Long Term Care

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In Canada, long term care is required for seniors and others needing access to 24-hour nursing care and daily support services for an array of physical and/or cognitive conditions. Long term care residents are assessed, and deemed eligible, by social service agencies run at the provincial level. People in the later stages of dementias such as Alzheimer's are among those who require this level of care, as well as those with physical or behavioral problems that render them dependent. In general, long term care is the proper solution for those assessed by medical professionals as needing constant monitoring, nursing supervision or other highly specialized care that cannot be met in their own homes, or by other health services. In select regions throughout the country, there are often waiting lists for these facilities.

Note: the cornavirus pandemic has higlighted that differences between long term care vs. retirement homes are more noteworthy than ever.


Quick summary:

Provinces across Canada, including British Columbia, Albert and Ontario, fully fund medical and support services in long term care. Residents are responsible for paying accommodation charges. People assessed by a medical professional as having complex care needs that cannot be met in their own home or by other housing and health services are eligible for long term care. This offers a protective environment staffed by medical and nursing professionals.

Long term care (sometimes abbreviated LTC) will often include a personalized plan of care prepared for each resident. Clients in care receive 24-hour nursing and personal care, with access to a physician or other health-care professionals. Facilities are dedicated entirely to detailed care and are secured for optimal patient safety, medication administered by trained staff and a number of other high level features.

In a number of regions across Canada, waiting lists can be months or even years long. Those in need can avail themselves of other care while they wait, including memory care facilities or assisted living facilities. In some cases, long term care is offered in the same residence or retirement community as other types of care lower on the care continuum. Various short-term stay programs are offered by retirement homes listed here.

Click here for list and map of long term care homes


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Homes with long term care

The Village Langley

The Village Langley

3920 198th Street, Langley, British Columbia, V3A1E1
We believe that the desire for fulfillment and living a life with purpose does not diminish with a diagnosis of dementia. We focus on the possibilities of each person, supporting each to live with laughter, love and joy.
Hawthorn Park Retirement Community

Hawthorn Park Retirement Community

867 KLO Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y 9G5
Living at Hawthorn Park Retirement Residence means you have choices & can customize the services you need, as you need them. We offer three lifestyle opportunities; supportive living, assisted living & complex care.
Origin at Longwood

Origin at Longwood

6205 Oliver Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9T 6T1
Origin at Longwood offers a choice of spacious suites, featuring large windows with a variety of exposures to Nanaimo’s vistas or Longwood’s pristine forests – most suites also feature a private balcony or patio.
Belmont House

Belmont House

55 Belmont Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1R1
A superb retirement home nestled in Toronto proper, featuring a variety of apartments and suites, along with a fitness room for active seniors, an on-site convenience store and more.
Courtyard Gardens

Courtyard Gardens

7051 Moffat Road, Richmond, British Columbia, V6Y 3W2
Courtyard Gardens offers an enriching community, with quality staff & friendly & caring environment. 107 Private & Subsidized suites in Assisted Living, 31 Private Pay Extended Care studio suites & 1 Respite Suite.
The Village of Glendale Crossing

The Village of Glendale Crossing

3030 Singleton Avenue, London, Ontario, N6L 0B6
A true retirement hub featuring independent Living Apartments with full kitchens, Retirement Apartments, Full Service Retirement suites with walk out patios, Assisted Care, Memory Care and LTC.
The Village of Humber Heights

The Village of Humber Heights

2245 Lawrence Avenue West, Etobicoke, Ontario, M9P 3W3
The Village of Humber Heights in Etobicoke offers different levels of service from independent apartments with meals to assisted living to long-term care.
The Village at University Gates

The Village at University Gates

250 Laurelwood Drive, Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 0E2
Now welcoming our Retirement Home Residents to the Village. We offer Waterloo a range of services for today's Senior including Retirement Apartments, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Long Term Care.
The Village of Tansley Woods

The Village of Tansley Woods

4100 Upper Middle Road, Burlington, Ontario, L7W 4W8
At The Village of Tansley Woods, we offer the full continuum of care - Independent Living Suites, Retirement Apartments, Full Service Retirement Suites, Assisted Care, Memory Care and Long Term Care all in one village.
The Village of Winston Park

The Village of Winston Park

695 Block Line Road, Kitchener, Ontario, N2E 3K1
This elegant retirement residence in Kitchener-Waterloo offers a continuum of care from independent living apartments to assisted living, memory care and long-term care.
The Village of Riverside Glen

