped to about 13 percent. Once you’ve made the decision to move into a retirement home, you or your loved one may have to spend time on a wait-list before being accepted. Certain factors will inform the length of wait times and costs:
- Crisis placement (if someone’s safety poses immediate risk)
- Type of accommodation: basic, semi-private or private or secure floor (Private or semi-private are more expensive but have shorter wait-times)
- Medical care needs i.e. tube-feeding
- Unit designation- secure, non- secure
Affordable housing is also an option for Barrie seniors. The Barrie Municipal Non-Profit Housing Corporation has a portfolio of over 900 apartments and town houses located at 14 different locations across the city, of which 60% are for those who qualify for a rent geared to income subsidy. However, most of rental units are two and three bedroom apartments and town homes, with limited one-bedroom units available.
CARP unveiled a program unique to Barrie in 2013: retirement with roommates. The idea behind the program is to provide seniors that would normally live alone in a home or apartment of their own with one or more companions with which to share the rent and pass the time. Sharing a living space with four to six other seniors in the style of Golden Girls is good for social and emotional health, keeps the space clean and helps with nutrition. Although it is still in the works (as of Fall 2014), this program promised to give seniors a housing option with relatively short wait times and be a safer alternative to living alone.
Some of the most common ways of paying for retirement are through savings, pensions, 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 also 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.
Medical and safety services in Barrie
The York Central Hospital and Royal Victoria Health Centre are Barrie’s largest hospitals, but there are many smaller health centres throughout the region. The Barrie Community Health Centre and Saint Elizabeth Health Centre, for example, and several massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic centres, serve the community as well. Hospitals and emergency care are only a short distance from Barrie’s retirement residences, but the communities themselves provide excellent day-to-day health care.
Today’s retirement homes make resident wellness their first priority, in terms of both safety and medical, physical, social and emotional health. Residences are equipped with health teams, dieticians, activity co-ordinators and state-of-the-art facilities to help residents stay healthy and active. The meals served in assisted living and long-term care residences are specially prepared and planned by diet co-ordinators and professional chefs to be both healthy and delicious. Meals can also cater to the specific dietary needs of residents, whether they be faith or health related.
Residents can also take advantage of the help of on-site or visiting doctors, registered nurses, personal care workers and nursing aids. These health teams ensure that all residents’ health needs are taken care of. Some of the preventative services provided by Barrie’s assisted living communities include:
- 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
- Monitoring of blood pressure and blood sugar
- Foot care
- Therapy options e.g. Music and Aroma therapy
- Palliative care services
- Emotional, cognitive and social support
Long term-care, also known as extended or residential care, offers all of the above, as well as more tailored care to those seniors with complex medical needs and/or advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and more comprehensive assistance with daily activities, including:
- Assistance with walking
- Personal care with dressing, feeding and hygiene
- Pain and symptom management
- Advanced Alzheimer’s and Dementia therapy and care
- Continence care
Besides being dedicated to keeping residents healthy, Barrie’s retirement homes also take the safety of their residents very seriously. Suites are equipped with safety measures such as non-slip floors, oversized sit-down showers, bathrooms with grab bars and night lighting to make living comfortable. In the event of an emergency, emergency-call systems located in every room alert staff immediately at any time of the day or night.
For seniors living at home, there are also a number of home health care and assistance programs in place. Private companies and volunteers can help with anything from light housekeeping to personal care, as well as home maintenance and meal delivery.
Caregiver health, of course, is just as important as patient health. The services listed above, as well as support groups and help from organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Society of Simcoe County can assist caregivers with their responsibilities and help them remain socially and mentally healthy. Many retirement residences also provide opportunities for overnight respite, giving caregivers a night off, and seniors a night out in a home away from home.
Recreation and social activities for Barrie seniors
The Barrie area has many services and facilities designed especially for senior social health and recreation. The city’s growing 55+ population and commitment to becoming a WHO Age-Friendly City mean that accessibility and senior services will only continue to improve in the coming years.
The Seniors Advisory Committee’s mandate is to advise city council with Barrie seniors’ perspectives on transportation, seniors housing and planning matters as well as communication with and civic participation by seniors. The Committee meets on a monthly basis and helps to keep older adult concerns at the forefront of municipal interests.
Barrie’s retirement homes are located in a beautiful part of Ontario, and provide residents with excellent care and recreational activities, as well as opportunities to enjoy the city’s great outdoors and explore its arts and heritage. Barrie boasts a spectacular waterfront, with lots of opportunities for seniors to enjoy walks on the beach, boating, fishing, and much more. The city offers a balance between land and water, urban amenities and surrounding rural charm.
Fitness and physical wellness is an important part of staying healthy while aging. Barrie’s retirement communities offer a multitude of fitness options, from indoor pools to exercise rooms, dance classes and pilates sessions. However, for those who love the outdoors, there is no substitute for a walk in the park or a stroll on the beach. Barrie is home to hundreds of outdoor activities and 3000 acres of parks, making it easy to get out and enjoy the fresh air.
The Barrie area has extensive outdoor recreation options for all four seasons. Active seniors can enjoy a picnic along the 7km waterfront trail in the summer, fall canopy tours and hiking in the colourful forest in the fall, skating and sleigh-rides in the winter, and can explore the region’s parkland and budding gardens in the spring.
The region also has no shortage of heritage and history. Self-guided heritage walking tours are available to tourists and architecture and history buffs, and feature beautiful 19th century buildings that remain in tact all over the city. Barrie is also home to no less than seven museums, including the Castle Village and Medieval Museum and the Base Borden Military Museum, one of Canada’s largest military museums.
