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Find care details, insights, and insider perspectives gained from 20+ years of helping seniors and families.
What to know about this topic:
- Benefits of a Burnaby retirement home
- Senior living in Burnaby
- Burnaby retirement community regulations
- Availability and cost of retirement homes
- Other medical and safety services
- Getting around Burnaby
- How to choose a retirement home
In the Comfort Life Spotlight
Burnaby retirement communities listed here offer a superior way of living, for seniors. Move from the family home you’ve outgrown, into a community that ideally meets your needs. Senior living communities today offer a long list of superb amenities, a daily schedule full of activities, and a community of people your own age, where there’s always someone to talk to.
IN-DEPTH REPORTSRetirement communities in Burnaby
Benefits of a Burnaby retirement home
In order to support every aspect of seniors’ unique lifestyles and interests, retirement communities in Burnaby offer a selection of amenities, programs and services. There include medical administration and supervision, specialized dietary considerations, scheduled transportation to and from appointments and other requests, in-house entertainment, and exercise and wellness programs.
Communities strive to keep their residents active and social with additional recreation activities and programs such as:
- Game rooms
- Mini-golf Wii
- Day trips
- Movie nights
- Community garden
- Art/craft rooms
- Spa and beauty services
- Learning centres
- Patio BBQs
- Family programs
- Volunteering opportunities
Such a range of health and wellness services keeps residents connected and inspired daily, ensuring that they stay happy and healthy, and also giving them opportunities to get out into the broader community.
Senior living in Burnaby
All of those wonderful amenities and services listed above are enjoyed by people living in any of the best Burnaby retirement communities (as listed above). Here, people have their most important health and lifestyle needs met, whether that’s in independent living, assisted living or elsewhere. When people are living on their own, they fall into the trap of familiarity and end up using too much energy to simply “keep things going” day-to-day. For example, meals become simpler (often, too simple), it becomes more and more difficult to keep old friendships going, and housework and yardwork simply become too much.
When seniors “take the bull by the horns” and move into a Burnaby seniors’ community, it opens up new opportunities for joy, passion and simply living better.
- They can explore new interests through classes offered by the community.
- They can take part in group outings that are more fun because they are shared.
- Amenities onsite in these communities encourage more interaction, and you find time and energy to get interested in exercise, thanks to onsite golf, gyms, swimming pools, etc.
In short, life gets good again! You can read about how people find renewal in retirement homes across Vancouver, but there are also stories of people in Burnaby communities who come to love life anew. Virginia and Bob, for example, had been married for over 65 years, having spent their working lives in practical pursuits. Gardening was a simple joy that sustained them in spare hours, but at Mulberry PARC in Burnaby, it ‘blossomed’ into something more. “We always had huge garden,” says Virginia, but after freeing up time by moving into this community, it became “the love of our life.” Read their full story and those of other PARC seniors living a better life in Burnaby communities.
Living in Burnaby
Regardless of where you reside, seniors who are /mobile and would like to explore everything Burnaby has to offer can choose from:
- Museums, galleries and theatres
- Historic sites
- Parks with walking and hiking areas
Anyone with an interest in art may like to look into the arts program at Bonsor Complex, see the exhibits at Burnaby Art Gallery, or take in a performance at Shadbolt Centre. The city has no shortage of workshops, classes, performances and exhibits to delight and fulfill a personal love of the arts.
Burnaby also has what they call Be Active programs which include yoga and Pilates classes, racquet courts and swimming, as well as community centres that specifically cater to the 55+ crowd with a plentiful list of interesting and engaging activities, outings and events. The Recreation Credit Program through the City of Burnaby offers a credit to residents in financial need to use at any of Burnaby’s parks, recreation and culture facilities for programs. Learn more about this credit, how to apply and other conditions here.
Churches and places of worship in Burnaby include Kingsway Foursquare Church, Brentwood Presbyterian Church and South Burnaby Church of Christ, and retirement communities also offer religious services to meet their residents’ spiritual needs.
Some of the most popular annual events in Burnaby are the Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival, Rhododendron Festival, Symphony in the Park, Summer at Civic Square and Illuminations at Heritage Christmas.
Within Burnaby, 158 parks provide plenty of space to walk, bike, hike or relax with family and friends. There are also gardens, eco-sculptures, golf courses, and additional nature trails to explore, and beautiful views from the shorelines of parks such as Burnaby Fraser Foreshore Park and Barnet Marine Park.
Retirement communities can provide access and transportation to many of the above activities and services, as well as shopping areas like Metropolis at Metrotown, Crystal Mall, and Brentwood Mall.