The Village of Riverside Glen

60 Woodlawn Road East, Guelph, Ontario, N1H 8M8
This elegant Guelph retirement home offers a range of care including assisted living and long term care, serviced by a friendly, caring staff.
Cambridge Manor

Cambridge Manor

253 Smith St NW, Calgary, Alberta, T3B 6K1
Renowned for award winning care and a ‘people-first’ approach to wellness. Enjoy a rich & full life with the comfort & peace of mind of a true aging-in-place experience.
The Manor Villages StayWell Manor

The Manor Villages StayWell Manor

174 Ypres Green SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2T 6M2
Staywell Manor Village offers elegant retirement living in the heart of Calgary. Whether you are looking for independent living, assisted living or memory care, we have lifestyle options to meet your needs.
Berwick On The Lake

Berwick On The Lake

3201 Ross Road, Nanaimo, British Columbia, V9T 6L9
At Berwick on the Lake, residents enjoy red seal chef prepared meals in their choice of 3 dining rooms. Beyond our beautiful amenities, our residents also enjoy a full wellness program. Resort style living at it's best!
Waterford, The

Waterford, The

1345 56th Street, Tsawwassen, British Columbia, V4L 2P9
Featuring bright suites surrounded by pedestrian pathways, and a two-acre water feature in Tsawwassen town-centre. Two choices in all-inclusive senior housing: independent living and a licensed Care Centre suites.
Lanes Retirement Living

Lanes Retirement Living

134 Airport Heights Drive, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1A 4Z7
Conveniently located in the city's east end, our newest location provides an upscale retirement experience with unmatched services and amenities, personalized care, and a warm family atmosphere.
Magnolia Gardens

Magnolia Gardens

5840 Glover Rd, Langley, British Columbia, V3A 9K3
An oasis in the heart of Langley City, Magnolia Gardens features bright, spacious suites and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Two choices in senior living: 115 independent living suites, and a 40 suite licensed Care Centre.
Wentworth Manor

Wentworth Manor

5717 14 Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta, T3H 3M2
Berwick Royal Oak

Berwick Royal Oak

4680 Elk Lake Drive, Victoria, British Columbia, V8Z 0B4
Berwick House

Berwick House

4062 Shelbourne Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8N 3E6
Berwick House offers comfort, security and our usual high standard of affordable luxury. Steps away from a mall, cinema and other conveniences, you’ll find everything you need for an independent and active lifestyle.
The Wellington

The Wellington

1430 Upper Wellington Street, Hamilton, Ontario, L9A 5H3
This award winning Hamilton retirement home offers varying senior care. Just minutes away from shopping, theatres, restaurants and major transportation links.
OPAL by Element

OPAL by Element

438 West King Edward Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Y 05M
438 West King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Y 0M5 Opal offers a full continuum of support from Independent Living, Assisted living all the way to Complex Care, allowing the opportunity for aging in place.
Chartwell Leamington Retirement Residence (RET)

Chartwell Leamington Retirement Residence (RET)

1 Henry Avenue, Leamington, Ontario, N8H 5P1
A safe and rewarding lifestyle in a Leamington seniors housing community you're proud to call home.
Chartwell Langley Gardens Retirement Community

Chartwell Langley Gardens Retirement Community

8888-202 Street, Langley, British Columbia, V1M 4A7
A safe and rewarding lifestyle in a Langley seniors housing community you're proud to call home.
Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community

Chartwell Crescent Gardens Retirement Community

1222 King George Blvd., Surrey, British Columbia, V4A 9W6
A safe and rewarding lifestyle in a Surrey seniors housing community you're proud to call home.
Chartwell Carlton Retirement Residence

Chartwell Carlton Retirement Residence

4110 Norfolk Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5G 0C1
A safe and rewarding lifestyle in a Burnaby seniors housing community you're proud to call home.
Home care services for Long Term Care
Lawbell Senior Home Care Services

Lawbell Senior Home Care Services

7191 Yonge Street, Markham, Ontario, L3T 0C7
Lawbell Senior Home Care Services We offers medical and non - medical care support for seniors and people of all ages, in their homes, retirement residence, hospitals and Long term care facilities.


Toronto, Mississauga and Belleville, Toronto, Mississauga and Belleville, Ontario, M8X2X9
Qualicare offers reliable and consistent caregivers and nursing for patients with medical, dementia, and mobility challenges. We also support people during and after hospital stays and within assisted living residences.
Nurse Next Door Toronto Beaches

Nurse Next Door Toronto Beaches

Eglinton Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario, M1K 2M8
Nurse Next Door Toronto Beaches provides compassionate 24 hour personalized senior care services with bonded, registered & licensed Nurses / RPN's, in your home, hospital, rehab, LTC & retirement communities.