For rainy days and a peek into the arts scene, seniors often explore Barrie’s art galleries, theatres and popular brewery tours! Several different art galleries showcase ever-changing exhibitions, some of which feature local artists, and two breweries, the Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery and Barnstormer Brewing open their doors for exciting and informative tours. Six different theatres are open year-round in the area, and are a popular destination for outings organized through retirement homes.
Many residences also have close relationships with health and recreation centres in the area to offer residents the best experience and health care possible.
There are currently two municipally run senior’s centres in Barrie, the Allendale 55+ Centre, and the Parkview Centre for 55+. The two Centres are located on opposite sides of the city, to ensure opportunities for fitness and recreation are close to seniors living anywhere in Barrie. Both locations charge a small fee for a year’s worth of fitness and community programs, including tai chi, tennis and bowling. Pancake breakfasts, games nights, ladies night, the “Little Friends” program, movie afternoons, cards and poker are also popular staples. PALS, a monthly newsletter, details all of the options available to members, from euchre and darts to farmers markets.
Allendale and Parkview both make an effort to help seniors of all abilities enjoy retirement. For example, free shuttle services to events held outside the centres are available to seniors who have trouble getting around, and the Outreach Day Program helps isolated seniors get in on the action, and provides them with companionship, gentle exercise and a unique activity every afternoon. In conjunction with Revenue Canada, both Centres also offer a Community Income Tax Program, where trained volunteers help those who have difficulty completing their tax returns.
Of course, retirement communities offer so many activities for residents to stay social, active and engaged every day of the week without having to leave home! Active adult communities also allow members to take home with them on group travels to Florida, or organized cruises and tours of Europe or Alaska. Assisted, independent and long-term residences also interested residents with planned outings as well as concerts, entertainment, movies, games, gardening and other social activities offered within the residence.
Getting around Barrie
Both active seniors and those with disabilities have many transit options for getting around Barrie. Older adults who still like to cycle and enjoy walking can take advantage of the “road diets” that are to be implemented over the next few years. A road diet allocates some of the space usually reserved for cars to safe pedestrian and bike lanes. Many attractions and shopping centres are within walking or biking distance of retirement communities in Barrie.
Public transportation is available in the form of buses, and reduced fares are made available to seniors. Courtesy seating has been implemented on all vehicles. Seniors who have trouble with mobility can also apply for the Barrie Accessible Community Transportation Service. The BACTS can be used to take registered clients anywhere within the city limits, from shopping centres to social outings and visiting friends and family.
Retirement homes also have their own accessible buses, on which groups of seniors can be taken on organized excursions from group shopping trips to the mall to evenings at the theatre. Reserved parking is also available at retirement homes to residents who drive.
How to choose a retirement home in Barrie
Doing your research and keeping in mind what is most important to you or your loved one(s) are the key aspects of choosing a retirement home. With this in mind, the search doesn’t have to be stressful – its just matter of asking yourself, and prospective residences, the right questions.
For more points to consider and some common questions and concerns about retirement homes, please visit our page for seniors considering a retirement home.
What are your heath care needs? What is your preferred location? How important are meal and laundry services? Will you need more care in the future? Begin to ask yourself or your loved one(s) questions in advance. Families and seniors often plunge into the search without a clear idea of their wants and needs, or don’t start searching at all until a time of crisis occurs.
Starting your search unprepared or during a family emergency can cause unnecessary stress and conflict, so whether you or your loved one has been looking forward to enjoying the benefits of a retirement residence or wishes to stay at home, it is always a good idea to do some pre-planning. The first step to choosing a retirement home is knowing the answers to the following four questions:
- What do you want?
- What you need?
- What you can afford?
- What is your preferred location?
These questions often lead to more important questions to discuss. Make sure to write down the things you want to look for in a home. Next, look over your answers and make sure you have considered all your medical needs and have your finances in order. Remember to factor rent and cost of living increases into your calculation. You can use our retirement calculator to get an idea of what you’ll be able to afford in your retirement.
When you have a list of answers you are satisfied with, its time to start looking at retirement homes in your preferred location that meet your criteria. Visiting the residences you are interested in is one of the best ways to find out which community is right for you or your loved one. This gives you the opportunity to see the facilities and amenities first hand and ask all your questions face to face. Asking questions is an important part of the process. Be sure to prepare a list of what to ask in accordance with your answers to the above questions.
If you are unsure what to ask about, download our retirement checklist E-book. One of the most important questions to ask is whether the homes offer an overnight stay, where potential residents can spend a night at the residence. This experience can help you or your loved one decide between residences. Some Barrie retirement homes offer this option to interested seniors.
Start creating your shortlist today by finding retirement communities through our advanced search, or get started by contacting the retirement residences in and around Barrie below.
Barrie retirement community regulations
The Government of Ontario regulates every retirement home in the province through the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA). Homes must meet a high standard of safety and cleanliness to receive approval from this authority, and undergo ongoing inspections regarding health and safety to remain operational. A good standing with the RHRA can reassure seniors and their families that they will be properly cared for. Always make sure to check that the retirement residence you are considering is licensed by the RHRA.
In addition to licensing and regulation by the RHRA, the Long-Term Care Homes Act of 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. Industry experts also recommend looking for a community that is a member of trusted organizations such as those below:
- The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA)
- The Ontario Long-term Care Association (OLTCA)
- AdvantAge Ontario (formerly the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors: OANHSS)
- The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)