Burnaby retirement community regulations
In BC, the government has mandated that retirement communities are regulated through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, formerly the Community Care Facility Act, ensuring that certain standards, certifications, and inspections are maintained. It also provides regulations for community care and assisted living, residential care, and continuing care programs.
Initiatives such as Seniors 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 how the BC Ministry of Health is doing so here.
Many Burnaby retirement homes are members of provincial and national associations, including:
- The British Columbia Seniors Living Association (BCSLA)
- The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP)
Availability and cost of retirement homes
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, provincial vacancy rates rose to 12.5% from a low of 5.1% in 2020. In 2021, Burnaby’s vacancy rate also increased to 17.1% from 6.9% in 2020. As things “return to normal” expect the vacancy rate to drop again.
There were an additional 664 spaces added across BC in 2020. The majority of new spaces were added in the Vancouver Island/Central Coast region. The total number of seniors’ housing spaces, including independent living and heavy care spaces, increased to 33,320 units. Fraser South, including Burnaby, had a total of 5,608 units.
In 2020, the average rent in British Columbia was $3,364 per month, rising to $3,541 in 2021. The Lower Mainland posted the highest rents at $3,722. In 2021, this rose to $3,971. Burnaby’s average rate was lower, coming in at $3,551.
There remains no government funding for independent living residences in BC, however a BC Housing program called SAFER (Shelter for Elderly Renters) helps seniors in need of financial help. Those who qualify can receive a rent subsidy based on their income. Those who do not qualify may be due to living in subsidized housing already or a Ministry of Health care facility, owning shares in a housing co-op, or receiving welfare. To learn more about the SAFER Program please visit bchousing.org.
To help pay for retirement care costs in Burnaby, many seniors utilize their pensions, RRSPs, CPP and other forms of income from second careers. Other seniors also combine profits from selling their homes and contributions from family. Determine how you can afford your ideal retirement community with our Retirement Cost Calculator (Link).
Other medical and safety services
Burnaby retirement communities offer a range of services that may include basic exercise programs, medical administration and supervision, wellness centers, and unique programs for those with mobility restrictions or dietary concerns. These communities will also offer access to additional medical services if they are unable to provide the level of care required, but this depends on the community type and many communities offer various types of care packages to accommodate as many needs as possible.
Area hospitals and care centres, including Burnaby Hospital which has Advanced Care Planning among its educational resources, have additional programs, clinics and rehabilitation services to benefit older adults. There are over 50 support services within Burnaby that can help with personal assistance, transportation, and physical and mental health well being. The Burnaby Seniors Link also strives to assist seniors on fixed incomes or who may have more limitations.
At Burnaby’s independent and assisted living communities, safety and medical services often include on-site nurses and doctors, pharmacies, medical supervision and housekeeping staff. Call bell systems, emergency phone systems, and 24-hour on-site emergency response systems may also be available to help keep residents safe and secure.
Getting around Burnaby
With such a beautiful backdrop in Burnaby, seniors who want to get out and about can do so through transportation arranged by their retirement community or by taking public transit.
The Burnaby Seniors’ Transportation assists seniors who cannot or have difficulty taking public transportation, helping to take seniors to and from medical or related appointments within Burnaby, Vancouver and New Westminster areas.
Independent seniors interested in traveling Burnaby and surrounding areas may also find these options useful:
- TransLink - Encompasses SkyTrain, SeaBus (inner harbor ferry service - wheelchair accessible), bus and Community Shuttles. Residents who cannot use the conventional transit system without an attendant may benefit from HandyCard program (includes ride for concession fare which is a reduced fare and attendants can travel for free). The Government of British Columbia offers an annual transit pass at a reduced fee, must contact them for eligibility.
- TransLink Bus - Every bus is accessible and can carry two wheelchairs or mobility aids. Some bus stops are NOT accessible, must check beforehand.
- HandyDART - Offers custom, door-to-door service for passengers with wheelchairs/scooters or other special needs. It is a shared ride service. You need to be registered for the service and make your trip reservations in advance in order to use it. Can provide connections to SkyTrain, SeaBus, bus routes and West Coast Express.
- BC Transit - A universal bus pass that allows for unlimited travel for seniors.
How to choose a retirement home
Although starting the process of looking for a retirement home can seem overwhelming at first, the process can be simplified by starting with the basics: what matters most to you in a community, what you’re willing to pay, and if location is a big consideration.
Not sure you’re even ready to move into a retirement community? These questions can help you decide:
- 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?
If you found yourself answering yes to one or several or all of these questions, it may be time to start your search. 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:
- Meet your short and long-term medical needs
- Are affordable now and in the future
- Can grow with your needs as your activity and medical levels change over time
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.