In the case of seniors who find themselves in deteriorating mental or physical health (or both) or with increased medical needs, there is a process for determining whether or not they need to be committed to long term care. Family members, along with the senior (as long as he or she is able), will consult with medical authorities who decide that you qualify for publicly subsidized residential care services.

With this assessment, your clinical care requirements will be determined and laid out, including specific nursing care, assistive facilities and other needs (see below). You are then referred to a government health service (such as the LHIN in Ontario, or BC Health Services in British Columbia) for coordination. It may be determined that there is a specific facility that best meets your needs, and you are able to move right in. On the other hand, families may need to look around at what is available, take tours (strongly advised), and decide on their own preferences. In many cases, room is simply not available, so the patient is put on a waiting list.


Negotiating the waiting list
The waiting list is a priority access list. If you do not accept a bed that is given to you, your name gets dropped to the bottom of the list. Experts from alzlive.com warn that the government will always tell you there is a bed available... but be cautious. It may be miles away from where you live or from where you want your loved one to be. Or it may be a home that you just don't want to put your parent or loved one into. (There may be many reasons for this. You will see when you actually check out homes yourself.)

You need to check out homes in advance and decide for yourself what is best for you and your loved one.

As some authorities caution, government agencies will, in fact, pressure you to accept what they offer. Know what you want and be willing to wait for it. Don't bow to this pressure without consideration. It's better to stand your ground and to ultimately wait things out to get a home that is acceptable to you. Your parent could be there for a very long time, so you want to make sure that you made the right long term decision. Look ahead and create a nursing care plan for dementia that helps you make the best decision in situations like this.

Take Comfort: retirement home reviews
Read reviews of retirement homes to find the best place near you, before you choose any community.


Long term care facilities (sometimes called continuing care) are limited by space, number of beds, staff shortages and other factors. Because of that, there is a wait time in many areas of the country – to get into any facility in some areas, or certainly to get into the facility you prefer. If you are offered a bed in a facility that is not your first choice, you may choose to accept it, then wait for a transfer.

There are a variety of other solutions offered by the senior care industry to help seniors:

Home care services, adult day programs and other programs are solutions that can help alleviate the needs of seniors who may have deteriorating health or suffering from dementia. You may be able to hire 24-hour care as a means of waylaying the need for long term care. While these services do not provide a full solution to those who have been assessed as having long term care needs, they offer help, therapies and detailed care.

Short-stay programs, while you wait. For those requiring more extensive care than that, for-profit retirement homes offer a number of solutions, including trial stay programs. Homes listed above tend to specialize in these types of offerings for families waiting for long term care. Programs may be costlier than government-backed long term care, but these solutions will be tailored to the needs of long term care patients and will certainly offer peace of mind for families while they wait.

For example, St. Hilda's Towers in Toronto has a Safe Harbour program — and there are others like it — offering specialized care with specially tailored (sometimes personalized) programming, support, care and services. These will often be for a flat monthly fee, and if extra care is needed, this can be hired in or paid for, where the retirement residence has services available. Short stays (or respite care) offer an ideal solution for as long as required, until a proper long term care facility become available.

Memory care facilities, for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias, are another smart temporary solution, while you wait for long term care. These facilities offer peace of mind and are an ideally robust solution for many people waiting for a bed to open in long term care. Families will try to get in to the facility of their choice by paying for residential care such as memory care or highly dedicated assisted living in that same facility.

Long term care facilities are licensed and governed very differently from retirement homes, even though in some cases they may be closely affiliated with retirement residences and communities. Access to long term care is coordinated through government agencies in provinces across Canada. Retirement homes, for the most part, are populated with people who decide on their own (to varying degrees) that they need to move there.

More about long term care

In the spotlight:


Within the long term care industry, there is a spectrum of quality, availability and value of care. Some homes may be easy to get into (no waiting list) but these may be undesirable for other reasons. As with many things, there may be, unfortunately or inevitably, tiers to the system, and the old adage 'you get what you pay for' may be applicable.


When you have, or your loved one has, been assessed as needing long term care, and you begin your search, there are a number of factors to bear in mind. Ideally, you have discussed this before, either with the loved one or within your family, and you know where you want to go and you know what some or all of your options are. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many families, and the situation may be imperative. Any perceived urgency should never cloud your judgement, though; take time to explore your options as a fully as the situation allows for, or as you have time to.

The quality of care offered varies from one facility to another, both within the realm of for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. When you check into the quality of homes, you may read reviews, which can certainly offer some helpful guidelines. Bear in mind, though, that some negative reactions may come from the fact that people's expectations of care staff and their abilities may be too high.

Here are some important things to bear in mind as you begin the search for long-term care:

Talk before
Ideally, talk about preferences while your loved one's cognitive abilities are still intact. If your loved one is in the early stages of dementia, then get answers from them as soon as possible, when they are optimally lucid. Perhaps even record them, so you remember them later.

Not sure how to talk to your parents about long-term care? Watch The Talk.

Touring homes
On-site tours allow you to get a good "feel" of the community and range of services offered there. Take our checklist, add your own notes and questions. Bring a close relative or a friend — several sets of eyes are better than one.


Long term care is government-funded across Canada, so costs vary only slightly from one province to the next. Here's an overview.

Cost from
Care details included
Vancouver, BC
Calgary, AB
various care, standard room
Guelph, ON
housekeeping, meals, bathing (1x/week), dressing, transfer, incontinence, medication administration, memory care
Toronto, ON
housekeeping, meals, bathing (1x/week), transfer, dressing, feeding, incontinence, medication administration

The above is simply a survey, taken from homes listed here at Comfort Life. You will need to consult with individual homes to learn exact costs and care offered.

Take a closer look at costs in your province:


Fees cover room and board only. Costs for this are not prohibitive, as you see above. Consider that homes take care of all other typical household costs.

If you are on a waiting list, and you want to get the best care possible for your loved one while you wait, consider typical means by which families pay for seniors' care. Your loved one may have had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance, which can ease the burden of paying for a short term stay in a retirement home.


Many homes listed here also offer palliative care. Palliative care focuses on the prevention and relief of suffering of elders who may have a terminal illness. Care provided may include therapies and medication, including pain relief.

Palliative care seniors' homes offer:

Find out more about the benefits of getting palliative care in a retirement residence.

The goal is to keep our residents physically, cognitively and spiritually active. We often have residents come up to us after an activity to say it was wonderful.


These are still called "nursing homes"
Long-term care is the preferred term for communities that provide comprehensive personal, medical, and emotional support. That said, it’s more than just terminology. Nursing homes were places that operated, historically, within a specific model, often without attention to needs beyond those that were medically required. That said, nurses are still a prominent presence in the communities above. You can take a closer look at nursing titles in our updated look at skilled nursing care.

Contemporary long-term care residences have grown away from a hospital model, directly countering the clinical impression many people have. Communities strive to provide a variety of lifestyle options, health services and amenities to make every resident feel safe, welcome and fully supported through any challenges they may be facing. Staffing ratios are high, as is an attention to very personal, consistent care and companionship.

Retirement homes are no different from long-term care homes
There is a world of difference. Long-term care homes are part of our publicly funded and regulated health-care system; retirement homes are a housing option for seniors, and include independent living. Admission to a long-term care home is based on assessed medical need, while retirement living is often a matter of personal choice and resources. People sometimes move into a retirement home because they no longer wish to cook for themselves, drive, or live alone. The move into long term care is more likely based on medical requirements.

Long-term care is not well regulated
With a regulatory framework that includes more than 400 care and service delivery criteria, unannounced annual inspections, a public complaints hotline and a website that identifies each home's compliance and complaint record, long-term care is our most heavily and publicly regulated health care service.

Long-term care services are delivered by a team of health care professionals. The concept of home is pervasive. Residents and their families participate in care planning, and in the life of the home through resident and family councils.

In Ontario, you can discover this reality from a variety of sources. These include Community Care Access Centres and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website. As well, the website of the Ontario Long Term Care Association contains contact information for over 420 member homes and a checklist for consumers to help find the right fit in choosing a long-term care home. Most importantly, visit a long-term care home to see for yourself.

Putting my loved one into long-term care is going to break the bank
Nobody is refused access to long-term care because of financial difficulty. A government subsidy, based on an income test, is available for residents unable to afford the full amount of the resident co-payment for basic accommodation, currently less than $50 per day.

Compiled with the assistance of the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA), the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS: re-branded as AdvantAge Ontario, as of 2017), the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and Statistics Canada.

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